They know the drill, Major Drilling operating for 43 years

Posted on August 18, 2023 | By Alexander Chafe | 0 Comments


A Major Drilling drill crew reviewing safety procedures at a remote project in Canada (photo credit: Major Drilling Group International Inc.)


A global leader in the mining industry, Major Drilling Group International has deep roots in Atlantic Canada. With beginnings in Bathurst, New Brunswick, Major Drilling has slowly expanded operations across the globe over its nearly 50 years in business.

Breaking ground

The beginning of Major Drilling Group dates back to 1980 when Ron Goguen acquired Ideal Drilling from a group of business owners. With company operations in Bathurst, New Brunswick, Goguen established a corporate office in his hometown of Moncton.

Looking to expand, he acquired mining companies in Quebec and Maine during the ‘80s. While the company operated under the name Ideal Drilling for a short period of time, as the business grew, Goguen renamed it Major Drilling Group International.


Major Drilling’s original logo from the 80s (photo credit: Major Drilling Group International Inc.)


New waters

In 1990, Major Drilling reevaluated its growth strategy. After identifying a shortage of quality drilling companies operating outside of Canada and the U.S., Major Drilling established subsidiaries in Mexico and South America.

As demand for the company’s services grew, Goguen decided to take the company public in 1995 to fund its continued expansion. Its listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange helped raise $6.5 million and allowed Major Drilling to enter markets in other countries throughout South America.

Later in the ‘90s, additional capital was raised to support its growth across Canada with the acquisition of companies in British Columbia and the North West Territories. It also established a presence in the land down under by purchasing two Australian businesses. According to Major Drilling’s current CEO, Denis Larocque, these acquisitions nearly doubled the size of the business.


A close-up of core samples used to identify the presence of natural resources from a project site in Chile (photo credit: Major Drilling Group International Inc.)


Ebb and flows

In 1998, there was a downturn in the mining industry, which led to some years of financial difficulty for Major Drilling. Despite these challenges, the business persisted until the next peak period from 2004 until 2013. During this time Major Drilling continued to expand into new markets and strengthened operations, which allowed them to survive another downturn until the market bounced back in 2020.

Larocque explained that ebbs and flows are natural in the mining industry, as exploration activities are dependent on the global demand for natural resources.


The Major Drilling team in Mongolia in 2020 after setting the record for an extremely deep, 2,000-meter PQ3 hole at Oyu Tolgoi (photo credit: Major Drilling Group International Inc.)


Drilling strong

Today, Major Drilling Group International has operations in 15 countries around the world and a team of about 3,500 employees. Performing exploration activities to identify areas with natural resources like copper, zinc, silver and iron ore, Larocque says Major Drilling is currently focused on discovering materials needed to support the world’s movement towards electrification.

While the company has established offices in countries across the globe, corporate headquarters has remained in Moncton, N.B. since the very beginning. Larocque commented: “We’ve developed expertise in our Moncton office that would be impossible to replicate elsewhere.”

Still drilling strong after 43 years.

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