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.
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.”
A driller tests an upgraded UG LM110 rig, capable of drilling PQ with rod handling.
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.
The Major Drilling Argentina Branch celebrates 1,000 days LTI free in November 2022.
See Major Drilling’s top stories from 2021 here.