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Our ESG Stories

President and CEO

Denis Larocque

Leading With Integrity

Q. Why is Environmental, Social & Governance an important part of your leadership approach?

A. For many years we have operated with the concepts that are now widely known as ESG. Sustaining our environment, strengthening communities and our workforce, and operating with integrity is what we do each day at our branches throughout the world, and it remains our continued goal.

Q. What can companies do to be more focused on important ESG issues they face?
A. It’s a duty for all of us in the industry to be more aware of Environmental, Social and Governance issues and be responsible corporate citizens. We need to take steps in the communities where we operate to contribute to their sustainable development of and improve the quality of life of their people and the planet in general.

Q. From the perspective of your position at Major Drilling, how is the company driving sustainability through ESG?
A. We have a great group of people worldwide making us successful and innovative. In my role, I have the opportunity to empower them and promote their efforts. The core value underlying our ESG Policy is integrity. That means we’re always taking steps to improve–from auditing and performance evaluation, to helping our managers take responsibility for their impacts, to being open and honest with stakeholders, to always leading out as a Board and Management team by upholding our ESG policy.

Q. What kind of examples can you provide of actions taken by Major Drilling to improve ESG?
A.  Many examples are everywhere in our company. From an environment perspective, we have started to implement water recirculation systems for drilling fluids that can reduce water consumption by up to 90%.  As well, our new rigs are now coming with much lower emission motors, reducing our carbon footprint going forward. From a social perspective, I am so proud of all the initiatives that our branches take in each of the local communities where we operate and how they are making a difference. Finally, from a governance perspective, for years we have been working with the same high standards of human resources, environmental practices and anti-corruption policies, irrespective of where we operate in the world.

Denis Larocque joined Major Drilling Group International Incorporated in 1994 and was appointed Chief Executive Officer on September 11, 2015, having held the office of Chief Financial Officer since 2006. Previously, he was Major’s VP Finance after rising in a series of roles with the company. Through the period of geographic expansion for Major Drilling that saw it grow from a privately owned Canadian company to a publicly traded multinational, he was involved in acquisitions and branch office setups in countries on every continent. He works at the Major Drilling Group International headquarters in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.

Underground Drilling Supervisor

Simone Félix dos Santos

Workforce Diversity

Q. Why is it important to have Diversity in the workforce?
A. As Major Drilling’s first female underground supervisor, I have a unique point of view. Women are needed in the mining and drilling workplace, and we are overcoming prejudices. Women are determined, strong and able to face any challenge. The diversity in organizations contributes to the team achieving more positive results. This happens when the work environment is cooperative, stimulating and welcoming. Thus, employees feel more motivated and engaged to carry out their activities.

I work leading people who demand a lot of responsibility. They need daily attention and monitoring. I provide constant attention and focus. Working here enables me to show that with focus and dedication women and men can be capable at drilling and mining!

Q. What can companies do to focus more on the important ESG issues they face?
A. I think it is really important to think about all the ESG topics—environment, social and governance. I see our management always looking for ways to help us drill more safely and with quality. The diversity at the mine, with women working alongside or supervising men like I do, shows how companies can improve. This is changing the view that some men have of women leading, and we must thank the managers at Major Drilling who want women in the workforce as drillers and leaders.

Q. From the perspective of your position at Major Drilling, how is the company driving sustainability through ESG?
A. Helping more women like me access and have opportunity to jobs in mining and drilling is making the workforce more sustainable. Women are 50% of the potential team. Women can take innovations in equipment and modern ideas about us being at the mine and have more jobs and lasting improvements in the industry. I’m so happy to be part of this wave of progress in mining. I am a woman in mining. Like many, though I am small, I am capable!

Simone Félix dos Santos is an experienced safety technician and driller. She holds the distinction of being Major Drilling’s first-ever female underground drilling supervisor. She works in Brazil. 

VP Legal Affairs & General Counsel

Andrew McLaughlin

Charting a Sustainable Path

Q. Why is it important for a Major Drilling to excel in its Governance Policies?
A. As a public company with operations across multiple and diverse jurisdictions around the world, it’s imperative that we have strong governance practices and policies embedded across all facets of our organisation. These include, among others, our Code of Ethics, our Anti-Corruption Policy, and our recently adopted ESG Policy. Our aim is to ensure that our employees in the field and at all levels of the organization clearly understand, in practical terms, what it means to conduct our business with the highest ethical standards and integrity.

Q. What can companies do to be more focused on important ESG issues they face?
A. Every company will need to chart their own path for this journey, as each has its own specific operating context, stakeholders, risks, and impact potential. That said, for those about to embark on this journey, it’s important to consider the foundational pieces that will make up your organization’s ESG Framework. A good starting point is to develop a strong ESG Policy that identifies key priorities that are aligned with your company’s broader purpose and values (and those of your stakeholders), as well as your operational realities. Take stock of where you’re already excelling, and identify current and potential gaps that can be addressed.

Q. From the perspective of your position at Major Drilling, how is the company driving sustainability through ESG?
A. 2020 has proven to be a transformational year for Major Drilling on the ESG front. While we already had many of the underlying ESG pieces well entrenched in our organization, particularly on the health and safety side, our challenge was to formalize and consolidate our efforts under an overarching ESG framework that could apply across our global operations. With the adoption of our ESG Policy and the launching of our global ESG Committee earlier in the year, we’ve made signficant progress in laying the foundations for a more sustainable future for Major Drilling.

Andrew McLaughlin is a Canadian legal professional and former foreign service diplomat. Among his duties as VP Legal Affairs & General Counsel, he helms Major Drilling’s ESG policy development and implementation from the Major Drilling Group International Incorporated headquarters in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.

Sybil Veenman

Corporate Stewardship

Q. Why is it important for a company’s Board of Directors to have a strong role in oversight and Corporate Stewardship?
A. The Board’s fundamental role is one of stewardship. Our primary responsibility is to foster the long-term success of the company. Long-term value creation for our shareholders cannot be achieved without taking into account the interests of other stakeholders – including our business partners, clients, employees and communities. The understanding of that has to start with the Board, but be reflected and acted upon throughout the company.

Q. What can companies do to be more focused on important ESG issues they face?
A. Companies need to understand their impacts – both positive and negative. Our business activities have the ability to benefit a broad range of stakeholders, bringing economic and societal opportunities, but can also have potential negative impacts, including environmentally. By understanding our impacts and the risks and opportunities in our business, we can identify some key priorities to enable us to take care of each other, our communities and our planet, while achieving operational and financial success for our company.

Q. From the perspective of your position at Major Drilling, how is the company driving sustainability through ESG?
A. One of the things I have been most impressed by since joining Major Drilling is the strong culture and values. The company’s approach to ESG reflects that. ESG at Major Drilling is not a marketing exercise.  It is about articulating, formalizing and expanding upon the values that already define the company’s approach to its business and have been fundamental to its success.   Strategy and business plans change over time to respond to changes in the world around us.  Strong culture and values are the constants that underpin strategy and execution to ensure sustainable growth and value creation.

Sybil Veenman has served on the Major Drilling Board of Directors since 2019. She is the Chair of the Major Drilling Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee. Along with all Directors, her primary mandate is to foster Major Drilling’s long-term success.

Field Safety Manager

Richard Sichling

Team & Community Safety

Q. Why is it important to have Positive Impacts in the community?
A. As a safety professional, I’ve been on the giving and receiving end of safety training. I know I can use this training anywhere—in the field to help our teams, or in the community.

For example, I helped a person in distress, who wasn’t part of the project site. I was recognized by our partner on the project because they know how much it matters when our caring goes beyond the people we work with. It was the right thing to do. It also shows why it’s an important part of the safety culture I’ve been a part of here at Major Drilling, of always looking out for others and the community, to step in and help when needed ensuring a safe and healthy environment to work and live.

Q. What can companies do to be more focused on important ESG issues they face?
A. Companies like Major Drilling have empowered employees through training and values of a safe work culture to feel this responsibility toward safety at all times. We can make room in the circles we draw that make up our communities—in our work teams, the towns where we are set up during a project—it’s all our community.

When I visit a site for regular health and safety protocols, of course I’m looking for safe operations, following procedures and observing best safety practices, but I’m also checking for people’s health physically and mentally as we work far from home, and they are checking on me. When companies encourage that sense of responsibility, so employees have that feeling toward each other, it helps us all do our best. I’m glad I work for a company that cares and fosters a culture of safety and responsibility for all.

Q. From the perspective of your position at Major Drilling, how is the company driving sustainability through ESG?
A. Mining and mineral exploration are part of our lives. Hardworking people are out there making this possible. Safety is a huge part of that. At Major Drilling, we have tough standards, processes, training and tools embedded across our business. These help us to protect the health and safety of our people, our clients, the community we work in, the environment, and we are constantly looking for ways to reduce potential risks to keep all safe and healthy.

So, when I see Major Drilling developing programs like TAKE 5, the 10 Lifesaving Rules and the Critical Risks Management safety programs, I’m proud to be part of a culture of safety. This will sustain Major Drilling into the future as a positive, safe partner of our clients and the communities we work in and personnel they employ.

Richard Sichling is a skilled mining industry professional with over 20 years of practical experience in mining and industry safety. He is dedicated to developing and maintaining a strong safety culture at Major Drilling. He works at projects in the USA.

Regional HSEC Manager

Ulzii Chuluun

Strengthening Communities

Q. Why is it important for Major Drilling to Strengthen Communities?
A. I believe Major Drilling as a whole is truly committed to the long-term success of the communities in which we operate. For example, in Mongolia, we make special effort to hire and train local employees as well as use local suppliers when possible to support local communities. We also carry out many social responsibility activities to assist with relief efforts such as helping shelters and assisting people in our community that are often in need. I remember Mongolia really had a bad winter (called Zud) several years ago, and the Major Drilling team delivered three trucks of hay to help local herders in the Gobi region. They were extremely happy with the support during a natural calamity. I believe all these efforts help to strengthen our communities.

Q. What can companies do to be more focused on important ESG issues they face?
A. ESG issues are often interlinked, and it can be challenging to classify an ESG issue as only an environmental, social, or governance issue. We believe analyzing ESG Issues, setting realistic and tangible goals and observing ESG data will assist in focusing these areas. We have identified diversity and inclusion as an important focus and have recently implemented number of programs to positively impact our community such as increasing employment of citizens with physical disabilities and supporting women in the drilling industry.

Q. From the perspective of your position at Major Drilling, how is the company driving sustainability through ESG?
A. For us, we have been driving sustainability through ESG by supporting local employment, carrying out various charity work, working closely with the local government labor offices and vocational training schools and undertaking continuous awareness training on protecting the environment and having the least footprint as possible wherever we operate.

We have plans to implement internal vocational training program directly intended for developing local employees helping pave the way to their future career path. It should also be pointed out that we have started diversity and inclusion program to support and train more female workers in the drilling industry. We currently have three women working as drill assistants, and they are doing an exceptional job. We are confident that the number of women in our workforce will continue to grow. I truly believe it is only a matter of time until we will be working alongside our area’s first female drillers and supervisors! We are also very honored that Major Drilling Mongolia was recognized and awarded as “Best Employer of 2020” by the South Gobi Province Governor’s Office. These efforts build communities that complete important projects for clients and sustain the work our teams accomplish including new drilling depth records in Mongolia.

Ulzii Chuluun is a member of the Major Drilling Corporate ESG Committee. He is a champion of drilling safety and empowering others to achieve success in the industry. He works in Mongolia as a key part of Major Drilling’s health, safety, environmental and community initiatives in the region.
VP HR & Safety

Ben Graham

Positive Work Environment

Q. Why is it important for Major Drilling to create a Positive Work Environment?
A. We lead in the global drilling contractor business by making Major Drilling a positive place to work. It’s very important to our employees. It’s a social responsibility to do it. The company is committed to helping today’s and tomorrow’s drillers so they feel like they are part of our positive environment and “drilling family” as many describe it.

Q. What can companies do to be more focused on important ESG issues they face?
A. Every organization should ask itself at a fundamental level how it will respond as the mining industry evolves and how the next generation of workers can see themselves joining the industry. All companies have a responsibility to their workers. When it comes to social responsibility, we know three factors really make a difference: their safety, diversity and a positive work environment.

Q. From the perspective of your position at Major Drilling, how is the company driving sustainability through ESG?
A. We love to hear what Major Drilling branches are doing to better their communities. We see diversity initiatives for hiring women to drill in Mongolia. We have great trainers and HSEC people making a difference in SurinameBrazil, and all our global branches. Their hard work and continuous safety training combines to make a positive work environment that will continue to sustain us as we move ahead.

Ben Graham is Major Drilling’s VP of HR & Safety leading global human resources and environmental health and safety initiatives. He advises and guides safety solutions for more than 3,000 employees on four continents.

Janice Rennie

A Proactive & Ethical Workplace

Q. Why is it important for Major Drilling to provide a Proactive, Ethical Workplace?
A. Major Drilling is the leading drilling company for the mining industry globally. As such, it has always been important for us to lead the way and do the right thing for our employees and communities across the globe. We strive to ensure employees are safe, have a safe place to report and get support if something is not right. We have a Code of Conduct which we strive to live by and the company’s Global Whistleblower Program shows our commitment to ethics for workers across the globeThe Audit Committee has had a leading role in helping to develop, communicate and follow up on any reporting through this Whistleblower Program, and we believe it is critical.

Q. What can companies do to be more focused on important ESG issues they face?
A. I think we have to take a proactive role from the top down. We need to have our people identify the most important issues across the globe and then focus on getting an inventory of what we are doing right, where we need to improve and put plans and people in place to improve and move forward. It starts with a commitment to taking action and making this a program that employees can believe in and implement top down and ground up. 

Q. From the perspective of your position at Major Drilling, how is the company driving sustainability through ESG?
A. From an Audit Committee perspective, it’s more than sticking to the basics of liquidity, access to capital, involvement with bankersetcetera—which are each critically important to be sustainable. In addition, though our efforts in social responsibility, areas like safety, diversity and a positive work environment also help make us stronger and more sustainableWe all know that a safe workplace is a more productive and profitable workplace. And wneed to continue to attract and retain the best employees in the industry to stay at the forefront. Creating a positive, safe and productive company as well as drawing from all the diverse talent around the world will help us do that. 

Q. How does the Whistle Blower Program help create a positive work environment?
A. Sometimes despite all our programs, codes of conduct, and plans, not everyone follows the rules or is committed to doing the right thing. That can endanger our carefully-created positive workforce when things like discrimination in the workplace, bribes being paid or safety rules not being followed go unreported or unchecked. People have to have a safe way to report those things when they see them so that actions can be taken to correct the problem and get the workplace back on a positive footing – the Whistle Blower Program can be that safe place. 

Janice Rennie is the Audit Chair for the Major Drilling Board of Directors where she has served since 2018. She is a chartered accountant, is experienced in HR, business, and investment and is a director of several public companies. 

Global Fleet & Inventory Specialist

Janice Cormier

Reducing GHG Emissions

Q. Why is it important for a company to strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
A. All companies, but especially mining industry companies it seems, are straddling a line between being responsible and getting work done. I’m proud that at Major Drilling, we’re doing both—working to limit climate change through reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and providing access to reliable and affordable minerals.

Q. What can companies do to be more focused on important ESG issues they face?
A. Being on the front lines of Major Drilling’s participation in CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) reporting, I look for ways to reduce GHG emissions. I think companies everywhere can take a close look at climate change factors like extreme weather conditions, natural disasters, resource shortages, changing sea levels and changing temperatures. Companies can each do their part to make a worldwide difference.

Q. From the perspective of your position at Major Drilling, how is the company driving sustainability through ESG?
A. As a Logistics Analyst, I see how the comings and goings of the very large fleet of Major Drilling vehicles, drills and the supply chain for parts to our maintenance facilities can affect the environment. By focusing on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and being transparent about reporting our part in climate change risks, we are making Major Drilling more sustainable.

Janice Cormier is a logistics professional who joined Major Drilling in 2012. She works at the Major Drilling Group International headquarters in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.

Operations Manager

Jon Emmerzael

Giving Back

Q. Why is it important for Major Drilling to Give Back?
A. I take it as a responsibility. Drillers work hard, and we give back to the community with that same kind of energy. It’s just who we are as a branch and as a company. We know it’s a duty to be dependable for our clients and to be a good member of the business community. For people to get a little stronger, a little healthier, a little safer because of what we can do to help them out is a great reward. We can all do our part to share what we can and make the world a better place.

Q. What can companies do to be more focused on important ESG issues they face?
A. Of course ESG is important to us, so we want to make sure our employees know it’s more than a lot of “corporate speak.” Fortunately, at Major Drilling corporate and at the branch here in Indonesia, we’ve found the “S” in ESG is pretty relatable and something we can plan and do. For instance, our teams helped out in the community as COVID-19 hit some of the already needy areas really hard. We got together with like-minded businesses and government leaders so we could find the best places to deliver PPE and COVID-19 supplies. We also installed new flooring and plumbing to overhaul a couple of homes. What we did relieved some of the suffering there.

At the end of day, when we know a woman in our community now uses indoor plumbing and can do her laundry right inside her home, we are so happy we could give back this way. This is at the heart of the kind of company Major Drilling is and how other companies can be part of the big picture. Being a good corporate citizen means we can create positive ways for employees to help in the community. It makes for a sustainable future for any company that wants to succeed over the long haul.

Q. From the perspective of your position at Major Drilling, how is the company driving sustainability through ESG?
A. As the operations manager here, I realize that one of the missions of ESG is to increase company value. We need to be always improving here. It takes integrity. It takes putting priorities in order and connecting our society’s needs to our business’ needs. It’s great that is happening, and more chances will be possible as we partner in the infrastructure improvements, health care, education and general living condition improvements we continue to take part of.

Jon Emmerzael is a career drilling professional with more than two decades of field, supervisory and operations management experience. He lives and works in Indonesia.
Sustainability & ESG Coordinator

Lisa Holt

Maintaining Superior Reporting Standards

Q. Why is it important for Major Drilling to Maintain Superior ESG Reporting Standards?
A. When Major Drilling built its ESG framework, it committed to maintaining a high level of reporting standards. As I analyze the data, I can see it’s more important than ever to demonstrate how we are progressing on a path to sustainability. As stated in our ESG Policy, we have commitment to continuous improvement with a focus on auditing and evaluating performance through the development of measurable targets. Like the saying, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure,” we understand to move the needle in important areas where we can have an impact, we have to focus on effectively capturing the underlying data and monitoring progress going forward.

Q. What can companies do to be more focused on important ESG issues they face?
A. Companies that care about the planet, their footprint, their employees and the communities they impact will emerge as leaders as they embrace ESG standards, and face issues head on. Companies should be continually updating and revisiting their internal reporting standards to keep up to date with ESG best practices. Major Drilling is committing to not only making positive, impactful contributions to the communities in which we operate around the globe, but also to leading on ESG in the mineral drilling industry. Globally, society demands not only transparency, but also measurable change.

Q. From the perspective of your position at Major Drilling, how is the company driving sustainability through ESG?
A. In my role as “Sustainability & ESG Coordinator,” I’m privy to every environmental, social and governance activity the company reports. As I analyze results and place the data into Major Drilling’s ESG framework, it’s clear there is a very intentional movement towards being sustainable. The fact alone that we now have an ESG committee and full-time employee such as myself dedicated to implementing ESG policies, procedures and reporting on the data says a lot about Major Drilling’s commitment and drive when it comes to building a sustainable future.

Lisa Holt is Major Drilling’s dedicated Sustainability & ESG Coordinator. Her work focuses on reporting and trends in environmental, social and governance issues in the mining/drilling industry. She joined Major Drilling in 2014 as a senior financial analyst and works at the company’s headquarters in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.
Regional Safety Manager

Ernst Crous

Prioritizing Worker Safety

Q. Why is it important for Major Drilling to Prioritize Worker Safety?
A. ESG to me is a risk management guide tool that actually gets us involved in making a difference in environmental impact, safety management, social involvement, development and equity. At our Africa projects, and of course worldwide, we have commitment to training every single worker to do their job with the best safety knowledge that they can take into the field. We want them to be able to personally assess risk and make safety decisions that will help them and their team go home safely each day.

Q. What can companies do to be more focused on important ESG issues they face?
A. Safety is an ESG issue. When it comes to safety, education and training are the absolute best things a company can do to keep people safe. We want to keep workers safe because they are the lifeblood of Major Drilling. Treating them well, training them well and seeing them succeed is all part of our total sustainability. In the field, we’ve built a culture of safety that starts with area managers, site managers, supervisors and safety officers who drive home the importance of worker safety so everybody is on the same level of understanding. We need to remember that employees on the ground floor, at the drill rigs, are on the front lines facing daily challenges to stay safe.

Q. From the perspective of your position at Major Drilling, how is the company driving sustainability through ESG?
A. Through my experience in the industry for the past 20 years, I have observed growth in awareness with regards to environmental impact and social responsibility. The concept has become more eminent from a client request perspective. I think Major Drilling is at a good point after making a lot of progress with reference to local employment, supporting local businesses and a solid health, safety and environmental program.

Management and co-workers are deeply saddened at the passing of valued Major Drilling team member, Ernst Crous, who lost his battle with leukemia on March 25, 2022. Ernst was wholly dedicated to mentoring others to operate with only best safety practices, every day.  Despite his battle with cancer, he worked tirelessly and with a smile to help protect the safety, health, and wellbeing of his coworkers until the very end.

Major Drilling honors his memory and service to the company and industry. His legacy will live on in the safety lessons he taught to Major Drilling teams in South Africa, his dedication to local community initiatives, and through his service to the ESG Committee.