Eagle Mapping are busy Lidar scanning the northern parts of B.C. and Yukon from the air.
Can you give us an overview of the company?
The company started 30 years ago, our main service for the mining industry is Lidar scanning from aircrafts. Before, our clients from the mining sector used to purchase our services before they started mine planning and the feasibility study phase, but now they are asking for our services before they put a foot on the ground. Geologists are increasingly looking at the attributes of the terrain from very early stages. Lidar is particularly useful in B.C., as most of its terrain is covered with vegetation. We have also done work in other countries such as Nicaragua, Guatemala and Colombia.
What challenges have you experienced in other jurisdictions?
In Colombia activity really depends on the government’s sentiment towards mining, therefore, the country has experienced several boom and bust cycles. We have not done any work in Colombia in over a year but mining is becoming more of a focus now. Canadian companies usually trust fellow companies to work abroad with them. It usually is a matter of trust and experience, and this benefits us. We have operated in other jurisdictions through local salesmen, and from our experience, trust and costs are the main things to consider when working abroad.
How did the company fare the mining downturn?
The last downturn was difficult. We had to lay off 10 of our employees. Before the downturn we used to do all the processing and mapping in-house but since we had to lay off half our staff, we had to purchase our own equipment, to do the work previously done by our team. This proved to be the right strategy to stay in business and also, we diversified into other sectors. Nowadays, forestry represents almost 60% of our business while before, mining used to represent from 70-80% of our business. If mining experiences a turnaround, it would be very beneficial for us. I do notice that we are getting more interest and proposals from mining companies, particularly from gold companies.
What areas of the province are experiencing increased interest from mining companies?
Activity has centered in the north of the province and even into Yukon and the Northwest Territories. Companies are looking for the next big mine and since most of the bottom half of the province is already thoroughly explored, attention has focused in the north. I think this trend will continue in the coming years.
Would you describe the Canadian market as saturated in your field?
There are numerous companies that do what we do. Canada has always been at the forefront of mapping, ever since the explorers of yesteryears. It is quite competitive although I would not call it saturated. There are many innovations such as drones that have gained attention but for the moment we are concentrating on wide area collection.