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Teleprospecting Into The Mining Industry: There's Gold in Them Hills!


So you wanna start prospecting into the mining industry, huh (no pun intended)? Well, you came to the right place. Grab yourself something to drink and have a seat, because do I have a story for you.

No seriously, this is going to take awhile. You might want to get a snack, too.

To begin with, the most important thing to understand about the mining industry is that it has seen a lot of hardship in the past few years. Mining was one of the hardest hit industries during the recession, and a significant number of companies are still struggling just to stay afloat. Due to all the closings, mergers, and acquisitions within the industry, a list of mining companies from 2007 is a dramatically different list than one from 2012.Teleprospecting tips for the mining industry

Now that you’ve got that groundwork laid out, it’s time to determine which stage of the mining process your product applies to. The simplest explanation of the mining industry can be broken down into 5 stages: exploration, feasibility & permitting, construction, production, and reclamation. In terms of markets for products, the industry is essentially divided into two segments: pre-production and production.

Mines that are in pre-production are looking for the systems that can serve as their business’ foundation. Money is tight prior to production, and there’s little to no budget for bells and whistles. Companies don’t even know if they’re going to receive funding until after they finish permitting. An exploration company can appear to be a perfect fit for your product, but unless you’re willing to wait at least 5 years (the minimum amount of time it takes to complete this stage) for payment you’re better off looking for a company that’s closer to construction. But when you find those mines that are just starting to transition from permitting to construction, it’s a great opportunity to establish your product as part of their backbone.

Mines that are established and producing are a better fit for more elaborate products, or products that can build upon or increase efficiency for their existing systems. Budget is more easily available, but these companies are very unlikely to completely rip out and replace a fundamental system that has served as their company foundation for many years.

The final piece of the mining puzzle is to understand where your product fits into the mining universe. In other words, is it something that would be chosen by the corporate headquarters, or is it something individual sites can select on their own? The answer to this question really depends on the product being offered, and to some extent the companies being targeted. Almost all companies have some standardized systems across all divisions and subsidiaries. These are generally the fundamental “backbone” systems that are established early on in a company’s history. Many companies do allow individual sites to make decisions about things that are more site or project-specific however, as long as the new product is either compatible with the companywide system or works completely separately from it.

So, you understand the mining industry. You know what stages and which locations you need to target. It’s time to get mapping! As you work through your lists, keep track of seemingly different companies’ relationships to one another. There have been massive mergers and acquisitions of hundreds of companies over the past few years, and what was once a corporate headquarters might now just be a subsidiary of an even larger company. Even if your product can be implemented at individual sites, it’s at least good to have in your notes that one location can be referred to by three different (and yet all accurate) company names. It can definitely save you some embarrassment when you get redirected back to “Jim in IT” for the fourth time.

Well, that should be enough to start you on your journey through the mining industry. It’s going to be a challenge, but I know you’re up to it. And just like the companies you’re prospecting, keep searching for the gold!


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