In 1863 the Bolivian mining specialist José Avelino Aramayo made his initial investment in Bismuth. His first ingots were successfully sold in England by his son Felix who was studying in London. Spurred on by a visit to the richest European mining region of Saxony, Felix returned to Bolivia and discovered new Bismuth deposits. He incorporated the forerunner of Compagnie Aramayo and soon afterwards established a Smelting and Refining plant in London. Despite intense competition the enterprise flourished and in 1901 the Aramayo Company was launched on the London Stock Exchange.
A relatively minor incident in the annals of the Company has become part of American history thanks to the film "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid". On 4th November 1908 the famous outlaws, who were fugitives in Bolivia, ambushed the Aramayo payroll as it was being taken by mule through the mountains to the mines. They also stole the mule which was clearly branded "A" for Aramayo. The animal was spotted by police a few days later in San Vicente, and in a shoot out the money (all $ 7,000 of it) was recovered. The bandits are buried nearby.
In 1916 Compagnie Aramayo de Mines en Bolivie SA was established in Geneva, Switzerland, where the Group has been based ever since.
Mining & Chemical Products Limited (MCP) was formed in London in 1929 to take over the Refining and Marketing of Aramayo Bismuth in Europe. When the Company's mines in Bolivia were nationalised in 1952, MCP became the focus for global expansion of the Group. Following ventures into Pure Drugs, Electronic Materials and Component Distribution, MCP has crystallised into the Group we know today. There are major companies in England, Germany and America along with growing subsidiaries in France, Italy, Spain and Belarus.
Bismuth and Minor Metals remain at the heart of MCP's world. The introduction in the 1970s of "Rapid Prototyping" - a fast and inexpensive process for the production of prototype and short-run tooling - began a quarter century of intensive innovation and expansion within the Group.
From MCP's earliest days as a Bismuth specialist a global approach to distribution and marketing has been called for. An international presence is important too for raw material purchasing and trade in scrap and residues. Our local companies and agents have become a key factor in our determination to provide un-equalled customer service.
An important task for MCP is to develop further our markets in Eastern Europe and in Asia. The establishment of MCP Technology in Minsk and of the factories in Shangyu and Shenzhen China have been the first steps in this direction.
Demonstration Centres are important too as a method of ensuring effective communication with customers. Trained application engineers, operating in purpose-built centres, are best able to deal with client queries and advise on the latest techniques and materials.
Customer liaison and co-operative ventures are vital but we also have extensive dialogue with Universities and Institutes so that our concepts are always "out in front". Increasingly efficient use of scarce resources will always require a radical approach.
The Group's Central Laboratories have recently been expanded and re-equipped. They are now housed in a state-of-art facility on the Wellingborough site and provide an unrivalled service to all MCP companies. Quality Control must surely be at the heart of every successful business; MCP's specialist High Purity Metals unit, now directly linked to the Laboratory for optimum control, is a fine example of this philosophy.
The MCP Group Internet site is a popular point of reference for those interested in Minor Metals, Low Melting Point Alloys, Bismuth Chemicals, Rapid Prototyping or other MCP products and services. All are welcome to seek technical or commercial information and can do so quickly and economically round the clock using the e-mail links provided.