The Business Year

Michael Lefenfeld

MEXICO - Energy & Mining

Michael Lefenfeld

President & CEO, Cyanco

Bio

Michael Lefenfeld joined Cyanco as President & CEO in 2018. A seasoned executive in the chemicals industry, he previously served as president and CEO of SiGNa Chemistry. He has also independently commercialized several new biomedical and chemical technologies, wherein his work was recognized with the EPA’s Presidential Green Chemistry Award, the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneer Award, and the ICIS Top Chemical Power Player to Watch. Lefenfeld has a master’s in philosophy and a master’s in chemistry from Columbia University and a bachelor’s in chemical engineering from Washington University. He holds more than 90 patents in areas including medical devices, controlled release, electronics, chemical reactivity, and IT.

Cyanco continues to be the leader in setting the pace for innovation and the growth of cyanide in the mining industry.

How is Cyanco helping the Mexican mining industry safely handle sodium cyanide?

At Cyanco, our goal is to help every mine be as safe and sustainable as possible. To us, this means that each step of the sodium cyanide circuit—from delivery to handling to detoxification— is managed to the highest of industry standards. In line with this, we have invested significant time and resources in the development of innovative cyanide-related technologies and safety systems and we offer those technologies to mines throughout the Americas. Our applied technology group also delivers a range of cyanide safety and training services to customers in Mexico—even if they are not currently sourcing cyanide from us. We are here to help mines keep their people, their communities, and the environment safe.

How has the disruption in the supply chain impacted Cyanco?

Like most global suppliers, Cyanco is being hit with higher supply costs and longer transit times, particularly for our vessel shipments. We continue to see significantly extended ship time by sea — even for short trips like those from the Port of Veracruz to the Port of Houston. Fortunately, with two production facilities located in Texas and Nevada, Cyanco has multiple distribution options at its disposal, including shipments via rail or truck. We intentionally developed this internal flexibility to allow us to better manage our inventory and ensure a consistent and reliable supply to our customers. We also employ very talented people on our supply chain, logistics, and analytics teams. These teams are critically important as they manage Cyanco’s business intelligence system and help us evaluate current and future trends in shipping and transit. With their real-time transit knowledge, we are able to better understand how our products are moving on an hourly basis, readjust our inventory and shipments as needed, and more accurately forecast future supply and demand. With these teams and these tools in place, we have been fortunate to stay ahead of the challenges in the global supply chain, and we are proud to note that we have not missed a single delivery throughout the pandemic.

What are your expansion plans in Mexico and Latam?

Cyanco prides itself on being the largest sodium cyanide provider in North America, and we are growing significantly in Central and South America, with the goal of being the largest supplier in those regions as well. As a Tier 1 supplier, Cyanco builds a lot of value-added services into our customer relationships, so it does not always make sense for us to compete on price alone. This is especially true in regions that have been hard-hit economically, where customers may feel pushed to go with their lowest cost option. Cyanco is a better match for mines that are looking for a strategic partner with the highest quality product, guaranteed delivery of that product, and a portfolio of valuable technical services that help them optimize their mineral recovery and operate at the highest safety standards. Currently, all manufacturers are dealing with the escalating costs of raw materials, energy and transportation, which have raised prices across the board for sodium cyanide. While we continue to work on ways to ameliorate these costs, we are building a strategic base in Mexico and into Latin America and other regions.

What main advances has Cyanco made in innovation and technology?

Cyanco is the only cyanide producer in the world that wakes up every day thinking about cyanide and only cyanide. With that as our focus, innovation and technology are key to our growth goals in the mining industry and diversification into other areas of mining. Our R&D and applied technology teams work to deliver innovations that allow us to produce our own products in a safer, cleaner, and more sustainable way and to help our customers achieve mineral yields and high purity gold, consume less cyanide, and reduce operating costs.

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