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Solutions-Based Drilling & Blasting

Providing solutions is at the core of what M-Roc, a family-owned Ottawa-based drilling and blasting company, offers for its local, national, and international client base. What started as a small-scale construction drilling and blasting company doing local projects for residential and commercial clients in and around Canada’s capital city has since expanded to major construction, mining and industrial operations, making it a top choice in the country and beyond for clients seeking top-quality solutions with an engineering approach.

Today, the team of over 100 employees keeps busy with a myriad of mining, quarrying, condominium excavation, site development, and pre-drilling projects. However, the company’s rapid evolution and growth can be traced back to 2016, when current President and owner Jeff Corace, a Mechanical Engineer by schooling, took the helm. Eight years later and the company is celebrating 25 years in business and showing no signs of slowing down. “When I joined, I was operating a company that was really, really good at doing these smaller-scale projects. I knew we could adapt our skills, expertise, and attention-to-detail to large-scale projects,” says Corace.

Corace’s first major project would take the company to the next level. It was a nearly two-year long project in northern Ontario. The team was tasked with drilling and blasting almost 2,000,000 cubic meters of rock through some of the toughest terrain in Ontario. “We performed exceptionally,” he says, recalling how this success made him realize there were other voids in the industry that M-Roc could fill. “There was this hole in the industry for really solid drill blast companies run by professionals that want to truly help their clients achieve project success.”

To-date, over 500 projects have been completed since incorporating in 1999, including some of the most prominent and complex drilling/blasting projects in the country. Led by an engineer with over 20 years of experience, drilling and blasting designs are created internally with a specific focus on protecting highly sensitive structures, environmentally restrictive areas, and underground services adjacent to the drilling/blasting operations and ensuring high quality drilling performance and rock fragmentation. Completed projects on the company’s resume include mine drilling and blasting, trench excavation, quarrying, deep excavations, shaft sinking, forced roads, and right-of-way development.

M-Roc owes its success to its simple ethos: a subcontractor should work with its clients to figure out their needs and deliver a meaningful drilling and blasting solution. Corace spends a significant amount of time networking with individuals all over the world, landing projects through meaningful conversations with people who are looking for a better way to do conduct their drilling and blasting activities. “My main job at this company is networking and procuring new business. I talk to people from Victoria, BC to St. John’s Newfoundland, every single day trying to keep my finger on the pulse of this great industry.”

This immersion in the industry and networking provided a strong foundation for M-Roc as it weathered the challenging years of COVID-19. Looking back, these challenges ended up being a big boost for the construction industry. Corace, now President, and his General Manager, Andrew Bell, transitioned a company from paper to digital and put online architecture in place that allowed M-Roc operations to be uninhibited during these challenging times. Supply chain issues were widespread, and Corace and his team had to make a decision: invest additional money in order to accumulate parts and products or sit back and wait with the possibility of projects shutting down. Thankfully, it chose the former and started placing large orders, stocking its warehouse with materials it anticipated needing. This enabled the company to continue running without missing a beat, coming out of the nearly three and a half years of the pandemic relatively unscathed. Since then, operations have expanded beyond borders, with three high profile projects happening across the country and beyond.

Qaqortoq Airport Project

Location: South Coast of Greenland.
Objective: To enhance connectivity and infrastructure in response to increasing tourism and travel.
Scope: Drill and blast over 2,000,000m3 of rock for a future airport and runway to better connect the local community of Qaqortoq.
Challenges: Logistical difficulties due to remote location, long lead times for parts, and extreme environmental conditions.
Success Factors: Exceptional organization, adaptability, and dedication of the project team.
Achievements: Completion of the largest blast in the history of Greenland, establishing a strong reputation in the region.
Future Outlook: Continued presence and involvement in Greenland, with potential for further expansion and collaboration with local authorities.

Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project

Location: Coquihalla Summit to Abbotsford, BC
Objective: Twinning an existing pipeline, facing engineering challenges and environmental restrictions.
Scope: Drilling and blasting along the pipeline route, working with multiple general contractors.
Challenges: Stringent fly rock, environmental, pollution, and vibration restrictions during blasting.
Success Factors: Adherence to regulations, meticulous planning, and collaboration with contractors.
Achievements: Completion of the project without any negative impacts or violations, showcasing engineering prowess.
Future Outlook: Potential for further involvement in pipeline projects, maintaining partnerships with major general contractors.

Mining Expansion Project

Location: Ontario & Newfoundland and Labrador
Objective: Diversification into mining amid economic uncertainty, recognizing the long-term potential of the industry.
Scope: Engaging in gold mining in Northern Ontario and partnering with Iron City Services for mining operations in and around Labrador City, NL.
Challenges: Successfully running 24 hour a day 365 day a year drilling and blasting campaigns in remote locations.
Success Factors: Identifying the strategic importance of mining, establishing partnerships with key industry players, and showcasing expertise in large-scale contracts.
Achievements: Securing contracts for multiple mining projects and building a reputation for quality and reliability.
Future Outlook: Anticipated growth in mining projects, with a focus on maintaining high standards and expanding the company’s presence in the industry.

As a means to further prioritize sustainability and safety through its business operations, M-Roc is also a completely digital company and 100% paperless. The administrative team led by Corace’s wife Amanda, and consisting of four people, work in the Ottawa headquarters, while everyone else operates entirely remotely. “We’re a country wide roving fleet of personnel and equipment,” Corace says. This remote way of working is made seamless through the use of Ottawa-based Corfix, a documentation management software company specifically designed for construction companies. “They have revolutionized how we are able to take information from the field and bring it back to the office,” says Corace.
M-Roc has also started down the path to achieve COR® certification, achieved through the successful completion of three steps: completion of required training, implementation of your safety and health program, and verification by IHSA that the COR® standards are met, a testament to the company’s focus on safety.

For M-Roc, the future involves growing its presence across Canada and increasing its work on the international stage. It is investing heavily in its mining work, with the goal of becoming a major player on the mining side for all small to large diameter drilling. “Our success over the last 25 years comes from sheer dedication, tenacity and enjoyment of what we do,” says Corace. The next 25 years will include much more of the same.

If you are looking for a different approach to drilling or blasting services, check out M-Roc’s website and either fill out a contact form or just give Jeff a call, to experience the difference M-Roc can make.

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