Advancing the Future of Mining
Ontario-based NSS Canada, a provider of reliable, accurate and innovative survey equipment solutions for the mining and other sectors, is set to expand its business, offering smart technologies that improve safety and efficiency.
While mining companies have been slow to consider how digital transformation might alter the future of work, Covid-19 has pushed them to evolve their way of thinking. As the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel seems to appear in the distance, mining leaders have an opportunity to avoid falling back into conventional ways of working. Instead, they can chart a new path and embed recent changes in their work processes, adapting the mining workplace culture, and creating an enhanced workforce experience.
This is a time when companies like NSS Canada come to the forefront to accelerate the process, offering technologies that increase safety, accuracy, and efficiency. As an authorized Leica Geosystems reseller, NSS Canada offers a wide range including Global Satellite Navigation Systems (GNSS), Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Total Stations, GeoMos Automatic Deformation Monitoring Systems, High Definition (HDS) Laser Scanners, SmartNet RTK Corrections, and a full line of Machine Control construction positioning products for excavating, grading, and paving applications.
Some of NSS Canada’s technology in use
The company is also a proud Authorized Reseller of the Hexagon Mining Portfolio, offering a wide range of mining solutions of this global leader in sensor, software, and autonomous solutions. More recently, NSS partnered with Exyn Technologies, a pioneer in autonomous aerial robot systems for complex, GPS-denied environments, setting the industry standard for highspeed map post-processing.
Three decades of growth
Expertise and experience form the basis of the company’s success. The company founder, Marty Warkentin, who set up the business in 1989, has been directly involved in the world of surveying for over 30 years. Starting from scratch, he established the company as a Leica reseller, gradually growing the business, focussing on cutting-edge technology, and forging lasting partnerships with industry leaders.
Last year, the founder decided to step down, passing the role of company president to Bruno Lalonde to further build and develop his legacy and intensify the push into new sectors, while looking at new strategic partnerships.
A task that Bruno, who joined the company a few years ago with the aspiration to take the business to the next level, has taken up with all seriousness – under this management, the company has expanded and reinforced its position in the construction sector, looking at different ways to diversify its offering. Bruno Lalonde says: “Marty established the business as we are today. It was his hard work, efforts and dedication that has made NSS a familiar name in any mining operation across Canada. He has set me up for success. We have expanded the business and it is fair to say that I would have never been able to do it by myself, without our great people.”
One of NSS Canada’s Leica MS60s in use
Miner operating Exyn industrial drone
Exyn industrial drone, available from NSS Canada
Leica MS60, available from NSS Canada
Partnerships have been key for the company’s development and exposure in the market. Following the partnership with Leica and Hexagon Mining, specialists in integrated accurate measurement solutions with proven technologies for planning, operations, and safety, came along to open new horizons and enable the company to offer new mining package solutions. Next came the push to augmented and virtual reality, the one last piece that was missing in moving the company forward. “Doing underground surveys, the traditional way is extremely risky. So, it would make sense that our next partnership would focus on autonomous operation. That’s how we started with Exyn. Our mutual dedication to safety and innovation through technology is why we believe this is the perfect partnership, ” says Bruno Lalonde.
He further explains that today, NSS Canada’s best solution for underground mining is their in-house developed software, MOSS (Miner Operated Survey System). “We’ve been assisting underground mining operations to achieve safety and productivity gains by adapting and embracing this new technology. Together with the Hexagon Mining Portfolio, MOSS is a complete underground solution, providing accuracy and efficiency for the operations, engineering, and geology departments at a mine, providing real-time feedback to all departments.”
The MOSS software that is now used by most of NSS’s clients supports a wide range of Leica robotic total stations, including the state-of-theart MS60 Multi Station. Rather than have a surveyor go underground after each freshly blasted round, MOSS completes the survey pick-up during the mark-up process performed by the miner.
Employer of choice
With MOSS proven to save mining companies millions of dollars with a very quick return on investment, as well as improve worker satisfaction, the system is an obvious choice for surveying technology.
However, it is not just the technology that carries the company forward but, above all, its human resources. NSS today employs around 30 individuals, 20 of whom work in the engineering department. While recruiting young talent is not easy, Bruno Lalonde affirms that NSS has no problem in attracting the right calibre, as the company makes an effort to enable them to grow.
“It might sound like a cliché, but when I say someone becomes part of the NSS family, I mean it. My goal is to build the business and the people around me. To get the best out of an individual you want to help them be the best version of themselves.”
“Ultimately, NSS Canada wants to be an employer of choice. I want a line-up of people hoping to get a job here, and professionals going out into the world after their time with us who are proud to say they worked here, and who are sought after because they demonstrate the personal and professional development we helped foster.”
Hexagon’s Operator Alertness System, available from NSS Canada
The way forward
Speaking about the future, Bruno reveals that the company is now working on new partnerships that will allow NSS to drive into new sectors. “The technology that we have been promoting for the last 30 years can meet the needs of other specialists, for example, architects. This is one of the directions I want to push for the business.”
Geographical expansion is also planned, with MOSS being a truly global product. NSS has just broken into Brazil, already has a footprint in Mexico and is looking to approach Australia next year. Pre-Covid, the company defined aggressive plans for new market penetrations, and right now is in the process of creating some new partnerships that would facilitate the next stage of business development.
“One perk of Covid-19, if one may say so, is that it has allowed the mining industry to understand that it needs to adapt the technology, especially for underground mining. The pandemic has pushed the sector to accept these new technologies that bring better efficiency, improve communications across the board, to get the information that is essential for decision-making.”
In line with this development, NSS has been on a great trajectory over the last two years, growing faster than ever before. “Any type of a pandemic or any difficult situation in the world is always the best time to look inward, to improve and re-focus. A time for business transformation for the better. With our technologies, we want to facilitate that process,” concludes Bruno Lalonde.
Read the full Business Enquirer article here: https://issuu.com/businessenquirer/docs/businessenquirer_issue105_issuu