msAndrew graduated from the University of Western Sydney in 1982 with a Diploma in Applied Science. He commenced his working life in the contracts department of Tubemakers (distributor of steel piping, valves and fittings). Following this he moved into sales roles with Dow Chemical and ICI Specialty Chemicals, completing a Graduate Diploma in Administration during this time, before moving to Nalco in 1995 in the mining and mineral processing group.

He has had both sales and marketing roles in this group, and currently provides technical (remote and on-site) and marketing support to non-alumina markets in the Asia-Pacific region. He was seconded to Nalco Africa, during its start-up phase in 2010.

Andrew is married with two girls, and calls Sydney, Australia home.

Sachi Mulmi (SM), a researcher with Frost & Sullivan, had an opportunity to conduct a Movers & Shakers interview withAndrew Davis – Senior Industry Development Manager of Nalco Water, Global Mining and Mineral Processing

SM: Please describe your product/technology/solution for our readers?

AD: Water plays a critical role in virtually all mining and mineral processing activities. In the context of decreased availability and growing demand, water has become a strategic resource to be managed in a sustainable way.

Nalco can provide total solutions to water-related issues on a mine site. We provide chemical, equipment (dosing, automation, and treatment), service and consulting to understand the issues that needs to be addressed and then develop a holistic solution to that problem.

On mine sites, water issues can be encountered on several fronts:

  • Surface water run off
  • Recycling and recovery of plant process water
  • Tailings management
  • Boiler and/or cooling towers
  • High quality water needs
  • Acid Mine Drainage
  • Scale control

Nalco Water’s offerings include a range of reagents to help recover process water, such as flocculants, coagulants, membrane antiscalants and cleaners. These reagents process, boiler and cooling water additives to minimise scale formation, control bacterial growth and keep systems free from fouling. Elsewhere, Nalco Water has programs which can help recover water from tailings and plus increase the life of those dams by improving consolidation, and treat water which might contain deleterious minerals, to allow for discharge from site.

SM: What is the unique value proposition of your company, and what are your key competitive differentiators?

AD: Nalco Water provides not only the chemical reagents required to solve an issue, we can also provide the equipment to dose, monitor the system and control the dosing so the system uses only what is required to keep it functioning at optimal levels.

In addition, our local account team works directly with our customers to advance their prioritised needs. We can audit systems and work together to develop a service and improvement plan to deliver maximum performance from existing applications. We leverage industry leading people, processes and technologies to customise a program specifically for your plant.

The Nalco Water 360 Cloud based monitoring of systems further backs up our field staff, provides remote system monitoring and active alarms if systems go out of specification with remote troubleshooting if necessary.

SM: What is your vision for the future of the water and wastewater treatment market in the Australian Resources Sector and what will be the competitive elements for your company in the short term?

AD: Australian mining companies will need to be more proactive about the management of water; Nalco Water views this as a valuable resource which must be managed in a sustainable way. In the not-too-distant future, it would be favourable to see water from some mining operations as a potential revenue stream.

For Nalco Water, we need to continue to develop our offerings to, to meet the demands of the market as it develops and matures. This means applying our expertise to solve water related issues, building systems to better monitor, control and report on applications, and working with our customers to be ahead of the wave in managing water on their mine sites.

SM: Is the market growing? How long will it continue to grow, and at what rate?

AD: With water becoming more scarce coupled with fewer opportunities to dispose of any excess water off -site, mining companies will need to be more active in their management of water. This can only mean that the market will continue to increase. The growth rate though will depend on environmental factors, the regulatory environment, and the social licence to operate for mining companies.

It is also worth noting that while mines need to recover, recycle and reuse water, many mines which have closed can also have legacy water issues which might require attention. This can include acid mine drainage, old tailings dams requiring monitoring, or surface water runoff.

SM: What are the various competitive factors for growth in this market? How will the structure of the market change with time?

AD: There are more companies looking to get into the mining space for water-related offerings. Some will look to enter on price, while others will enter on the back of an innovation. The companies will need to match their offering with the needs of the mine and the application.

The innovation brought by new and existing proponents will change the structure of the market. We may see more turnkey package solutions, equipment hire, outsourcing, owner operations, or a mix of all. I think we will see increased automation and more continuous monitoring of systems with alarms and remote troubleshooting, especially where sites are remote or the climatic conditions are more extreme.

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