Maria Echavarria’s company, Opencontour, aims to simplify mine-planning software tools and empower new mining generations to embark on the journey. She is growing it with help from the Master of Business Creation program at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business.
Echavarria and Opencontour’s founder, Russ Downer, created Opencontour from experiences with mining software that didn’t live up to their expectations. They saw an opportunity to innovate and improve by creating a cloud-based open-pit mining software. It provides solutions for company’s specific project requirements.
Echavarria and Downer believe that learning how to use mining software should not be a barrier for mine planners and engineers to overcome. She wants to reduce the amount of time spent on integrating data, running design iterations, and training employees.
“Many middle managers have left the mining industry,” Echavarria said. “There’s a gap in expertise and skill development. We want to simplify complex processes and help new mining generations learn how to be efficient and improve their productivity without having to spend additional time learning how to use software.”
Opencontour provides a complete solution in a single software that combines design capabilities with mine scheduling and budgeting. The software also measures cost-benefit scenarios for multiple designs and schedules.
In addition to exploring new mining technologies, Echavarria is committed to bringing sustainable mining practices into the software.
“With advances in technology and an increased focus on sustainability, the mining industry is shifting towards more environmentally friendly methods,” she said. “New technologies and practices are being implemented to reduce the environmental impact of mining.”
As the company grows, Echavarria hopes to create new opportunities in mining.