A couple weeks ago, Viking West’s Vice President Kevin Reimer had the opportunity to interact with members of a community that’s near and dear to the drilling industry, but possesses its own unique elements.
The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) gathers influencers from the mining community in Toronto, Ontario, every year to exhibit and present. Kevin, alongside our partners from Dando Drilling International, were on hand to see first-hand just how hard people are working to inject life into the global mining and drilling economy.
It was a treat for us because, while we write a lot about sampling and drilling through dirt, clay and stone, we rarely get to talk about the shinier components that exist beneath the surface of the Earth.
However, even though there’s a fairly obvious difference between soil and gold, the manner in which we extract these materials and the development of attachments to get the job done has more than a little in common.
I caught up with Kevin to hear more about his experience exhibiting at PDAC 2016 with Dando Drilling this March.
Q. Based on your observations at this year’s convention, what are some common trends that cross over between mineral exploration and the general drilling, construction and forestry industries?
A. No matter what industry you’re talking about, every time a project requires disturbance of the ground, it’s crucial to do so in a safe, sustainable manner that allows for things to be put back where they were, so to speak. So, equipment across those industries you mentioned, it all has guarding products, enhanced safety products and easy-to-use implements, such as hydraulics.
Q. You attended Groundwater Expo in December in 2015 as well. What were some of the highlights from PDAC that made it an important show for Viking to exhibit at?
A. PDAC is the biggest show for mineral exploration. It has an international audience. The companies range from small drilling contractors to large mining corporations. So not only is it a good chance to gain exposure, both for us and our partnership with Dando, it allows you to take a pulse on an industry you might not necessarily deal with on a day-to-day basis.
After having customers in the booth and chatting with them about what they’re interested in, you always ask them about their business and what’s working for them, what’s not. Based on that feedback it helps us make business decisions and helps us plan the future of our products. The people coming through our booth there in Toronto, they’re busy, they’re working hard, and they’re the people who we’re trying to service and trying to help.
Q. Did you learn any specific tidbits from conversations on the floor?
A. For sure, a lot of information relating to specific businesses. You probably don’t have enough space (laughs). Year after year we’re noticing more and more people are focusing on safety and productivity. I know we all talk about safety a lot, but more companies are walking the walk as well these days, which is great news for us and great news for the drilling industry and the entire equipment manufacturing sector.
With the focus on mineral extraction and mining at PDAC, we got to talk with some large corporations who control large mines. These mines demand equipment with features that take care of safety and productivity without fail.
Q. You told me before that shows like this are how the industry plans the future. Can you elaborate on that?
A. We believe that the future of the economy, whether it’s planned in Langley, British Columbia, or on a worldwide market, depends on communication before production. At PDAC, for example, the world shrinks. You get potential clients coming to talk to you from South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and of course North America. Every continent around the world comes to this show. Other shows are more focused on specific geographic regions. For example, Groundwater Expo is a predominantly North American show with a little bit of international influence.
Q. Shrinking the world; that’s a good thing, right?
A. (Laughs) It is, yes. At least the way we’re looking at it. Two heads are better than one, right? The more we learn from clients all over the world, the better equipped we’ll be to handle everything that’s thrown at us.