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New mining geophysics firm sets up shop in Sudbury

Being located in the 'Canada's mining centre' prompted move north for Wireline Services Group (Canada)

Wireline Services Group (WSG) got its start more than 20 years ago working in the historic Kambalda nickel and gold mining region of Western Australia.

Now the Perth-headquartered mining tech company has established a firm foothold in Canada’s preeminent nickel mining camp.

The geophysics company recently moved into a spacious 7,500-square-foot office and shop on Valleyview Road in Val Caron last month, hiring two locals and transplanting two others from Toronto.

“It’s the mining centre of Canada,” said CEO Joe Dwyer, when asked what prompted the move north from Toronto. “Everyone calls Sudbury the birthplace of nickel.”

From Sudbury, they’ll be servicing all of their Canadian clients, under the banner of PanPacific Wireline Services Inc. and trading as Wireline Services Group (Canada).

The move to Sudbury was really a no-brainer. One of their clients is Vale, all the more reason to move their services to the Nickel City.

The company’s bread and butter work is subsurface boreline geophysics and surface geophysics, mainly for mine exploration and development. Basically, they provide various advanced technical solutions for mining companies to better understand the geological makeup of ore bodies. 

Started by founder and Executive Chairman Matt Mayne in 1995, the outfit has been in Canada for 10 years, the first six in Montreal and last four in Scarborough, steadily building a Canadian client base stretching from British Columbia, to Yukon, and all the way east to Labrador. 

Dwyer said they’re looking to add four to six more people to the staff, particularly geophysicists and field technicians.

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The impetus to make the move occurred around the time of last June’s PDAC mining conference when Dwyer and Mayne mulled over a change in location.

“We thought, why aren’t we in Sudbury? It’s so obvious, we’ve spent pre-COVID and COVID battling to do business in Scarborough where we have no mining connection. Sudbury, why not?”

Scott Rennie, a business development officer with the City of Greater Sudbury helped finalized their decision in July, he said.

“We closed the lease there and found this property here,” said Dwyer.

WSG’s arrival is part of a growing trend of Australian investment in Northern Ontario, ranging from exploration plays in the northwest, to the acquisition of a major mining complex in Red Lake, and more recently, Wyloo Metals’ entry into the untapped Ring of Fire with the pickup of Noront Resources (since renamed Ring of Fire Metals).

Lately, Australian mining suppliers have followed in their wake, recently landing in Sudbury to scope out possible partnership opportunities with area industrial suppliers. 

One of WSG’s largest clients back home is Fortescue Metals Group, the Western Australian iron ore company owned by mining magnate Andrew Forrest, who’s Tattarang private investment group runs Wyloo. 

“We do predominately all of their blast hole geophysics for that company,” said Dwyer.

Dwyer describes business as being “very buoyant” for the last year. 

The market and governments are very attuned to the critical minerals pathway, which spells great news in the demand for the application of geophysics as a means to fast-track new discoveries, he said.

Their arrival brings more competition of the mining service and supply scene but based on on client feedback, Dwyer said there’s more than enough work to go around.

“From what we’ve been told by customers, there is more demand than what can be supplied and, equally, they’re very interested in new ways of doing things. 

“We’ve got different techniques that we can apply from all of our work throughout Australia and elsewhere .that we can come in and talk to the client and find something that’s different from the stock standard (approach) and help them fast track their discovery.”