Rodren Drilling: Looking to the future

February 11, 2023

by Kevin Norberg, President at Rodren Drilling Ltd.

Rodren Drilling

Rodren Drilling (Rodren) was founded by Rod Cyr on June 23, 1977, in Canada with one drill rig and one crew. The mission was to provide the best diamond drilling contractor service in North America.

Over the 45 years since, Rodren Drilling has continuously strived to upgrade their equipment, train their staff, work with a safety-first attitude, and grow responsibly in order to listen to, match and exceed the expectations of clients. The company built a fleet of 20 drills and 150 employees and countless successful projects throughout Canada and abroad.

The 45th anniversary of Rodren Drilling in 2022, was marked by a large event so that all suppliers, friends and industry people could celebrate at the Assiniboia Downs Racetrack in Winnipeg, Canada. Last year also marked another significant achievement: the completion of a 2610 m (8563 ft) deep hole. With the company’s founder Rod Cyr retiring, Kevin Norberg was appointed president in order to create a vision for the next 45 years of business focusing on adding new services and strategic partners, new staff and reformed cultures, and expanding Rodren Drilling’s fleet with new drills, trucks, and support equipment and certainly new contracts.

Rod Cyr and family
Rod Cyr and family on the 45th anniversary of Rodren Drilling

With new leadership, growing team, vision, and culture, Rodren Drilling is ready to tackle anything the future has to offer!

Services, capabilities and customized solutions

Rodren Drilling is growing internally with both the addition of drill rigs as well as growth and diversity via strategic partnerships. The company has added many services to its menu via a very valuable partnership with Earth Drilling, based in Calgary, as well as Fasdrill Directional Services, a Calgary-based directional drilling firm. Rodren has supportive relationships with both companies allowing to offer nearly every drilling service available under its brand and it is currently negotiating other potential partnerships to expand its reach to better cover Canada’s Eastern regions.

Additionally, Rodren has strategic partners in all corners of the industry – fixed wing aircraft, bulk fuel, rotary aircraft, camps, logistics, land freight, drilling services, geotechnical drilling, directional drilling and supply chain management.

Rodren Drilling offers the following specialized services:

  • Surface diamond drilling;
  • Remote/arctic/permafrost/deep holes/deep overburden;
  • Helicopter-supported drilling;
  • Ice-based drilling and construction;
  • Underground drilling;
  • Environmental and Geotechnical drilling;
  • Barge drilling;
  • Mud Motor Directional steering and drilling (GWD Drilling Technology).

Regions of interest

Rodren Drilling enjoys a large number of clients and partners around the world and has provided the services needed with pristine quality. The new additions to the team at Rodren Drilling in 2022 bring a fresh outlook to a legendary and prosperous name in the diamond drilling industry.

The management team has diversified its client base and geographical footprint in the past twelve months and has added work in the US, based out of Nevada, Arizona and California. Rodren’s mission to work their home province of Manitoba has been successful. The company has mobilized their first underground rig and has increased their volume in the Canadian province to up to ten drills.


Rodren Drilling has completed various projects for its most valuable clients: Qulliq Energy Corp, Callinex, Hudbay, 1911 Gold, New Age Metals, International Lithium, CNRI, RESPEC, Q Gold, First Mining, Sinomine, Trillium Gold and many more to come in the future.

Rodren’s work in Baker Lake was completed for a client and involved a specific scope of work. The assignment was to mobilize an aircraft-portable diamond drill rig to Baker Lake from Winnipeg on short notice to drill a 600 m (1969 ft) permafrost borehole and install a specialized instrument to collect temperature data from the rock formation. The work was to be done in the summer originally, but due to permit delays, it was pushed to November.

This involved packing a complete drill package, trucking to Yellowknife and loading into a Lockheed L188 Electra aircraft and mobilize to Baker Lake in early November in absolutely terrible weather conditions.

The crew was mobilized to move all of the gear to the pad where they executed the plan. Drill the borehole, install the instrumentation and make it home before Christmas which they did as if it was easy.

The project was done within the timeline, the cost was completed within a few thousand of the budgetary estimates and the crew was able to pack up and make it home for Christmas.

Barge sonic drilling
A joint venture between Rodren Drilling and Earth Drilling – barge sonic drilling

Barge drilling

Barge drilling enables drilling under a body of water by setting up a barge to support the rig on top of the water. The benefits of drilling on a barge are that it is more predictable than ice drilling, it is cost-effective, flexible and more time efficient, as the barge is simply moved to a new location without the hassle of preparing the site or using fly transport.

Rodren has always been known as the go-to contractor for specialized projects that involve barge and ice drilling for both exploration as well as geotechnical and specialized drilling assignments.

The company’s barge was mobilized to the drilling site, and a partner’s sonic drill was placed on the platform. The drilling teams were able to achieve the clients’ goals while maintaining an eco-friendly and safe work environment.

In 2022, Rodren was brought into a project with its one-of-a-kind EF 100 rig to provide a drilling service that ended up evolving into an important specialized project requiring drilling down to depths well beyond 2500 m (8202 ft) with specialized environmental protocols to meet and exceed permit requirements. The crews were up to the challenge and acted in accordance with the required protocols with ease.

Drill fleet

Rodren Drilling has made a commitment to overhaul its entire fleet in 2022 which was done in-house with the exception of one drill that was completed by Perfect Performance based in Cooks Creek Manitoba. Currently, Rodren’s fleet consists of over 20 drill rigs, which can tackle a range of depths, techniques, and terrains:

  • DDM EF-50
  • DDM EF-50 Fly
  • DDM EF-75
  • DDM EF-100
  • EF-75 Track Mount
  • Duralite 1800N Skid/Heli-portable
  • MPP Discovery 1
  • MPP Discovery 1.5
  • MPP Discovery 2
  • Epiroc U6 Deep Hole
  • Gus Pech Truck mount Sonic
  • Boart Longyear LS 600 Full size Sonic
  • Boart Longyear LS 250
  • Foremost DR24 Dual Rotary
  • TerraSonic TSI 150 Crawler Sonic
  • BBS Classics

The importance of a high-performance drilling team

In drilling, every team can be a high-performance team, yet very few actually are. At Rodren Drilling, one of the goals is to build such high-performance teams on every project and for every hole.

A high-performance team can be defined as a group of people with specific roles and complementary talents and skills, aligned with and committed to a common purpose, who consistently show high levels of collaboration and innovation, that produce superior results. The high-performance team is regarded as tight knit, focused on their goal and nothing else. Team members are so devoted to their purpose that they will surmount any barrier to achieving the team’s goals.

Within the high-performance team, people are highly-skilled and are able to interchange their roles. Also, leadership within the team is not vested in a single individual. Instead, the leadership role is taken up by various team members, according to the need at that moment in time. High-performance teams have robust methods of resolving conflict efficiently so that conflict does not become a roadblock to achieving the team’s goals. There is a sense of clear focus and intense energy within a high-performance team. Collectively, the team has its own consciousness, indicating shared norms and values within the team. It feels a strong sense of accountability for achieving their goals. Members display high levels of mutual trust toward each other.

To make this theory of a high-performance drilling team a reality, Rodren believes that people are the most important asset to the company and invests heavily in both physical and mental health.

Continuous training for all staff is another important aspect. Alongside the training and courses, company members have a mentor/leader to guide them toward their goals, personal and career growth, and upskilling.

The company has a well-rounded team from various backgrounds, bringing their unique knowledge and experience to every project. Team members come not only from drilling and mining but also from the sectors of oil and gas, heavy equipment, construction, engineering, and industrial procurement and industry sales. The wide diversity, paired with the training and mentorship, has brought multiple novel solutions to problems to each of Rodren Drilling’s projects.

In order to have high-performance drilling teams operate to the best of their abilities, the company believes that there should also be an all-star support team. To this end, Rodren Drilling has established an excellent support team of certified industrial mechanics, procurement specialists, welders, and hydraulic techs that can develop custom-tailored solutions for every project and do in-house R&D when needed. Furthermore, there are fully-fledged departments to deal with operations management, accounting, payroll, and accounts receivable, so drilling teams can focus on drilling and be absolutely certain that everything else has been taken care of.

Safety and environment

Culture is the number one driver to the Rodren Drillings approach to ensuring reduced risk of accident or environmental impact during projects. The company’s approach and slogan are tied to all of its Visible Felt Leadership training (visits by management to workplaces, create a platform for both management and employees to discuss daily safety challenges of the tasks at hand); we all judge ourselves on what we do when nobody is watching.

Rodren Drilling strives to have a transparent culture where all employees hold each other accountable regardless of position or title. The company stands by its values and sets boundaries where needed, so drillers do not take any unnecessary risks on behalf of clients and their own colleagues.

An equally important approach is when beginning a project – the entire company looks at all variables that teams may encounter in the process of obtaining and delivering the core samples to clients. They also look at the amount of equipment needed, the terrain.

Throughout Rodren Drilling’s history, safety and environmental responsibility have been paramount. The company takes great measures to ensure that crews are well-trained, equipped, and protected for every job they undertake. The Safety, Environment and Quality program ensures that all standards, be it clients’ or regulators’, are met and exceeded.

Rodren Drilling is COR Certificated with the Canadian Federation of Construction Safety Associations, which is recognized throughout the world.

The company has properly and thoroughly insured its equipment and practices a culture of safe drilling and proper resource documentation to ensure consistency. Their employees are insured and protected with well-documented health and safety practices, which include a full Environmental Impairment Liability policy, Bodily Injury, Property Damage, and Completed Operations.

Rodren holds weekly, monthly and large yearly meetings to continue to grow and change its viewpoint on the industry. Supervisors learn about the business aspect of diamond drilling and why the numbers are so important to continue a sustainable, profitable and respectful relationship with all industry partners. The saying in business holds true – ‘If you’re not profitable – your future is predictable.’

Community involvement

Rodren Drilling believes that it is essential to give back to the community. Especially, since much of the company’s operations are conducted in close proximity to indigenous ancestral lands. The company has provided travelling and registration support for the following local athletes, sports teams and events: Haylee Welwood, Team Manitoba 16U Girls 2023, North American Indigenous Games in Halifax NS, Basketball.

Rodren Drilling also attracted a lot of looks with Pinky – their pink drill EF-100 drill, which aims to make the drilling industry aware of Cancer Care. The slogan of the campaign is Drilling for a Cure.

Rodren Drilling is also a large supporter of the Manitoba Women in Mining chapter as well as the Manitoba Prospectors Development Association and the mineral sector of Manitoba in general. Recently, the company sponsored and provided instructors for training for indigenous workers looking to join the industry at the Manitoba Mineral Convention, and is also a sponsor of all association events, including the famous Reconciliation Gala, which allows guests to support promoting and advocating indigenous rights.

The company also holds several junior venture partnerships with the communities they operate in.

Rodren’s EF-100 drill ‘Pinky’,
Rodren’s EF-100 drill nicknamed ‘Pinky’, which aims to raise awareness for cancer care


‘From pre-planning to demobilization, Rodren upheld a professional focus on safety, commitment to minimizing environmental impacts, while maximizing production of clean accurate core. 1911 Gold was extremely satisfied with Rodren’s performance on our helicopter and land-based programs in 2022 and we look forward to new partnerships in the future,’ Devin Pickell, Chief Geologist, 1911 Gold Corporation.

‘What separates Rodren from others is their dedicated team that goes above and beyond in every measurable category to make our exploration campaigns a success. They have the necessary experience, work ethic, equipment and relationships to overcome any challenge that is inherent with executing in varying work conditions typical in exploration,’ Max Porterfield, President & CEO, Callinex Mines Inc.

‘Rodren has been great to work with so far. Both the knowledgeable drillers and up-to-date management systems have made our work together seamless,’ Aaryn Hutchins, Project Geologist, Tantalum Mining Corporation of Canada Ltd.

Future plans

The future looks bright for the drilling industry, Rodren’s staff, and partners as they move into a new age of exploration. Looking for critical and industrial metals, continuing to search for precious metals and adapting to new technologies and opportunities as they arise.

The company’s greatest motivation is to grow its workforce from within, cross-train its people and grow their skillsets, continue to add strategic partnerships and grow a specialized workforce that can look for opportunities, should they wish, within the healthy and transparent group of companies.

Rodren Drilling aims to continue to support the drilling sector and secure its future and people for at least another 45 years.

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Read Issue 22 here:

Issue 22 / 2023