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Friends in faraway places: learning more about Liebherr-Canada Ltd.

Canada. The Great White North. Second largest country in the world and birthplace of pacemakers, Trivial Pursuit, and Hawaiian pizza. But did you know that Canada is also a key producer of commodities such as gold, copper, nickel, and cobalt?

With such a wealth of mineral resources, it is little wonder, then, that Canada plays host to nearly half of all publicly listed mining and mineral exploration companies. Not to mention that 90 % of the largest mining companies in the world operate within its borders!

Today, Liebherr-Canada Ltd. has 11 locations spread right across Canada in industries like mining, earthmoving, and material handling to name just a few! It looks a bit different to when it was founded in 1973 as a sales, marketing, and after-sales hub for a select range of Liebherr products. To understand more about how Liebherr-Canada Ltd. works within the expansive and diverse Canadian mining industry, we spoke to Tom Juric, Divisional Director, Mining, for Liebherr-Canada Ltd.

Tom Juric - Divisional Director, Mining, Liebherr-Canada Ltd.
Tom Juric - Divisional Director, Mining, Liebherr-Canada Ltd.

Our singular drive for optimum efficiency is the catalyst for innovation in mining and what makes our industry so unique – we innovate because, frankly, we have no choice if we are to thrive.

Tom Juric - Divisional Director, Mining, Liebherr-Canada Ltd.

What makes the Canadian mining industry different from other mining industries?

The Canadian mining industry is very similar to that of other mining powerhouses. Having spent over a decade in Australian mining, I often say there are more similarities than differences between these two markets. Harsh climates, remote locations, vast expanses of land, and a comparatively small population mean both sectors are ruthlessly efficient. This singular drive for optimum efficiency is the catalyst for innovation in mining and what makes our industry so unique – we innovate because, frankly, we have no choice if we are to thrive.

Canada is such an enormous place! Some Canadian mines are located in incredibly remote locations in arctic, or subarctic, climates. How does Liebherr-Canada Ltd. support customers in these places?

Customer service is the backbone of mining. Without it, it is impossible to operate efficiently. However, customer service is not a one-size-fits-all proposition, especially in a country as vast and diverse as Canada. Liebherr-Canada Ltd. recognises this nuance and provides tailored solutions to our customer base. Whether it’s innovative service offers or split parts arrangements, the key is to be open to ideas and – above all else – listen to the customer. Our customers know their operation, their region, and the people within their community better than anyone so it makes sense to tap into that resource to determine how we can best align our skills and resources to support them.

Fast facts about Liebherr-Canada Ltd.

- Founded in 1973

- Approximately 500 employees

- Head office in Burlington, Ontario

- Home to the mining, earthmoving, material handling, mobile and crawler cranes, cargo handling cranes, and refrigeration product segments

Besides the cold, what are some of the other challenges within Canadian mining? How does Liebherr-Canada Ltd. help customers to overcome these?

Scarcity of skilled resources is a major challenge for mining in Canada. There are so many misconceptions about our industry that are having a major impact on the type of skills being taught in schools. There are still those that equate mining to pickaxes and headlamps, not autonomous trucks and IoT [Internet of Things] connectivity. Liebherr creates an environment to right these wrongs by showing the next generation the incredibly varied, innovative, and highly complex industry known as mining. We accomplish this by investing in our staff – our most valuable asset – through our apprenticeships and extensive training programs. This investment delivers a direct, measurable benefit to our customers. When a Liebherr employee is set a task, they undertake it with ruthless efficiency and a high degree of understanding of our products, systems, and our wider company.

Liebherr-Canada Ltd.’s Québec City branch opened in early 2023. What has this expansion meant for the local mining industry?

Our new Québec City location signifies the confidence of the Liebherr Group in the strength of Liebherr-Canada Ltd. Having a physical presence on the road towards the mines in the north highlights our expansion into the province. The mining customers that we hosted during our open day were excited to see our familiar logo close to home and expressed a sense of ease, knowing Liebherr’s support is a few short hours away.

Liebherr-Canada Ltd.'s newest branch – Québec City
Liebherr-Canada Ltd.'s newest branch – Québec City

The Canadian market is one to watch. Fortunes can change in an instant with mining, and I believe something incredibly positive is coming.

Tom Juric - Divisional Director, Mining, Liebherr-Canada Ltd.

How have you seen the Canadian mining landscape change since you first started with Liebherr in Canada? What are the main industry drivers and how is Liebherr-Canada Ltd. responding to these?

The single biggest change I’ve seen since arriving in Canada has been conversations about zero emission mining moving from the periphery to the core of discussions. You would be hard pressed to find a mining house or contractor not talking about the future of mining and zero emission solutions. This has presented an enormous opportunity for Liebherr Mining, driven predominantly by our core principles: being agnostic in both energy type and drive system and offering modular solutions to flatten the risk profile of transitioning to zero emission technologies.

Equally, the industry has recognised the advantages of our current ‘conventional’ products. For example, our Technology Products portfolio – which includes the Bucket Filling Assistant, and Truck Loading Assistant – have definitely raised some eyebrows. We anticipate being able to confirm the onsite benefits of these products with practical data in the very near term.

Is there a particular growth market that you identify for Liebherr-Canada Ltd. in the near future? Maybe a particular commodity, or class of machine? How is Liebherr-Canada Ltd. well positioned within this market?

All of Canada presents a growth opportunity for Liebherr in Canada. We’ve held our own in our traditional sectors while also taking graduated steps into new mining territories and commodities. For us, our dozers were the highlight of 2021–2022, with the fleet doubling during this time. We’ve also locked in orders for 2023–2024. I’ve been an avid believer in our dozers and – despite some early challenges – I feel we have a product that is more than a match for the competition. And it's only getting better!

The growth of Liebherr excavators in the Canadian market is also one to watch. Despite the challenges we face breaking into the market, we know that once you try a Liebherr excavator, nothing comes remotely close it! This fuels our team to dig deeper and push harder to break that barrier.

What else is important for people to know about Canadian Mining or Liebherr-Canada Ltd.?

The Canadian market is both highly lucrative and highly complex. The market is not dissimilar to other markets – Australia especially. And like Australia, global reputation only gets you so far. It’s results that seal the deal for customers. Liebherr-Canada Ltd. is staffed with an incredible team, supported in its endeavours by visionary managing directors and by the wider Liebherr group of companies. I definitely think the Canadian market is one to watch. Fortunes can change in an instant with mining, and I believe something incredibly positive is coming.

Did you know … ?

- Canada produces around 80% of the world’s maple syrup

- There are six different time zones across Canada: Pacific, Mountain, Central, Eastern, Atlantic, and Newfoundland

- The $1 coin in Canada is colloquially known as a ‘loonie’ and the $2 coin as a ‘toonie’

- The border between the USA and Canada is the world’s longest unprotected border

- More than half of the lakes in the world are located in Canada

- The Canadian territory, Nunavut, had polar bear shaped registration plates for a number of years

- Beanies are called toques in Canada

- Canada holds 20% of Earth’s fresh water

- Driving from Vancouver (west coast) to Halifax (east coast) along the Trans-Canada Highway would take ~57 hours

Read more groundbreaking stories!

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