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Wahgoshig Resources Inc. Expands Mining and Exploration Services

Dec 4, 2023

For some, Wahgoshig Resources Inc.’s (WRI) purchase of the long-established Peter Bodick Trucking in May 2023 came out of the blue. Sean McEachern, Mining Director at WRI, said that some customers were nervous initially about the 40-year-old company changing hands. That nervousness disappeared within six months, he said.


WRI Sean Pic
Sean McEachern, Mining Director at WRI

“Business is booming. This past week, I could have used double the trucks and drivers I have right now,” McEachern said in October. “We’ve maintained the company’s reputation and even built a better one with some, based on the feedback we’re getting.”

That’s thanks to several customer service improvements, McEachern said. After rebranding to Apitipi Anicinapek Trucking Ltd. (AAT), the company streamlined backend operations including automating scheduling and creating a digital e-signature system to speed up ordering.

“It was still carbon copies and running around to get signatures. We set up a system for e-signatures and streamlined our filing and scheduling to make them more efficient,” McEachern said. “They’re all small improvements, but they’ve had a huge impact. Now, customers can get their order within the week rather than waiting a month.”

The acquisition also put WRI on the radar for many in the mining industry. Up to that point, WRI had quietly built a localized reputation for itself. Originally, the aim of this economic development arm of Apitipi Anicinapek Nation (AAN, formerly Wahgoshig First Nation) was to assist exploration and other companies who wanted to do business on the First Nation’s Traditional Territory.


Black Diamond pic


But with the purchase of such a prominent Kirkland Lake trucking company, WRI is clearly expanding its catchment area – and its footprint in the industry.

The trucking company mostly hauls sand, gravel, and aggregates from its pit to industrial customers including Aginco Eagle’s Macassa mine in Kirkland Lake as well as small and mid-sized commercial clients. Currently their service area is primarily the Kirkland Lake area with some expansion up the corridor to Matheson, Ont. and AAN, located just east and north of Matheson along Highway 101. That service region could grow in the near future. Its list of services for the mining industry could too, including ore haulage and related logistics.

WRI General Manager Francis Archibald said that adding the trucking company to the portfolio made good business sense for the community and for the company’s growth. According to its website, WRI’s Mission is to “identify, develop, and maximize business opportunities and partnerships that grow individuals, our culture, and our community.”

“We are always looking for pathways to economic growth, inside the community and out,” Archibald said. “Not only does purchasing an established trucking company make sense from an economic perspective, it complements our other businesses as well.”

WRI operates two other companies: Black Diamond Drilling and Black Diamond Forestry, both of which are also growing in size and scope.


Black Diamond Drilling Building Its Own Reputation – “We Always Reach the Bottom of the Hole”

WRI initially launched Black Diamond Drilling to assist with mining exploration such as at McEwen’s Black Fox mine. Partnerships have been the cornerstone of Black Diamond’s success so far, including joint ventures with Major Drilling and Redpath. WRI’s partnership with Major Drilling is so strong that they have a lease agreement for when they need more drills. That helps them scale services without risking huge investments in equipment.
That hasn’t stopped Black Diamond Drilling from building its own assets though. After a purchase in January 2023, the company now has three of its own drills. It has since landed other drilling projects including one for Alamos Gold and has leads for others in the area.
Archibald said that Black Diamond Drilling offers several advantages for potential customers.
“One of our biggest selling points is our safety record and commitment to our safety policies,” he said. “We feel that first and foremost, that’s what separates us from a lot of the other companies.”
Stability is another strength. Although Black Diamond Drilling is a smaller operation, it is part of the larger, community-owned WRI. The company is in it for the long term.
But the company is also building a reputation for getting the job done, on time and on budget.
“Wherever we go, we always reach the bottom of the hole,” Archibald said.
WRI’s Black Diamond Forestry is also growing. It initially formed to haul timber on its Traditional Territory but now has partnered with Rosko Forestry Operations in Kirkland Lake to produce dimensional lumber at its sawmill.


“Everything is Growth”

WRI’s success and growth comes down to customer service, Archibald said. McEachern added that many customers ask for AAT drivers by name because of the positive experiences they’ve had with them. Likewise, Black Diamond Drilling goes the extra metre to keep its clients happy. In one case, they were able to deliver core samples on time with two drills on a project that by all rights should have had three. Of course, that’s not guaranteed to happen every time. But it shows WRI’s commitment to the project – and its customers.
Both Archibald and McEachern say that controlled growth is the path for WRI’s success.
“We’re financially stable,” Archibald said. “The way we manage our finances puts us in a different stratosphere than others. We pay our bills on time, and we pay our guys. Those are the two most important things.”


This article first appeared in the Northern Mining Report, Mining Life Magazine. To get your digital copy click on the front cover below.

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