For Team Drilling, finding and implementing creative solutions forms part of their everyday operations. And, with this forming as the core of its corporate culture, the company has come up with some innovations that are unique to the diamond drilling industry.
“We are always challenging ourselves to improve on every aspect of our business,” says Bob Fleming, CEO of Team Drilling. “Whether it’s providing a better service, improving on safety, or reducing our footprint on the environment, we are constantly questioning things, listening to our employees for their ideas, and when we do find a new solution, we put our successes behind us quickly to meet the next challenge.”
Equipment innovations and customization have led to some big improvements in service. For example, the company has recently adapted their centrifuge system, which allows them to significantly reduce the amount of water and drilling mud consumed, saving on both time and reducing environmental footprint. They have also built a track mounted reverse circulation drill which is ideal for any rapid-sampling job. This drill is also heliportable and easily converted over to coring, should the need arise. Through the use of directional work (mud motoring, steerable core barrels, and wedging), Team Drilling has recently completed a significant number of large and small diameter holes to an accuracy of two-metre targets. And drilling on water, by either the use of a barge or on ice, is a challenge that the company has been quite successful at. Lightweight and powerful, Team Drilling’s drills are modified to accommodate different sizes, depths, and any other requirements for the project to deliver safe, optimal performance for every challenge.
Safety is another area that has benefited from innovative thinking.
“Innovative thinking has had us eliminate the need to work at heights when adding railings to the top of the drill by developing a system that allows us to raise them into place from the ground,” says George Presseault, contracts manager at Team Drilling. “One major modification we have added is an interlocking rotation guard. This safety device stops all rotation and feeding on the drill head when the guard is opened to prevent the workers from moving into the line of fire.”
Continuously improving on safety is something Team Drilling takes very seriously.
“As everyone who has been in the industry for awhile knows, drilling can be dangerous work,” says Al Lamy, surface operations manager at Team Drilling. “But it also can be very safe work if it’s done properly and with the appropriate mechanisms in place.”
Recognizing the need for a standardized safety program, Team Drilling management participated in forming the Drilling Excellence Certification (DEC) program put together by the Canadian Diamond Drilling Association (CDDA) to aid companies in creating safety standards for the diamond drilling industry. Team Drilling is DEC certified, and in addition, they are the first and only diamond drilling company to have signed with Saskatchewan Health & Safety Leadership Charter and pledged to accept and encourage Mission: Zero one task at a time, and are striving to make Mission: Zero a reality for all workplaces and communities.
It is this commitment and innovation that has helped Team Drilling have a current working record of over 550 days at Diavik mine site free of lost time Incidents and medical treatment cases and a previous record of over 1,100 days.
Listening to employees not only fosters a good work environment, but it is also key to finding innovative solutions. In an industry that can have high employee turnover, Team Drilling has an impressive percentage of long term employees.
“We have great employees, probably the top employees in the industry,” says Presseault, “I think we attract a lot of employees because of our company’s reputation and because of our openness. We listen to them, and if they have a good idea, we put it out there. And very often, good ideas come not from management, but from our guys on the ground.”
Embracing each challenge and knowing there is always a solution, Team Drilling has earned its reputation as an industry-leading drilling company that gets the job done in any challenge. Which is why the company is trusted by some of the mining industry’s biggest companies to provide safe, long-term, and productive drilling services.
“After we find one solution, we don’t stop there,” says Fleming, “We are always looking for new ideas, because we want to make sure we prove over, and over, and over again that we are very good at what we do.”