(Bloomberg) -- Chilean industrial conglomerate Sigdo Koppers said it is scouring the market for acquisition targets in North America to grow its share of mining explosives as deteriorating ore grades push up demand for blasting.

The group’s Santiago-listed explosives unit, Enaex SA, has built up a large presence in Chile, Brazil and South Africa, and is now looking to expand its small share of the US market and set up shop in Canada, with acquisitions of established local firms an attractive option in what is a highly regulated industry. The company is also looking to grab more market share in Peru and Australia, challenging leaders Orica Ltd. and Dyno Nobel. 

“We’re looking for targets” in North America after hiring specialists to map out the market, Chief Financial Officer Pablo Busquet said in an interview. Enaex typically selects local players with about a 10% market share, he said.

Greater North American penetration would complete Enaex’s global footprint after a decade of growth from what was predominantly a Chile-focused firm. Today, more than half its sales come from outside of Chile, with the company turning to customized solutions that include automation. Demand is growing as part of an industry trend of deteriorating metal concentration at aging deposits, which means more rock has to be blasted. That’s as new mines get trickier and pricier to develop.

Deal financing could come from debt markets, where the company recently sold sustainability-linked bonds, as well as other kinds of credit, or even a capital raise, Busquet said. Part of Enaex’s green credentials come from a hydrogen venture in northern Chile and a project in Peru where it plans to make fully green ammonium nitrate for the mining industry, he said.

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