Mr. Rejean Girard is the co-founder and CEO of IOS Services Geoscientifiques Inc. He began his journey as a student 40 years ago, graduating as a professional geologist from Laval University in 1985. Through his long journey in the mining industry, Mr. Girard has become the renowned author of over 1,700 technical reports and over 15 scientific publications. He has lectured in excess of 50 talks at conventions and symposia.
Today, IOS Services Geoscientifiques has become a leader in geological surveys and mineral exploration worldwide.
Mr. Girard co-founded IOS Services Geoscientifiques in 1992. It started with a group of graduate students to create local employment for skilled geologists and other mining professionals. Since 1997, Mr. Girard has been the company’s sole owner and has led IOS Services Geoscientifiques through the rugged landscape of the mineral exploration industry.
Thanks to his incredible leadership and technical know-how, the company was able to strive through four stock-market crashes. Today, IOS Services Geoscientifiques employs more than 70 and offers specialized services to the mineral exploration industry worldwide. IOS Services Geoscientifiques has traditionally been active in Quebec, providing an extensive range of services to the mining industry, industrial promoters, engineering firms, independent prospectors, and government agencies. It has recently expanded globally with a series of high-end proprietary services.
Contrarily to its competition, IOS Services Geoscientifiques has always been an independent consulting group, meaning that it works exclusively on a contract basis and do not own participation in its clients and their project. Québec’s market being kind-off insulated from the rest of Canada, the growth strategy has traditionally been to fill as many niches as possible through offering a wide variety of services. This led to an integrated approach to exploration and the development of the capacity to manage large turnkey projects on behalf of its clients. And since Québec has become a choice destination for mineral exploration, especially in the current critical metal frenzy, IOS positioned itself as an actual “one-stop” service provider, from permitting to reporting. Hence, mining companies do not need to build internal team and expertise when initiating the project, as theyoffer off-the-shelves solutions.
In parallel, the group developed a variety of proprietary technologies in applied mineralogy that are now offered globally. These advanced analytical tools have become a standard in the industry worldwide and have been adopted by numerous leading global mining companies. Being the only company to master these technologies, IOS Services Geoscientifiques is ranked in the “bleu ocean” today. These exclusivities are then used to leverage the other service offering.
At IOS Services Geoscientifiques, the “Integrity, Originality and Services” rule is paramount. The team of professionals at the company lives to provide technical services of the highest scientific quality at all times. A professional consultant’s role shall be to advise on the best benefits of all stakeholders of a project, which shall stand on top of delivering the services. A project of value for society shall be supported while staying away of promotional sprees. This what’s makes the difference between professional consultants and mere contractors. Consequently, IOS has to be selective in regard to clients and projects. So, only those projects are selected where the client is focused on quality and honesty and with whom the company can build complicity. The group is part of an ecosystem and must act to maintain the ecosystem’s health. And this goes beyond the mere growth of the firm.
The IOS Services Geoscientifiques consulting agency leader believes that integrity is a matter of corporate culture, and you have to put the stakeholders’ interests above your own. Quality is also about commitment, which is essential in human resource management and research and development tasks. Quality is expensive, but such costs do not compare with those of decisions based on poor results. Though this approach comes with a price, Mr. Girard considers it gratifying in the long run.
As for most successful businesses, IOS Services Geoscientifiques must focus heavily on customer satisfaction. As Mr. Girard puts it, every organization is part of a larger ecosystem whose well-being depends on the health of this ecosystem. Hence, as a professional service provider, IOS Services Geoscientifiques works for the best interest according to a hierarchy: the stakeholders, the shareholders, the clients, the staff, and then ourselves. With these qualities at hand, IOS Services Geoscientifiques is dedicated to providing top-quality mineral exploration and geological services to international mining companies.
For a few years, IOS has been venturing outside of its natural environment, offering services to the rest of the world. Our domestic market currently represents less than 10% of our mandates. And to play a role as a small organization on a global scale, the vector is in specialized services, so we had to change our thinking. Team members had to be trained accordingly, and the client’s approach had to be adjusted. Again, as our capabilities are almost saturated, we must be selective and work with clients with whom we can build joint expertise, not only delivering the certificate of analysis. Mr. Girard insists that this feedback loop is key in selecting clients and projects.
People with a broad range of skills are working for IOS. About a third of the staff are professionals, either geologists, engineers, chemists, or biologists with different specialties. They are supported by many technicians and laborers, ranging from mining to environmental technicians, from mechanics to cooks to laboratory assistants. Although strained by the current talent shortage, the firm has strict criteria concerning hiring and a variety of benefits to offer to employees. To maintain the optimal quality of services, IOS Services Geoscientifiques capitalize on teamwork, and “joie de vivre” at work is paramount in maintaining motivation. This reflects in the overall staff retention it accomplished. Peoples are proud of being part of the achievements. It has always been a strategy to recruit professionals early in their carrier, commonly as students, by subsidizing their education. From time to time, the group finds the “Perle rare,” who will be the next star. And if they choose another employer, this is still mission accomplished as what they learned with us still benefits the ecosystem.
According to Mr. Girard, the mineral exploration industry is turbulent, where companies and promoters wax and wane constantly. In this tumultuous industry, IOS Services Geoscientifiques comes out as a shining beacon where employees have been working for over 20 years in many cases and are still highly dedicated to their work. The company believes that maintaining long-term relationships with employees starts with a regular commitment and ensures an overall flourishing work environment.
IOS Services Geoscientifiques is unique to Quebec, a top-ranked mining jurisdiction. Since its start 30 years ago, the firm has offered a multidisciplinary approach and a “one-stop” service range that enables clients to perform comprehensive exploration campaigns in a complex regulatory or logistically challenging environment. This is done by coordinating with a group of reputed sub-contractors, such as drilling, assaying, or helicopter carrier. In contrast, the bulk of the project support is done internally, including the permit application, property management, fieldwork, logistics, and extensive laboratory work.
Thirty years ago, only three firms in Québec offered contract-based general exploration. Currently, we estimate that about 25 groups offer such services, many of which are copied on our initial business model. So rather than compete, the group evolved from small project management to multi-million dollar turnkey operations, from local prospectors to Québec-based junior companies to multinational corporations wishing to operate in eastern Canada. One of the peculiarities is that the group has its in-house logistic department capable of swiftly deploying anywhere in Eastern Canada and operating its laboratory. With its market expansion, the group has focused on its expertise, naming turnkey operations and applied mineralogy, to relinquish less strategic or less profitable services like staff leasing and technical support detached from professional counseling. So, its role in the ecosystem is to be a quality data generator because it designs, executes, and delivers dependable surveys upon which clients can make sound decisions about the conduct of their projects. It is not perceived as its role to just tell clients what to do or just execute mandates. The cohesive offering of advice and services is intrinsic to its business model, and focusing on this role is the key to success. So, the group is not involved in clients’ corporate matters or financing activities and maintains strict independence.
Opening the doors of the international market was based on offering specialty services. Developing such services requires protracted efforts and investments in research and development, including the talents that support it. Over 2 million dollars has been invested in salaries in the last seven years, excluding equipment and external contracts. It also built a network of collaborators, academics, and privates, including equipment manufacturers. This has propelled the group to the forefront of applied mineralogy from a global perspective, with a series of techniques that enable measuring mineral abundance in rocks and detecting the presence in sediments of minerals eroded from mineral occurrences. Applications are legions, including characterizing the nature of gold mineralization from the morphology or chemistry of gold grains, quantifying the alteration process in a mineralized system, predicting the contribution of large gold nuggets in a deposit, detecting evidence of platinum group metals, measuring strain in mineralized fault zones, measuring the speciation of metals in soil, etc. These complement the solutions developed in regard to conventional exploration, such as a hydraulic excavator that can be moved with a helicopter or the amphibious vehicle Kaskoo X-04. IOS was also a forerunner in portable XRF applications and artificial intelligence targeting, methods that are now in widespread usage by the industry.
Owing to its extensive range of advanced mineral exploration methods and techniques, IOS Services Geoscientifiques has won numerous honors, awards, and accolades.
In the coming years, Mr. Girard expects to achieve four main goals. He aims to seamlessly transfer ownership to employees (management buy-out), establish stronger relationships with global clients, build a think-tank for exploration method development, and witness the construction of some new mines from the project he recently contributed to for the overall benefit of society.
According to Mr. Girard, IOS Services Geoscientifiques is here for the long run and runs its operations accordingly. The company aims to achieve its goals with constant investment in clients, employees, technology, and R&D.
Company Name: IOS Services Geoscientifiques Inc.
Founded in: 1992
Company Leader: Rejean Girard (President)
Office Address: Ville Sagneuay, Quebec, Canada
Company Website: www.iosgeo.com