Manroc Developments Inc.

The gold standard in global Alimak mining solutions
Written by: 
Molly Shaw
Produced by: 
Victor Martins

Manroc Developments Inc. (Manroc) is a world leader in Alimak mining and the only contractor of its kind in Canada to continuously pursue new technologies and applications relating to narrow vein horizontal stope mining. Manroc’s Alimak method provides the highest safety standards in the industry while increasing productivity and adding greater flexibility and maneuverability while reducing overall mining costs.

Since Don Simoneau, president and owner of the Ontario-based firm, purchased the company in 1989, innovation has been the name of the game for Manroc. “Approximately 80 percent of the Alimak gear is fabricated in-house with our own engineers and mechanical team, including welders,” details Katie Simoneau, Don’s daughter and vice president of Manroc. “We invest a great deal of time and money developing specialized systems for safer mining and more efficient production. Manroc prides itself in having some of the best Alimaks and the best Alimak mining system known in the industry.”

From the ground up

Based in Manitouwadge, Ont., Manroc, started with just 13 employees and a reputation that was built on word-of-mouth advertisement. “My father was born and bred in the industry; he’s been a miner his whole life,” says Simoneau. “He really has built the company from the ground up, mostly through hard work and word-of-mouth referrals. This past March, we had a celebration for my father to mark 25 years of ownership.”

Simoneau, who has now been with Manroc for close to a decade, grew up immersed in the family business. “I started out as the payroll clerk, moved onto mine clerk and then contract administer,” she shares. “Now I play a huge role in dealing with clients and marketing what Manroc does.”

From the first 13 employees, to now nearly 200, Manroc has grown by leaps and bounds over the last 25 years. “Our main office and shop is in Manitouwadge, but we frequently open small satellite offices on location,” shares Simoneau. “The number of employees we have fluctuates based on work but we’re currently at 200.”

Going global

Specializing in Alimak raise development, underground track and trackless development, long-hole stope production drilling and underground construction, Manroc has become a one-of-a-kind world leader. “We operate in a unique niche market,” says Simoneau. “We’re one of the only companies in the world that does this type of narrow vein Alimak mining and it’s taken us to many locations far and wide.”

“We’ve had projects across Canada and the U.S., as well as Peru, Africa, Guatemala, Kazakhstan and Uruguay,” reveals Simoneau. “Every year, we take on one or two overseas projects.”

“One of our most exciting projects is currently underway in Honduras for Nyrstar,” continues Simoneau. “It’s the largest stope we’ve ever done and things are going very well and everything is holding up as planned.”

Today, Manroc serves a range of major mining companies around the world, providing safe, innovative, low-cost mining techniques that yield high tonnage, low dilution results. Simoneau explains that some of Manroc’s customers include Barrick Gold, Goldcorp Inc. and Nyrstar.

From 2000 to 2014 Manroc has excavated over 43,000 meters of raise, and 19,000 meters of lateral development. We have production drilled over 1.2 million meters and have blasted over 5.1 million tonnes.

Setting the safety standard

Manroc’s efficient mining method makes it possible to extract previously uneconomic and inaccessible ore reserves. Over the last decade Manroc had developed a program of manpower training, skills enhancement, capital investment and has a very strong commitment to safety in mining techniques. The company has paved the way to profitable extractions of narrow deposits in difficult ground conditions at Winston Lake, Hemlo Camp, Musselwhite, Snap Lake, SanGold and Myra Falls across Canada.

“What sets us above others is we fabricate and test everything in-house,” reveals Simoneau. “One of our most distinct developments is Manroc’s two-post canopy. It was a result of our intensive research and development team, including engineers, rock mechanics, raise miners, millwrights, welders, machinists and supervisors, whose number-one priority is to make mining more efficient and safer for our employees.”

 “Manroc has done extensive testing on our canopy and currently it is underway for passing the FOPS ISO II certification,” adds Simoneau. “The testing included dropping a 500-pound rock from 17 feet in the air and the canopy held the weight.”

Manroc has also developed cable bolting techniques which aide in controlling external dilution and the company has initiated a training program to ensure the best drilling and blasting practices are always applied. “We’re all in this safety-first mindset together,” shares Simoneau. “It’s brought us all very close and Manroc has a family atmosphere as a result. We are fortunate to have many longtime employees, some who have been with us since my father started the company and their knowledge and skills are irreplaceable.”

For Manroc Developments Inc., at the end of the day, it’s all about reaching the same goal: leading the way to safer and more productive mining.

Strategic Partnership(s): 
TD Bank (Thunder Bay)
Wilson Mining Products Inc.