Castonguay Blasting : Leaders in Blasting

Lauren RobinsonJack Salter
Lauren Robinson - Project Manager Jack Salter - Head of Editorial

Yuri Alexandre, CEO, tells us why Castonguay Blasting is well-positioned to take on the industry as a leader in drilling and blasting for the mining and construction sectors.

LEADERS IN BLASTING

Being from Quebec, I feel the industry is ours to develop.” 

There are many business opportunities in Canada for anyone willing to work hard and be creative, according to Yuri Alexandre, CEO of Castonguay Blasting (Castonguay). Indeed, the country is privileged to be sitting on numerous natural resources and critical minerals strived for by many around the world, now and in the future. 

“Our advantage, being local, is that we know our environment such as the terrain, weather, culture, and communities. I feel we are well positioned to take on the industry,” affirms Alexandre, who has been with the company for 10 years. 

Founded in 1971 in the city of Sherbrooke, the company now offers turnkey drilling and blasting, along with explosives supply and technical services, to the mining and construction sectors, leveraging its 50+ years of experience in the field. 

Across its active offices in Quebec, Ontario, Newfoundland, and Labrador, as well as South America, Castonguay employs around 300 people who are at the core of the company and commended by Alexandre as some of the best in the industry. 

“We have built an internal team of engineers, technicians, and operators that specialize in what we do. This allows us to offer the best practices and technical approaches to our customers, apply the highest standards, and respect industry laws and regulations,” he informs us. 

“Our company has always been good with people, and as a result, we have multiple staff members with a long history at Castonguay. For example, one of our employees celebrated 39 years of loyal service this year!” 

SAFETY, RESPECT, QUALITY, AND EXCELLENCE

Complemented by a fleet of 65 drill rigs and bulk explosives delivery equipment adapted to large mining and quarrying appliances, Castonguay fulfills multiple customer demands and delivers high-quality results. 

“Our above-average standards and core values of safety, respect, and quality make us leaders in our field,” acclaims Alexandre. 

The former is achieved through rigorous health and safety training and the application of regional government standards and regulations in the workplace, which prevent harm to both employees and surrounding communities.  

Castonguay also does its best to keep the use of dangerous substances to a bare minimum, pinpoint and eliminate risks, and respond adequately in case of an emergency or accident.  

“We are accountable in regard to safety and production commitments and take a lot of pride in servicing our customers well, being comprehensive, and reacting quickly to their requests,” Alexandre smiles. 

Respect is given to employees and clients by offering the best working conditions and solutions, whilst suppliers are likewise respected through honest and fair business transactions. 

Quality and excellence, meanwhile, have been synonymous with Castonguay for over half a century, be it drilling and blasting services or, more recently, explosives supply. 

Using proven methods and state-of-the-art equipment, the company offers clients superior quality results, whatever the project type or scope, as well as excellent customer service.

“Our customers know they can depend on us for reliable drilling and blasting services, and more recently, explosives supply”

Yuri Alexandre, CEO, Castonguay Blasting

AREAS OF GROWTH

Quebec is a big growth market for Castonguay, who recently signed an agreement in 2020 with US explosives manufacturer, Austin Powder, to become their exclusive distributor for the province. 

Since then, the company has increased its fleet of bulk delivery equipment every year and tackled two turnkey mining contracts, in which it delivers full drilling and blasting services as well as 100 percent of the explosives. 

“We also provide these services in the aggregates industry, where we offer both rock-on-ground services as well as direct explosives sales to customers,” Alexandre adds.   

To date, these projects have been successful and proven the top-of-line quality of the products and services provided by Castonguay, who plans to continue to grow this portion of the business in the coming years. 

“We feel there is a place for us in the market. We are not only an explosives distributor but also an explosives user; we know what the customer needs,” states Alexandre. 

Castonguay’s relationships with the likes of Austin Powder, as well as Sandvik and Epiroc for drilling equipment, are based on respect, communication, transparency, and continuous improvement. 

“They are our main suppliers and part of our success, and we believe we are a good customer for them.  

“The relationships we maintain are extremely important to us. It is also vital to communicate this to employees to ensure a culture of respect and communication is maintained at all levels,” Alexandre emphasizes.

SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENT

The company recently renewed its fleet of drilling equipment with a significant amount of investment into the latest technologies. 

On various customer sites, Castonguay currently operates drills equipped with GPS positioning technology, remote operation capabilities, autonomous functions, and pressurized cabins.  

This, along with a fleet of exclusive drilling rigs built in-house, allows Castonguay to access rough terrain and still be capable of drilling large diameters using down-the-hole technology.   

These rigs are mainly used for the development phases of mining projects where accessibility is a challenge and ore dilution is critical. 

“We will keep investing in explosives delivery equipment, drilling rigs with the latest technologies, and our company culture to attract and retain top talent,” Alexandre tells us. 

Developing and improving the business with top talent and equipment is Castonguay’s key priority for the rest of 2024 and beyond. 

“We want to add more explosives delivery equipment to our fleet in order to grow in this sector. We also look forward to mastering new technologies and using them to their full potential; our goal is to stay ahead in our industry and benefit our customers,” he concludes. 

In doing so, Castonguay will need to find ways to be cost-effective and keep the industry profitable as it contends with high inflation and increasing operating and capital expenses.

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By Lauren Robinson Project Manager
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Lauren Robinson is a Project Manager for Mining Outlook. Lauren is responsible for showcasing corporate stories in our digital B2B magazines and Digital Platforms, and sourcing collaborations with Business Leaders, Brands, and C-suite Executives to feature in future editions. Lauren is actively seeking opportunities to collaborate. Reach out to Lauren to discover how you and your business could be our next cover story.
By Jack Salter Head of Editorial
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Jack Salter is an in-house writer for Mining Outlook Mining, where he is responsible for interviewing corporate executives and crafting original features for the magazine, corporate brochures, and the digital platform.