McKay Drilling: bringing innovation and new technology to the mining sector
In 1990, Mark McKay formed McKay Drilling to provide high-end specialized drilling services to Western Australia exploration and mining industries. Today, with state-of-the-art drilling rigs established from Brazil to the Pilbara region, McKay Drilling continues its dedication to bringing innovation and new technology to the mining sector.
The McKay difference
What makes McKay Drilling a supplier of choice for Australia’s major mining houses? The company’s willingness and ability to invest in new ideas and technology, with the goals of improving both productivity and workplace safety. This is a desirable trait in any supplier, especially one in a section of the industry where change tends to come slowly.
“There’s quite a lot of innovation going on throughout the whole business, from small changes to the master changes in the drill rigs,” says McKay Drilling General Manager Brenton Wallace. Its latest fleet includes high-tech, hands-free drill rigs from Schramm Inc. and Boart Longyear that act as the ultimate in workplace safety.
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“The Boart LF350 drill totally changes the actual way of handling drill pipe,” explains Wallace. “It removes the operator, as well as the drill assistants, away from any interaction with pulling and running drill pipe in and out of the hole, from commencement of the hole to finish of the hole. The operator and the assistants don’t need to touch a drill pipe. It reduces potential for hand injuries, back strains, and any crushing or caught-between accidents that can take place on drill rigs.”
McKay backs up the capabilities of its rig fleet with a battery of ISO certifications including ISO-9001, ISO-14001, and ISO-18001, proving that its equipment is up to the highest Australian standards. With the impending acquisition of ISO-55001 certification, McKay Drilling will be among the first Australian companies to achieve fleet and maintenance certifications to operate both in Australia and overseas.
The agility to innovate
Innovation has been a core value at the heart of McKay Drilling since its inception. With a lifetime of drilling industry experience, founder and managing director Mark McKay is able to guide the business with a true insider’s perspective. Focusing on this value over the years has enabled McKay Drilling to increase safety and make a true difference within its niche.
“McKay was one of the first companies 20 years ago to put hands-free operations and rod loaders on their drill rigs,” says Wallace. “Mark McKay has continually strived to look at different technology that sets McKay Drilling apart from other drilling companies and changes to the way that we operate in the field.”
Keeping McKay Drilling privately owned and operated has allowed the company to stay agile and keep innovation a top priority.
“In corporate structures or multifaceted businesses, the ability to change direction or change the way that you operate is a bit slower,” Wallace explains. “We can be nimble and change direction very quickly as the market deems, whether there’s a boom or a recession, and if there is a requirement for new technology we can interact with it very quickly.”
Growing against the current
While the industry has faced a downturn, McKay Drilling has continued to find success through diversification of the services it offers clients. McKay has historically focused on reverse circulation drilling, but now the company has expanded to include diamond drilling and hydro drilling in its portfolio.
“We have invested $23 million in capital expansion in the last 12 months. We’ve taken the opportunity to expand in the downturn and be ready for any upswing in the market that may come in the next 12-18 months,” says Wallace, noting that the company has made both large investments into new drill rigs and smaller investments into safety and capability enhancements for existing drills.
The results of these investments are substantial: over the past year McKay Drilling has increased its staff from 45 to 142, and is on target to increase its number of drills from 14 to 22 by the first quarter of 2016, priming the company for whatever opportunities may lie ahead.
“It’s opened up the door for us to work for some blue chip clients, who are giving us an opportunity because of the reputation the business has for being focused on delivering,” says Wallace. “We’re branching into other areas systematically and at a steady pace, where we can control our expansion, but also bring new technology to the table as well.”
What does the future look like for McKay Drilling? Regardless of the state of the industry at large, the focus for McKay will be on growth, developing further relationships with junior and blue chip mining operations alike in Australia and Brazil.
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“The business is moving forward, with expansion and consolidating our business with a mixture of blue chip and exploration clients. We’re focusing on diversification so we don’t have all our eggs in one basket,” says Wallace. “Within the next 18 months we hope to grow to a 25 drill operation.”
But the company is not focused on growth alone—the key is controlled and steady growth while continuing to improve every stop of the way. “In the process of expanding, we are bringing the rest of our equipment up to the latest standards that are out there, to offer it to our clients,” he adds. “The aim is to reduce our exposure to injuries with the help of innovation and training our people.”
Net zero benefits the mining industry and the environment
How do we get the world to net-zero faster?
Emitwise’s founders, Mauro Cozzi, Eduardo Gómez and Ben Peddie, approached a network of more than 100 of the world's largest enterprises and asked their CEOs, CFOs, and sustainability managers the big question: How do we get the world to net-zero faster? The challenge many shared was the lack of timely and accurate emissions data to enable strategic decisions. Companies often relied on annual audits of their carbon footprint for carbon accounting purposes. However, static yearly results were outdated upon publishing.
Emitwise saves companies an average of 260 working days a year by automating their scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions data. With the added benefits of clean audit trails and auto-populated accounting reports in line with GHG Protocol, all at the click of a button. Their easy to use solution enables businesses to quickly identify the carbon hotspots to target, and the precise real-time data empowers teams to remain agile and respond effectively, making achieving those goals possible.
Unique AI Technology
Emitwise’s unique AI technology empowers businesses to automatically measure, report and reduce their carbon footprint across their operations and supply chain, future-proofing companies for a zero-carbon world. It is the only solution that enables companies to fully automate their carbon accounting across all business units and suppliers, therefore liberating them from the drudgery of collecting and processing emissions data.
By using artificial intelligence to precisely measure emissions in real-time, businesses can identify and tackle carbon hotspots swiftly, enabling them to devise a trackable roadmap to net-zero carbon. At the same time, accurate audit trails and auto-populated annual reports ensure that companies comply with international reporting requirements, and align businesses with global climate targets to mitigate risk across their operations and supply chain.
The Oren Marketplace
Environmental management, social license to operate, safety, renewable energy to lower emissions and operational efficiency for mining can be supported by a range of digital solutions enabling dynamic operations. To address these issues, Shell and IBM joined forces to create the Oren Marketplace – the first B2B solutions platform for the mining sector.
With the adoption of many of the digital solutions offered through Oren, mining companies can adapt in real-time to risks or adjust plans ahead of a problem occurring. The goal is a shift towards proactive management as the optimal outcome for all stakeholders – community, shareholders, and employees.
Emitwise was founded with the goal of helping industries across all sectors reduce their carbon footprint. Similarly, Shell aims to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, or sooner, in step with society and its customers. And Oren is focused on offering innovative products and services that can help mining companies track and reduce their emissions.
“Oren is the starting point for how we help our mining customers to de-carbonise,” explains Carol Chen, Global Lubricants Marketing, Vice President, Shell. “It’s our ambition to work with sectors like mining to help them find their own pathway to net-zero emissions through collaboration. The Oren marketplace offers a great opportunity for collaboration between the miners and technology companies that are joining this digital marketplace.”
Emitwise will be showcasing its vision for a net-zero future live from Lisbon at this year’s Web Summit. Bringing together the people and companies redefining the global tech industry, the online event welcomes 100,000+ attendees from around the world to hear from more than 800 speakers and view offerings from 2,500 startups covering a vast range of topics from Data Science and Climate Change to AI and Machine Learning. To find out more and book your ticket visit
Emitwise is one of many solutions providers on the Oren platform seeking to address the pain points and environmental concerns of heavy industries like mining. To discover a range of solutions that can further support your operation’s digital transformation and commitment to sustainability, visit the