Supplier Snapshot: Eight companies set on growth

A driller using Boart Longyear’s S36 drifter-type rock drill. Credit: Boart Longyear.A driller using Boart Longyear’s S36 drifter-type rock drill. Credit: Boart Longyear.

The renewed optimism amongst mining companies has trickled down to the extensive network of mining suppliers in North America and beyond. The following are brief introductions to eight such companies.


Salt Lake City, Utah-based Boart Longyear is a name everyone in mining recognizes as arguably the leading supplier in the world of drilling services, drilling equipment and performance tools for mining and drilling companies. Its Canadian presence is based in Sudbury, Ontario.

The company was founded in 1890 by Edmund J. Longyear, who sank his first diamond drill hole that year on the Minnesota Mesabi Range.

The “Boart” side of the company comes from the Anglo American group of companies in South Africa in the 1930s, and reflected the first commercialization of non gem-quality diamonds named “boart,” or “bort,” mechanically set in drill bits using South African boart (as opposed to the earlier, more expensive process of hand-set Brazilian diamonds in drill bits). Anglo American eventually owned all of Longyear, and merged the company with Boart in 1995 before selling it in 2005 to private equity firms Advent International and Bain Capital and several management investors, who moved the headquarters to Salt Lake City.

Today, Boart Longyear’s Global Drilling Services division operates in 30 countries for a mining customer base that spans a wide range of commodities, including copper, gold, nickel, zinc, uranium, and other metals and minerals. Boart Longyear’s Global Products division designs, manufactures and sells drilling equipment, performance tools and aftermarket parts and services to customers in over 100 countries, using six global manufacturing locations.

Boart Longyear says it has developed and introduced “some of the most advanced drilling technology on the market and in history,” including the industry’s first wireline core retrieval system, which finds its expression today in its state-of-the-art “genuine Q” wireline system.


With offices in Vancouver and Mississauga, Ont., Brunner & Lay Canada is the Canadian subsidiary of Springdale, Arkansas-based Brunner & Lay, which was established in 1882 and today builds mining and construction tools. Its current focus is paving breakers, demolition tools and rock-drilling tools.

Brunner & Lay’s worldwide operations encompass manufacturing plants and warehouses on three continents, including seven facilities in the U.S., three in Canada, three in Great Britain, one in Germany and two in Australia.

The corporation is overseen by president F. Michael Brunner, the fourth generation of the Brunner family to oversee operations. The company has been involved in Mount Rushmore, the Hoover Dam and the Chunnel.

Brunner & Lay makes what it calls “one of the widest ranges of paving breaker tools in the U.S.,” for use with most types of handheld breaker machines used worldwide.

Its demolition tools are geared for use with most types of heavy-duty, boom-mounted breaker machines in use worldwide.

Brunner & Lay says its mining products are designed to deliver high production footage at the lowest possible cost, using precision-machined, high-quality steel that is heat treated to insure strength and durability.

The Brunner & Lay mining line includes striking bars, couplings, carburized drill steel, hi-frequency hardened drill steel, and its trademarked Rok-Bits.


Saskatoon-based Discovery Int’l Geophysics is a small but growing geophysical consulting firm built on a partnership in 1996 between two mining professionals: Dennis Woods in B.C. and Brent Robertson in Saskatchewan.

After having provided services to more than 200 clients, the firm now has offices in Surrey in B.C., Saskatoon, Lac duBonnet in Manitoba, and Springdale in Newfoundland, with five skilled full-time personnel, including two geophysicists, and an experienced part-time workforce of more than 15, many of them from Newfoundland.

The company prides itself on treating employees well, and says this has resulted in “low employee turnover and a loyal, dynamic and energetic workforce.” Discovery notes it has had no lost-time injuries since its foundation, amounting to over 80,000 man-hours without a lost time injury.

Services include Transient electromagnetic (TEM) surveys; Time or frequency domain IP/resistivity with 2D/3D inversion; directional borehole IP/resistivity; multi-parameter borehole logging; gravity/microgravity with 2D/3D inversion; horizontal loop EM Magnetics and VLF-EM; seismic refraction and reflection; and complete processing, modeling and interpretation services.


Founded in 1980 as Dynatec Mining Ltd., DMC Mining Services today ranks as one of North America’s premier underground contractors, operating from its headquarters in the Toronto suburb of Vaughan.

The company has a complex corporate history of mergers and acquisitions. In 2007, when Sherritt International acquired Dynatec for $1.6 billion, it sold Dynatec’s Mining Services Division to its old partner, FNX Mining, and the division’s name was changed to DMC Mining Services in 2008. FNX Mining merged with Quadra Mining in a $3-billion deal in March 2010. In March 2012, Polish copper miner KGHM Polska Miedz bought Quadra FNX Mining for $2.9 billion in cash.

Today, DMC Mining Services is a division of KGHM International, which is the successor of Quadra FNX Mining and operates as the international arm of KGHM Polska Miedz.

DMC offers a comprehensive list of mining services, ranging from shaft sinking and raise boring, to full mine development and operation. The firm describes its “extensive mining services” as having been “applied at large-scale mining sites” for gold, nickel, copper, potash, zinc and other metals and minerals — all while having “one of the lowest incident and accident frequency rates in the industry.”

In January 2017, DMC appointed Graham Buttenshaw as managing director. Buttenshaw, a graduate of the Royal School of Mines in the U.K., previously managed projects in Europe, Australia, North America and South America for companies such as Nyrstar, Redpath, Troy Resources and BHP Billiton.


Johannesburg-headquartered DRA Global describes itself as a “multi-disciplinary global engineering group delivering mining, mineral processing, energy, agriculture, water treatment and infrastructure services from concept to commissioning, and comprehensive operations and maintenance services.” DRA has offices in Africa, Australia, Canada, China, India and the United States.

DRA made waves in Canada in March 2016 when it acquired Met-Chem Canada Inc. from UEC Technologies LLC, which is part of United States Steel Corporation.

Headquartered in Montreal, Met-Chem was a consulting engineering company founded more than four earlier, and it provided services such as resource estimation, mine design and planning, and mineral processing to the metals and minerals industry worldwide.

DRA said Met-Chem’s “particular strengths in mining and geology” made it an “excellent fit” for DRA, which has specialist capabilities in design engineering, mineral processing, EPCM project delivery and contract operations.

DRA had already established an office in Canada in 2005 and acquired Taggart Global in 2014.

In September 2016, DRA Global appointed Wray Carvelas as CEO. Carvelas joined DRA in 2001 and previously held the role of projects director, and was appointed as CEO of DRA’s Americas operations in 2011. He holds an MBA cum laude from the University of Stellenbosch.


Based in the Sudbury, Ont., suburb of Dowling with offices in Chile and Peru, Hard-Line Solutions is a specialist in the remote control of heavy equipment with the goal of increasing efficiency and safety in mining and other heavy industry. Walter Siggelkow founded Hard-Line in 1996, and today serves as Hard-Line president.

Hard-Line boasts that “no matter what type, make or model of machinery, we can configure it to operate remotely,” and breaks its product line into six areas: teleremote control, radio remote control, camera systems, low-profile loader, shaft guides and brow alert.

It has a staff of professionals trained in mining, electronics, electrical design and mechanical design who travel the globe to install systems at mine sites.

The firm says the most common applications it works on are rock breakers, drills, load haul dumps, wheel loaders, excavators, dozers and locomotives.

Hard-Line’s awards include the Bell Business Excellence Innovation Award; Innovation Diversification of Export Markets; Bronze Award Ontario Global Traders; Innovation Certificate for New Product Design; and Ontario Regional Finalist for New Technology.


Miller Technology is based in North Bay, Ont., where it designs and manufactures mining-related equipment using in-house capabilities in welding, machining, rebuilding components, painting, parts supply, engineering, and research and development.

The company was incorporated in 1980 by Ron Miller, designing and building a prototype Mine Kart in a home garage in 1982.

By 2011, the firm had outgrown several offices and plants, and moved into a 50,000 sq. ft manufacturing plant and head office.

Early successes included becoming a Toyota Land Cruiser dealer; building mechanized bolter screeners for Falconbridge; becoming a JCB Construction dealer; developing the Easy Rider Mine Kart with suspension and the Triple 4ce multifunctional utility carrier; and becoming a Komatsu forklift and a Lamtrac snow groomer dealer.

In recent years, Ron Miller joined the Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Service Association and North Bay Mining Association halls of fame.

Miller Technology’s product line for mining includes: Miller Max, Toyota Land Cruiser, Tele Handler, Etrac Series, Triple 4CE, underground grader and Jeep J8.


Vancouver-based MineSense Technologies Ltd. provides data analytics systems for the mining industry. The company says it has developed “unprecedented sensor technology and software that will provide mines with information on their orebody not previously available,” and that this “enables mining companies to reduce the effect of tailings facilities at mine sites and increases productivity significantly.”

MineSense argues that low-grade “ores” are typically uneconomic to mine, but “may become profitable” with the addition of pre-concentration technology. In particular, MineSense says its shovel and belt-based solutions “improve the economics of mining low-grade ores by maximizing resource conversion and metal recovery.”

Led by president and CEO Jeff More, MineSense recently closed a $19-million financing from both previous investors and new ones such as Aurus Ventures and mining equipment giant Caterpillar.

Nickel miners will recognize one name on MineSense’s board of directors: Ian Pearce, former chief executive of Xstrata Nickel and chief operating officer of Falconbridge, and a current partner at Mick Davis’ X2 Resources in London.



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