What were some of the highlights driving growth in G Mining Services business in recent years?
Last we spoke in 2019, we were in the middle of leading the construction of the Fruta del Norte project in Ecuador. We completed that project on budget and three months early. Right now, we are conducting different studies for many clients. We were glad to obtain additional work from the Lundin family as we are currently working for Bluestone Resources on their Cerro Blanco project. We are doing a feasibility study on their open pit scenario. Throughout the year, we have also been working with Galaxy Resources on their James Bay lithium project in Québec. Another highlight was the feasibility study work we have done for Generation Mining on their Marathon project.
What services are currently most in demand from clients?
Q1 2020 was slower because of Covid, but things started ramping up after that in Q2, and really heated up in the second half of the year. Right now, we see strong demand for our services across the board, from geology, underground and open pit mining engineering, the construction trades and processing.
Demand is so robust that we are currently growing faster than expected. In 2020, G Mining Services employed about 80 people. Today, we employ close to 110 people, and anticipate that we will grow our staff to 150 employees over the next year based on our current workload.
How is G Mining Services able to attract top talent?
I would say our culture brings people in, because good people want to be challenged to accomplish great things and GMS has many interesting challenges ahead. Good people also want to join a strong team to accomplish those feats and be proud of what they’ve built at the end of the day. The other thing is being in Montreal is a distinct advantage because there are many miners who have been working in remote parts of the world for many years, and they often appreciate being able to return and work from a world class city. We provide mining professionals the opportunity to work in the city and that is very helpful in recruiting.
G Mining Service works on projects around the world. How do they differ from your work in Québec?
We work across many different cultures, so each project is unique. You need to adapt to the culture, where the project is located. Sometimes standards differ overseas, but we apply North American standards for safety, and we bring our quality standards to wherever we are working. Québec is a hotbed for mining knowledge, mining services and goods; particularly relative to a country like Ecuador, which is not yet established as a mining jurisdiction. Over there, they do not have the same number of service providers. Also, in Québec, because our costs are higher, we try to use telecommunications better and technology is implemented more to help with efficiency and effectiveness.
Can you provide some background and an overview of the strategy behind G Mining Ventures?
G Mining Ventures came to be because we believe, in general, that building a mine is more difficult than operating one. This is because of the large CAPEX budgets, increased complexity and higher headcount required during the construction phase versus the operating phase. We brought the three mines we built through commissioning and into operations, so we are confident in our ability to operate a mine. We also like the long-term economics of gold. Over the past couple of years, we have been working on different mandates for Sprott and we built a good relationship based on trust and respect. From early 2020, Sprott was encouraging us to create this new entity to partner with us to acquire a project and build it out so that we can all gain from our construction skills. In the end, they came in with an equity investment and they now own 11% of the company. Moving forward, G Mining Ventures’ objective is to acquire one or multiple precious metal assets that are close to a construction decision. From there, we intend to leverage our expertise to drive value for shareholders.