IOS Services Géoscientifiques (IOS) is a consulting group with a geological perspective, dedicated to servicing the mineral exploration industry in eastern Canada. It has been named Québec’s Best Geological Consultancy 2023, following which we have taken a closer look at what the company does.
IOS Services Géoscientifiques is a firm that has been active for 31 years, during which time it has been involved in more than 1700 mineral exploration projects, both in Québec, Canada, and abroad. It has authored almost 2000 reports, and currently employs approximately 70 members of staff. It provides a wide variety of services, most dominantly to mineral exploration companies, including a majority of the multinational mining groups, some governments, and many large engineering firms. The services it conducts include regular professional consulting for property evaluation or exploration strategy. It also oversees fieldwork operations such as mapping, prospecting, sampling, and drill management, as do most other geological consulting groups.
However, IOS differs from other consulting groups through its true independence, its culture, and the use of its own laboratory and logistical team. This means it can support any remote operation in Eastern or Northern Canada with services such as permitting, camp construction, and expediting as well as highly technical consulting. Its well-regarded laboratory offers panoply of innovative proprietary mineral analysis techniques, and currently processes samples from all around the world.
IOS is rigorously independent from its clients, which is critical in an industry where conflicts of interest are common and could put traders or shareholders into sticky situations. IOS has a core value of integrity, and keeps well away from such matters. It sees its first consideration as being that of protecting the public, the investor, and the client. It does not make its money at promoting investments or at detriment of stakeholders, such as local communities, future generations, or investors, but through efficiency and long-term vision. It has a duty to safeguard, and as such, the relationships it maintains with long-term clients are based on the trustful reputation it has built.
IOS is innovative in its managerial approach and in its technological solutions. It offers a true one-stop shop for turnkey services, from targeting to reporting, and is viewed as a fast-track for foreign mining companies who wish to invest in Québec. Combined with its independence, this has turned out to be a winning strategy, and one which the competition is currently scrambling to copy. Similarly, on the technological standpoint, the broad experience of IOS has led to the development of an array of applications in quantitative mineralogy, pulling it further into the global arena, where it has earned a reputation as a gamechanger in the Canadian mineral exploration landscape.
“We built our reputation on bringing out-of-the-box solutions to long-standing problems. And to do so, we needed to promote a culture of resourcefulness and eccentricity. Do not look at what the others are doing, just look beyond the problem and dare to try.”
In recent years, IOS has been well regarded and closely watched owing to its development and commercialisation of a range of quantitative mineral analyses technologies. These were adopted by a number of multinational mining groups, and are based on the concept that minerals which form within the vicinity of a mineralised body are distinctive from those formed in un-mineralised environments. The capacity to detect such minerals dispersed in sediments or soils can therefore be used as a predictor of the presence of such a mineralised body. The basic concept has been in use for many years, using conventional but artisanal techniques, for instance in the search for diamonds. But IOS has brought the concept to a superior level through automation of the procedure, reducing the cost, improving the reliability, lowering the detection limits, and multiplying the applications.
These technologies were complex to develop, costly to implement, and required the input of multiple experts over the years. This means it will take a while before competitors are up to speed. Still, IOS is not resting on its laurels and continues to develop applications, ready for the next big concept to hit. Using electron diffraction for detecting lithium mineral is its last hit. The mineralogy technologies were first developed as an exploration tool to detect the ‘indicator minerals’ in sediments. Now IOS is developing a way applying such to characterize the cause of geochemical anomalies, and has begun working on a means to circumvent the nugget effect in gold deposit evaluation. IOS currently works on licensing its proprietary technologies to select third parties. This will be a way to tap other markets, and pursue deployment without straining its own financial and human resources. Presently, it is still the only group capable of mass production in regard of automated mineralogy tailored for exploration, so the market is for grab!
IOS was until recently a family-owned business, now in the process of transferring ownership and passion to its employees after a management buyout. During such transition, it is imperative that resources are kept available for development, and that innovation pipeline continues to flow. The successful business culture must be perpetuated. IOS has a business principle to be authentic, caring, and always ready to face the barricades. It sees leadership not as a matter of convincing others, but of inspiring them. And this inspiration should come from a person’s façon d’être or, simply put, way of being. These are the values IOS feels are important enough to encourage people to follow. So it will not change these core values to attract clients or talents! After all, in business you either copy the competition, or get copied. It says a lot that the competitors are trying to copy the IOS model, which is an honor!
Good leaders are something that help to attract both clients and partners who share the company values. This makes work a pleasure, not a chore. The industry is currently red-hot in Québec due to it experiencing a critical metal frenzy. Having a strong business culture, IOS succeeded to attract talents. Compounded with new technologies that are disruptive and fulfilling a real demand, it can capitalise on maintaining its dominant position in the market for a while.
As Québec’s Best Geological Consultancy 2023, IOS Services Géoscientifiques Inc is finding itself much in demand, as discoveries by clients are piling up. But then again, this is the kind of remarkable thing to be expected when you change the rules of the game!
For further information, please contact Réjean Girard or visit www.iosgeo.com