As one of North America’s leading underground contractors, DMC Mining Services combines traditional mining with a forward-thinking strategy. President and Managing Director, Michal Jezioro highlights how the company continuously puts performance first.
DOWN TO EARTH
The Canadian mining industry is world-renowned for its tenacity and perseverance on the global stage.
Achieving longevity through evolution, DMC Mining Services (DMC) has been spearheading the latest innovations for over 40 years.
As the industry consistently fluctuates, Canadian mining is currently navigating a dynamic and complex landscape. Although mining has long played a significant role in the region’s economy and remains of vital importance, like any industry, it presents both opportunities and challenges.
However, following a downturn, the field is experiencing an upward trajectory as more projects have begun to rise to the surface, particularly in the underground mining sector.
“The market is getting hotter, and commodity prices are increasing, resulting in projects that were once not economical in the past now being profitable,” introduces Michal Jezioro, President and Managing Director of DMC.
FROM THE GROUND UP
At the forefront of this evolution, DMC is considered one of North America’s premier underground contractors. The company devotedly provides mine contracting services to clients worldwide, and through its global reach has sustained a reputation for innovation, adaptability, and uncompromising safety.
While the company is headquartered in Vaughan, Canada, its international presence extends across additional satellite offices in Sudbury and Thunder Bay, and further locations in the US, Mexico, and South America.
Utilizing over four decades of expertise, DMC has experience across a multitude of mine development sectors, including engineering, technical services, and project management, with a team of over 1,300 employees.
Therefore, its extended influence and unmatched industry knowledge has positioned the company as the go-to underground mining contractor, more than equipped to meet the ever-evolving needs of its clients, while maintaining one of the lowest incident and accident frequency rates in the field.
Looking at DMC’s projects in particular, the company has much to celebrate.
“Our portfolio includes a diverse catalog of interesting and complex projects, many of which have been completed in our own backyard in Canada.
“In addition, we have celebrated industry milestones such as the completion of the world’s first shaft boring roadheader (SBR) project – a mechanized shaft boring technology for medium-hard rock,” Jezioro proudly tells us.
BUILDING TOMORROW’S MINES
Jezioro worked for DMC’s parent company, KGHM International, for 17 years before being appointed as President and Managing Director of DMC. Within this role, he was tasked with leading the development and implementation of strategic growth plans to establish the company’s market presence in the Americas and globally.
“This has been an exceptionally rewarding journey for me, and I take great pride in the remarkable strides DMC has made.
“Our guiding ethos, “Building Tomorrow’s Mines™”, truly reflects our unwavering commitment to forward-thinking innovation and superior client service,” Jezioro states.
Significantly, one of the biggest innovations currently impacting the sector is sustainability. For DMC, the push towards environmentally-friendly mining practices is causing fluctuations in the overall market, as Jezioro explains.
“There is a trend towards green energy, and while necessary, the flip side is that mining becomes more expensive,” he tells us.
“This can put us in a tough spot as new technology is often more costly, and the client is then in the position where they must weigh innovation against budget restrictions.”
As such, the company is working hard to navigate its operations in a way that is beneficial both for the planet and for business.
The company heavily invests in the local communities in which it operates by supporting local charities, events, and sports teams, and offers internship programs and training to Indigenous communities. Additionally, DMC’s First Nations partners are recognized and are invited to collaborate when possible.
POWER IN ITS PEOPLE
Jezioro identifies DMC’s people and their devoted passion as one of the driving differentiators of the company. This culminates from years of recruiting a loyal workforce of local tradespeople who are committed to executing work safely and to the highest industry standards.
Moreover, the company’s executive office, engineering team, and related subject matter experts have been selected for their best-in-class work ethic and their ability to collaborate well within the wider team.
DMC has also been strengthened by staff that have followed the company across the world, including North America, South America, and Europe.
“Our employees have stayed loyal, specifically because they believed in the leadership and are energized by the company. This testament cannot be ignored as our staff are simply exceptional,” Jezioro highlights.
Consequently, DMC invests in its loyal up-and-comers by providing growth opportunities and leadership training. This is further bolstered by the fact that the company builds on individual strengths and interests, to in turn encourage greater engagement and participation and help carve out custom career paths that are both exciting and challenging.
Through the adoption of an open management style, the senior team also promotes ideas sharing; this approach empowers the team and encourages dialogue across the organization.
“We challenge our team to take on responsibility and we celebrate performance achievements.”
Similarly, DMC places great effort in nurturing its client relationships and takes great care in building long-lasting, strong partnerships etched in trust and transparency, fostering a reputation of accessibility and relatability.
In a dual approach, DMC has recently invested in its project management office to facilitate the best possible service offerings for its clients, all whilst providing the most comprehensive resources for the team.
“We are fully aware of the financial impacts that projects have on our clients and their needs to ensure budgets are tightly managed. We also recognize that predicted conditions can vary from the actual results,” Jezioro accepts.
In response to this, DMC is continuously improving its Project Controls and Management Protocol and taking into account its clients’ financial positioning and needs. Therefore, Jezioro and the team can remain confident in the fact that it has the capable skillset to proactively mitigate risk, maximize cost savings, and schedule opportunities.
“At the peak of our people-centric focus is a succession plan and, as such, we are keen to build up our next generation of DMC leaders,” he adds.
As Canadian mining weathers the storm of industry fluctuations, DMC fosters forward-thinking and fresh ideas, while maintaining its trusted business strategy.
“Innovation is critical to the advancement of our industry, but we must never forget about the proven solutions that bring with them the efficiency of predictability – the key is balance,” Jezioro highlights.
As such, DMC prides itself on knowing exactly where and when to apply new technology so that its clients can be assured that the end result is best suited to their requirements and overall expectations.
Additionally, DMC appreciates that innovative strategies, which often come at a higher cost, may be a limited option for some of its clients. Thus, the company focuses on being able to deliver bespoke and efficient solutions at a cost-effective and accessible price.
This equilibrium between efficiency and innovation is most aptly demonstrated by Victoria Park, the company’s flagship greenfield project for its North American operations. Victoria Park boasts early works surface construction, an exploration shaft, and lateral development for bulk sample extraction.
This is a highly significant project for DMC as it presents the opportunity to build on its already elevated standards for project execution, management, controls, site safety, and training and development programs.
Elsewhere, the company has also operated at almost every mine in the Sudbury Basin in Ontario and has been fortunate enough to consistently secure a large portion of the market share of work in the local area.
“Development and construction projects are not the most glamourous, but are essential to mine advancement and contribute significantly not only to our bottom line but also DMC’s success in relationship building.”
On top of this, the company is particularly proud of its involvement in the Jansen Shaft project, as the team was responsible for sinking two of the new ~1,000 meter (m) shafts and worked closely with BHP and Herrenknecht on the design of the machinery.
This particular project was considered an industry first and utilized the new SBR technology to complete excavation, muck out, and ground support continuously as sinking progressed.
DMC also provided the design for the York Potash project, another interesting endeavor that saw the use of SBR to complete the shaft sinking. This technology, first used at DMC at the Jansen Shaft project, has proven to be an effective excavation method for medium-hard rock conditions.
Taking the lessons learned and applying them to the York Potash project, DMC designed a system for fast, efficient, and safe excavation.
“Historically speaking, the Macassa Shaft project was the operation that launched our predecessor Dynatec Mining Limited, and one that we are still very proud of today,” says Jezioro.
Only two years after inception, Dynatec Mining Limited was contracted to sink a 2,350m timbered shaft through difficult ground conditions. Unique for the time, a joint venture partnership was formed with Lac Minerals, and in a groundbreaking project, the two entities successfully completed what is the deepest single-lift timbered shaft in the world.
Today, DMC plans to expand its capabilities with the opening of an office in Mexico, whilst presently investigating potential opportunities in the US, Mongolia, and Europe.
“We are very pleased to be closing off 2023 by re-entering the US market with a substantial project planned in Arizona,” closes Jezioro.
Looking forward to 2024, the company is proposing the refinement of the project management office, alongside the roll-out of new project management software and expansion of the project controls department.
Meanwhile, DMC also hopes to continue its diversification across North and South America with a deeper investigation into global markets.