Aphex Technologies Inc.
For over 15 years, Aphex Technologies has been providing technology strategies and solutions to the exploration and mining, oil and gas, engineering, finance, legal, manufacturing, and entertainment industries. Their goal is to create the most efficient communication and data management environments possible, primarily focused on the resource sector vertical, which today represents about 90 per cent of its clientele.
The Aphex Way
Aphex’s consulting methodology and infrastructure solutions are what make Aphex the leader in streamlining information flow. The core of Aphex’s value is its experience in using project assessment, development, and execution methodologies to determine the best solution for each individual client.
Aphex’s consulting services are complemented by its Sapphire Communications System, a complete IT infrastructure ecosystem specifically designed for the mining industry but suitable for any organization working in remote locations. The company is committed to research and development for system efficiencies, and always customizes the offering according to the clients’ needs. “We have built and continue to develop our one-size-fits-all infrastructure yet are mindful of the variables – number of employees, differences in locations, differences in data types, and so on,” says Jeff Nantais, CEO of Aphex Technologies Inc.
“We have our own list of priorities, processes and methods to implement off-the-shelf hardware, so we can execute projects on a very tight budget. Once we are complete, the company owns the system which is built using standard hardware; the client’s internal IT resources are more than capable of maintaining the system,” says Nantais.
Facts and Idiosyncrasies of the Market
When it comes to junior mining and exploration companies, time is always of the essence, and information delivery to inform the management and shareholders about the project’s progress is crucial. Because of this Aphex’s communications implementations always require speedy execution. With this in mind, Aphex applies its technology integration expertise and seamlessly implements IT infrastructure with minimal impact on the ongoing mining exploration and/or operations.
“The exploration projects are usually happening in remote locations where communications virtually don’t exist, yet the data that drives the business needs to be available to the companies’ corporate offices and their investors in a timely manner. The challenge is to provide modern communication infrastructure that is cost-effective yet scalable. No other business requires such a large scope to develop IT infrastructure as mining and exploration projects,” says Nantais.
The mining industry is notorious for taking comfort in the “tried and true” methods, and this applies to their approach to communication infrastructures as well. With the backdrop of continuously increasing global demand for raw materials, and with about 50 per cent of the engineering staff in the industry reaching retirement age within the next 5 years, companies are being forced to find new ways to execute projects more efficiently. Aphex Technologies provides what the young engineering generation demands – a full suite of reliable communications solutions.
With a fairly small number of junior exploration companies in existence, the industry is driven by personal relationships and word of mouth. “The usual way of building relationships is through mining events, with business deals usually based on the past performance – typically, new clients are already familiar with our work prior to getting involved with us,” says Nantais.
In order to succeed, it’s crucial for Aphex to approach a potential client at the right time, and that’s why Aphex needs to stay atop of project development of each individual company, knowing in which stage the company is, whether it’s raising funding for the project, setting up and starting exploration, or already having a team on the ground.
Over the years, Aphex has executed projects in Canada, South America, and Europe, and is scheduled to start new projects in Asia and Africa. The company’s office in Toronto serves as the hub for design and product/process research and development, and the company also operates a South American head office in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. This office focuses on providing support to existing Aphex’s clients’ exploration projects and seeking new opportunities on the ground. “Our Belo Horizonte office model represents how we want to continue to grow our company, and our next intention is to expand our company by adding new offices in other continents such as Africa,” says Nantais.
Aphex recently worked with Colossus Minerals’ project in Brazil, shifting from exploration to construction and production, and were faced with the challenge of fluctuating staff. Exploration companies are generally small, with 30 to 50 employees, but once the company goes into construction the number can increase up to 700, and then drop back down to 200 during production. “Needless to say, scaling this infrastructure has been a huge challenge but we built the solution so it could be scaled as needed, and with the added ability to repurpose this infrastructure,” says Nantais.
Another notable project was Luna Gold project in Brazil. This producing gold mine operated with considerable IT infrastructure challenges, resulting in significant delays in communications with its head office in Vancouver. Aphex upgraded the existing infrastructure with minimal impact on the operation of the mine and on the budget. “The challenge here was planning the implementation around the ongoing operations, We achieved many of the extensive changes with staff not even realizing that things were occurring,” says Nantais.
In the growing global demand for raw materials, the numbers in mining exploration projects continue to increase, giving Aphex Technologies further opportunity to grow and continue to increase its technological advantage in this unique market.