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Major Drilling’s Top Five Stories from 2022

By January 12, 2023September 26th, 2023No Comments
Major Drilling
Major Drilling

In 2022, Major Drilling experienced a high growth year both in terms of increased industry demand for commodities like gold and battery metals and the successful ramp up of drilling personnel from 2,500 to 3,800 employees. But that’s just part of the story. The company also celebrated the Mongolia Branch’s 20th anniversary, new Board leadership, 17 new underground drills, an inaugural ESG Sustainability Report and worldwide safety achievements. Underpinned by successes at branches across the globe, here are the top five Major Drilling stories from 2022.

1. The Mongolia Branch 20th Anniversary was a celebration of partnership, career opportunities and new energy sector projects.

Major Drilling opened operations in Mongolia in 2002 as incorporated subsidiary Major Drilling Mongolia XXK.

On October 22, 2020 Major Drilling Mongolia set the record for an extremely deep, 2,000-meter PQ3 hole at Oyu Tolgoi.

Major Drilling Mongolia’s work started with the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project in the Gobi Desert. More than two decades in the region have built a strong partnership as a reliable contract driller. More recent work at Oyu Tolgoi includes borehole drilling for cave tracking systems, part of large-scale block cave projects. Teams also achieved record depths in 2020 including several holes over 2,000-meters deep at PQ3 diameter.

The Mongolia Branch continues to develop a professional, highly capable team. In 2022, the first group of women began to drill and lead crews, an important step for the Branch in its efforts to increase gender diversity in the industry. General Manager Sam Williams said, “These women have absolutely risen to the challenge starting as driller assistants and working their way up the drilling ranks.”

Nandinchimeg Munkhsaikhan removes a drill rod head assembly before emptying a core tube at the Oyu Tolgoi copper project in Mongolia. She is part of a new generation of women who are finding their places in the mining and drilling industry.

More progress came to the Branch in June 2022 when Australia-based gas exploration and development company Elixir Energy brought Major Drilling’s deep-hole rigs to their Nomgon IX coalbed methane gas exploration project for initial well drilling. The contract marks the beginning of Major Drilling’s services for the emerging energy development market in Mongolia.

A large-size rig drills well pilot holes at Elixir Energy’s Nomgon IX CBM exploration project.

2. In June, Kim Keating was elected Chair of Major Drilling’s Board of Directors, succeeding long time Board Chair, David Tennant, upon his retirement after serving as a Director with the Company since 1995.

Ms. Keating is a Professional Engineer with 25 years of broad international experience in the oil and gas, nuclear, hydropower, and mining sectors, and her appointment comes at an exciting time for the company as it continues its success in the current industry upturn.

3. In 2022, Major Drilling purchased 34 new rigs, 19 of which are underground drills.

After a strategic focus to diversify services, Major Drilling now has one of the most modern underground fleets in the industry. Additionally, newer PQ drills support underground projects with specific demands.

“The underground drills, some with PQ rod handling and advanced safety features, are boosting the Major Drilling fleet at the right time, with the right specs for our clients,” Nick Floersch, Major Drilling USA Underground Operations Manager, said.  “We’re excited to add more of these underground drills to our operations.”

See details and a photo gallery of Major Drilling’s underground fleet here.

4. For the first time, Major Drilling released a Sustainability Report in 2022.

The report details ESG initiatives from 2021 that are at the forefront of the company’s business strategy and are underpinned by the company’s environmental, social and governance policy. While this was the company’s inaugural Sustainability Report, sustainable business practices have been part of the company’s core value system for many years.

“Not only are we setting goals for the future, we are also working hard to achieve them,” Denis Larocque, Major Drilling President and CEO, said. “Continuing on this path advances ESG practices within our industry and presents a great amount of opportunity for our company, customers, employees and stakeholders.”

Read more in Major Drilling’s inaugural Sustainability Report.

5. Safety comes first. In the drilling industry, lost-time injury free (LTI) hours represent commitment to working safely every day.

Ben Graham, Major Drilling VP Health & Safety, said, “With 20 branches on five continents, our commitment to safety and ensuring workers can return home safely is our ongoing priority.”

Kim Keating

LM110 Underground Rig

A driller tests an upgraded UG LM110 rig, capable of drilling PQ with rod handling.

2021 Sustainability Report

World-class safety programs, including TAKE 5, 10 Lifesaving Rules and robust Critical Risks Management help Major Drilling lead the industry in safety with notable results.

Major Drilling LTI-free milestones in 2022 include:

  • Australia – 4 years
  • Philippines – 6 years
  • Chile – 7 years
  • Brazil – 9 years
  • Mozambique – 10 years
  • Argentina – 2 years

“In the hard work that defines our industry, the evidence of safe choices made day after day is truly gratifying. We congratulate each one of our branches for their safety achievements in 2022,” said Graham.

Major Drilling Argentina

The Major Drilling Argentina Branch celebrates 1,000 days LTI free in November 2022.

See Major Drilling’s top stories from 2021 here.

Follow Major Drilling on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to receive the latest company news and updates. Established in 1980, and publicly traded as Toronto Stock Exchange ticker symbol TSX: MDI (MDI.TO), Major Drilling is the leader in specialized drilling mainly servicing the mining industry. The company operates on five continents as the world leader in specialized drilling guided by ESG principles to advance sustainability efforts. As the leading mining supplier and drilling contractor for specialized contracts, Major Drilling is creating value by partnering with customers and communities to discover minerals for building a better future. Learn more  about how to make your next drilling project safe and successful with Major Drilling.