Moncton’s Major Drilling Well-Positioned For Electric Vehicle Boom, CEO Says


MONCTON – Copper could make up more than 25 percent of what Major Drilling Group International Inc. (TSE: MDI) usually drills for, as a move towards a greener economy means more electric vehicles that need almost four times more copper than gasoline-powered cars, says the CEO of the Moncton-headquartered provider of specialized drilling services for mining and mineral exploration companies.

“There is a lot of push for the green economy, and that’s going to need a lot of copper [for] all the electric cars, everything that has a battery, electric buses,” said Denis Larocque in a recent interview with Huddle. “We see ourselves very well-positioned to take advantage of that.”

A fully electric car has around 80 kg of copper in it, compared to 40 kg for a hybrid car and 20 kg for an average gasoline-powered car. That’s aside from the copper that would be needed in the charging stations.

Major Drilling also drills for lithium, cobalt and other metals that go into batteries needed for electric vehicles, though 50 percent of its work still comes from gold.

“By default, the copper, nickel, lithium – we’re going to have to do a lot more. We’re prepared for that,” Larocque said. “There’s no difference between the way we drill a gold deposit versus a copper deposit. So we’re prepared for growth.”

It remains to be seen how quickly electric vehicles will be adopted in the market. The International Energy Alliance predicted in 2020 that the global electric vehicle stock would grow from a few million today to between 140 million and 245 million by 2030, depending on which international environmental standard countries follow.

Many countries are also investing in infrastructure that includes electric transportation, Larocque noted.

“So we feel that probably later in this year, in 2021, copper is probably going to be adding to this equation. I mean, it remains to be seen, but certainly, the signs are pointing towards that,” he said.

Major Drilling is a public company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Established in 1980, it has field operations in Canada, U.S., Mexico, South America, Asia, Africa and Europe. On Monday, the company’s market cap stood at more than $581-million with a share price of $7.21 at opening. It’s risen steadily since dipping under $2.50 at the beginning of the pandemic.

Overall, company revenues are on the way up. Major Drilling posted $114.2-million in revenue for its second quarter of fiscal year 2021, a 28 percent increase from the previous quarter, thanks to increasing gold drilling activity.