Energold is Redefining Environmental Impacts in Heavy Industries
Environmentally friendly mining companies do exist, and they are proof that the tides are changing in an industry that used to be known for its destructive impact on the environment. Companies like Energold, a diversified global drilling solutions provider, are helping the heavy industries evolve beyond this 20th-century approach.
“Up until about 30 years ago, no one cared about what happened during or after the mining process,” said Fred Davidson, CEO and President of Energold. “The industry is sensitive to its impact now. Methods of mining and exploring are more conscious of the local community. The industry is turning a corner. We’re trying to set the example for the industry, but it takes time to get everyone on the same page.”
So how does this drilling company set the example? It starts with an innovative design for drilling rigs.
A traditional drilling rig often requires a road to be built and a site to be cleared using heavy machinery. The rig is then hauled in. Sometimes the locals are paid compensation for their loss, but not always. So Energold addressed the biggest problem—the difficulty of transporting the drilling rig.
“We’ve built a modular rig that can be taken apart and condensed into very small units,” Davidson said. “The pieces can be driven in on ATVs or entrusted to the locals to get to the site without building a road or destroying land.”
This results in little to no impact on the route to the drilling site. The modular rig only needs about 12×12 feet of room for installation and operation compared to the 60×60 feet of room required for traditional rigs. As a bonus, when Energold leaves a site in a developing country, the company will pay the locals to rehabilitate the site, so the impact is virtually non-existent and their presence creates a win-win.
Energold has taken these environmentally friendly approaches and strategies into seismic drilling, developing a rig that’s the size of a pickup truck. It has minimal impact on the local flora and fauna, and is one-third the size of a traditional line.
“We’re doing traditional work with new technology,” said Davidson.
Energold’s reach goes well beyond a minimal impact on the environment: the company is actively committed to leaving a region better than it was before Energold worked there.
“Malaria can still be a problem in some of the places we take contracts,” Davidson shared. “The approach in the industry used to be, ‘if you get malaria, tough luck.’ Now a couple of months before a crew is even deployed to the region, we’ll provide malaria treatment and mosquito netting and get rid of standing water.
“It’s not excessively expensive—this is something the industry could do easily. You have to be part of the investment you make when you have to work in a community.”
And by the time Energold’s team moves in, an anti-malaria culture has become prevalent, and everyone sleeps under netting.
Energold has also volunteered its resources for Save the Children by drilling small wells in West Africa. Without the right equipment, wells 30 yards deep are often dug by hand, creating a dangerous environment for those doing the digging.
“This is just one example of how technology can improve people’s lives without forcing them to change how they live. It’s about being a good citizen in each location,” said Davidson.
Part of the good local citizen strategy means Energold also hires locally for all of its international drilling contracts.
Education is the key to making sure safety standards are met, and often it means a lot of investment of time and money. The goal is zero injuries and zero health issues, and Energold strives for this in every job the company performs.
“It’s a heck of an investment, but it’s our social responsibility to uphold our safety standards. If that means that we have to provide a second set of safety gear for a team who is wearing their first set to the dance halls to impress the community—which has happened—we do it.”
Energold’s history of setting the example in its industry began almost a decade ago with just six drilling rigs. Today the company has 230 rigs in 22 countries worldwide and provides services ranging from early-stage exploration to mine site operations.
Davidson was also quick to point out that Energold does not just do mineral drilling. Since 2010, Energold has been involved with energy, oil sands, seismic, water, and several other drilling markets. The 2008 Great Recession influenced part of this diversification.
“Mineral drilling is a very volatile market,” Davidson said. “We recognized this volatility and took our equipment into other sectors. We expanded in to oil drilling, which is 10 times larger than mineral drilling. Now we’ve moved into water, which we think will be the commodity for growth this century.”
Going forward, Davidson expects to expand into sectors that are subject to rapid growth. China is also in the company’s sights, as it has a huge growing population and will continue to be one of the largest markets of the 21st century.
“We’ve been selling some of the products we manufacture into Asia, and we’ve started working in Asia as a contractor, though to date that’s been a little tough. We’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Energold is in the process of establishing relationships in the region, which will take some time. The market is an ideal opportunity for the company though, so Davidson is willing to be patient while strategic alliances are built.
“We’re a leader in maximum positive social impact and minimum environmental impact, and we’re looking forward to bringing that to Asia,” said Davidson.
Energold Drilling Corp. (EGD:TSX-V) EGD is a diversified global drilling solutions provider serving mining, oil/gas, water, and geotechnical clients. Founded as an exploration company with a purpose to conduct exploration programs in remote locations with limited infrastructure and access to heavily forested properties, the Company realized the existing mineral drilling technologies and services available in the market were inadequate, and therefore developed a new specialized drilling rig that was highly mobile and would leave a minimal environmental footprint in order to meet the challenges of that particular operating environment. The company has now grown from six drilling rigs in 2006 to over 240 rigs drilling worldwide in 25 countries including the North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Central America as well as the Caribbean and the Middle East.
The Company’s ability to successfully manage this explosive growth in this highly volatile industry sector can be attributed to a number of key factors:
- • Relentless commitment to ongoing research & development and upgrading its core product offerings frequently, thereby strengthening its competitive advantage resulting in higher than industry operating margins.
- • The adoption of organizational and financial operating principles appropriate for the highly volatile mineral exploration industry and strict adherence to these principles, as demonstrated by the Company’s strong balance sheet through market downturns that saw many of its competitors forced into painful re-capitalization processes.
- • Persistent and diligent attention and focus on execution of the literally hundreds of daily tasks inherent in this is very operationally intensive business.
In the past four years, Energold embarked on implementing its strategic goal to become a leading international specialty driller, successfully completing three acquisitions: Envirodrill Ltd. (U.K.), Dando International Ltd. (U.K.) and Bertram International Corp. (AB) expanding its international footprint and diversifying its service offering by providing mineral drilling, oil sands and energy drilling and drilling rig products to its clientele.
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Website – www.energold.com