Suppliers Snapshot: Five firms supporting industry with critical solutions

Part of 4Refuel’s fleet of mobile refuelling trucks, which is now owned by Finning International. Credit: 4Refuel.Part of 4Refuel’s fleet of mobile refuelling trucks, which is now owned by Finning International. Credit: 4Refuel.

The mineral development industry continues to rely on and support a varied network of suppliers. From early-stage exploration to decommissioning, suppliers are there every step of the way, providing the goods and services that keep the industry humming.

DSI Underground

Luxembourg-based DSI Underground has bought Fero Group, an Australian galvanizing services and mesh-making firm. 

DSI’s Australian operations manufacture and supply strata reinforcement and ground support products for the underground mining, infrastructure and construction sectors.

Following the acquisition, the Fero Strata Systems business division will be consolidated under the DSI Underground brand.

DSI Underground says it offers customers the largest product range of dynamic anchor systems, injection resins, pumpable injection chemicals and forepoling systems to mining and tunnelling customers.

DSI Underground has more than 1,400 employees worldwide, with operations in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. In 2011, the company was bought by Jersey-headquartered private equity firm Triton.

Finning International

The world’s largest Caterpillar dealer, Finning International (TSX: FTT) has completed its $260-million purchase of mobile refuelling firm 4Refuel.

In 2018, 4Refuel made $110 million and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of $33.5 million, with more than 95% of its profits coming from Canadian operations. The company specializes in refuelling equipment directly on-site, usually during off hours and when equipment is idle, which boosts customers’ productivity by keeping equipment available. It employs 600 people and serves more than 3,400 customers.

Finning foresees great synergies with its new acquisition to both offer Finning equipment to 4Refuel’s customers — half of which are in western Canada — and grow the mobile refuelling business through Finning’s customer network.

Founded in 1933, Vancouver-based Finning employs 12,000 people across the globe. The firm sells, rents and provides parts and service for equipment and engines to customers in the mining, construction, petroleum, forestry and other industries.

GoldSpot Discoveries

A new industry player promising to harness the power of artificial intelligence in the mineral space has started trading on the TSX Venture Exchange.

Toronto-based GoldSpot Discoveries (TSXV: SPOT) plans to use machine learning “as an extension of geological brainpower” and extract value from both exploration and investment data.

The firm boasts established companies as clients and partners, including: Yamana Gold (TSX: YRI; NYSE: AUY), Hoschild Mining, McEwen Mining (TSX: MUX; NYSE: MUX) and Sprott Mining.

GoldSpot’s team of 23 experts from earth and data sciences plan to help mineral companies translate data points into the best exploration targets.

The service model starts with inputting underlying data and using algorithms to cleanse, transform and interpret that data. The data is then used to train machines to predict mineral targets.

GoldSpot is also relying on artificial intelligence to find new clients through its resource quantamental (RQ) opportunity generator. The company plans to use service agreements to generate revenue and finance research and development and business growth. It will also use RQ to pinpoint opportunities to help partners technically and financially, in exchange for royalties and equity.

Hard Line

In a bid to extend its global reach, Hard Line, a Canadian heavy machine control and automation specialist, has engaged with Murray Engineering to provide support for Hard Line products in Australasia, Africa and the Middle East.

With 130 employees, Dowling, Ontario-headquartered Hard Line has established itself in the Americas, and seeks expansion.

Murray is part of the large Byrnecut mining services group and is well established in its home country of Australia, where Hard Line had lacked presence and support. Murray recently established a base in Mongolia and has provided services in Africa and Europe.

Hard Line specializes in delivering automation, teleoperation and radio remote control systems involving drills, trucks, rock breakers, LHDs, dozers and other machines. Its equipment is not brand or machine specific, which provides operating transparency and no programming restrictions.

SGS Canada

Last year saw SGS Canada expand its mining service offerings across Canada.

The Canadian arm of the Switzerland-based inspection, verification, testing and certification firm opened a mini flotation pilot plant at its Lakefield, Ont. site. The facility promises to help miners save money by running much smaller flotation tests at 10 to 15 kilograms per hour, and requiring samples as small as 250 kilograms, compared to the two tonnes required for large-scale pilot plants, the company says.

SGS has also opened two new sample preparation facilities, aimed at servicing regional demand. The new labs are in Val-d’Or, Que. and Whitehorse, Yukon. Both of the new facilities offer drying, grinding, crushing, pulverizing and soil-screening capabilities. The labs will accept the following sample types: core sample, RC chips, rock sample, trench samples and soil samples.

With the two new facilities, SGS Canada’s network now has seven geochemistry sites across Canada.


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