Manroc Developments : Carving Out a Legacy

Lauren RobinsonRachel Carr
Lauren Robinson - Project Manager Rachel Carr - Junior Editor
Manroc Developments Carving Out a Legacy

We unearth what it takes to be an industry leader in cutting-edge mining techniques with Katie Simoneau, Vice President of Manroc Developments.


Northern Ontario is home to a wealth of natural resources, world-class deposits, and unexplored remote regions of high mineral potential.

Headquartered in Manitouwadge, Ontario is Manroc Developments (Manroc), a mining contractor specializing in underground operations.

With offices, Alimak, mobile shops, and a welding facility in Manitouwadge, alongside a satellite office in Thunder Bay, Manroc offers unique services, and innovative techniques, methods, and equipment.

“We provide lateral development, Alimak development and stoping services, underground construction, and labor rental, which has become a large part of our business with the industry boom in the last five years,” opens Katie Simoneau, Vice President of Manroc.

“With the rental labor, we hire the employees, but they go to work for our clients,” she continues.

As a unique mining company, Manroc has developed areas of expertise, offering Alimak specialties while ensuring the miner’s safety when operating equipment underground. 

“We are one of the only few contractors in the world who works with the Alimak stoping method, with 80 percent of Alimak equipment either fabricated in-house or modified. Therefore, it is very specialized, and Manroc’s Alimak and stoping equipment is one-of-a-kind; over the years, we have completed lots of R&D to find out what works best for this mining method,” highlights Simoneau.

The Alimak stoping system is truly unique, and unfortunately, the specialized equipment is not available for purchase. Manroc is revolutionizing the mining process with game-changing technologies and innovative methods that enable the extraction of previously uneconomic or inaccessible ore reserves, consistently resulting in lowered production costs and increased productivity.

The company also specializes in Alimak raise development, long-hole stope production drilling, blasting, equipment rental, and workforce development, alongside occasionally undertaking international projects.

Working on home soil in Canada takes up a significant portion of Manroc’s time. Although there are no overseas projects at present, the company has worked all over the world, including in Africa, Uruguay, Honduras, and Kazakhstan, to name a few. 

“It has been very interesting to have the opportunity to teach a new mining method and safety mindset in other countries. Those projects can be an extremely rewarding experience as you immerse yourself in different cultures,” acknowledges Simoneau.


A few factors have contributed to Manroc becoming a global leader in the mining industry. One of them is the company’s reputation, which has helped it grow from a team of nine to its current size of 250, which Manroc is content to preserve.

Katie Simoneau, Vice President of Manroc Developments

It is a happy medium for us; we choose to maintain our modest size because it allows us to continue to provide a family culture and nurture one-to-one relationships with our clients.

Katie Simoneau, Vice President, Manroc Developments

Manroc prides itself on building personal relationships with both suppliers and clients to maintain a personal touch.

“My business partner and I prioritize sustaining a family-oriented company culture. We have had established relationships with our suppliers for over 35 years, and they provide us with essential equipment, parts, benefits, and insurance. Moreover, we have built long-standing partnerships with our banking team that we value greatly,” she divulges.

Simoneau’s father bought Manroc in 1989 and was the owner until 2014, when she and her business partner, Chris Sproule, took over the company.

“Although my father has retired, he still wants to know what is going on at Manroc and attends mining shows; it’s in his blood. He also returns for our fun company events, which are on-brand for our family culture.

“Everyone flocks to him – he garners a lot of respect, and they love sharing ideas and family updates and getting personal and business advice from him. He is happy that we have been able to carry on the company and culture he started, which makes us proud.”

As this year marks a decade since Simoneau and Sproule took ownership, it is also Manroc’s 35th anniversary, a milestone that the company looks forward to celebrating.

When Simoneau joined the company full-time in 2010, she accumulated experience in payroll, accounts payable, HR, warehousing, and traveling to mine sites on clerical duties before undertaking contract administration, contract negotiations, getting involved in the bidding process, and handling the financial aspects of the company. 

“It all just evolved, which was my father’s goal, getting me into each department and setting me up for success. Chris and I were afforded the opportunity of a lifetime, and now we have a great partnership, team, and 10 years of prosperity; we are looking forward to many more,” emphasizes Simoneau.


As a family-based company, every employee is more than just a number; Manroc’s management team prides itself on knowing them all personally.

“It has fared well for us to cultivate those values as we haven’t experienced any huge difficulties filling our roles and meeting our clients’ needs. Safety is always at the forefront of what we do so our people can go home safely at the end of the day.

“We also have good benefits packages, including Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) matching, excellent safety and attendance award programs, and a fair pay structure,” Simoneau notes.

As a smaller mining contractor, Manroc is able to take care of and retain its employees. Moreover, the company also believes in supporting the communities both in and around where it operates.

“We are invested in the community’s success, as it means a favorable outcome for us if we can attract local talent.”

Manroc’s involvement in events, such as the Christmas parade and Frosty Days, as well as sponsoring public activities also strengthens the sense of community. Indeed, the company is pivotal in bringing people together.

“One of my father’s sayings is that we work together and play together. Although we separate work issues and friendships, as we are in a small town, we respect and help each other while getting work done,” outlines Simoneau.

Furthermore, the communities know they can rely on Manroc for any needs that may arise – from sports teams needing funding for new equipment to provide high school co-ops to lending a hand with volunteer groups.

“If people want to make an event happen, we try to support them as much as possible. We take great pride in helping out whenever we can,”
she enthuses. 


Already recognized as a world leader in the application of Alimak stope mining, which solves complex narrow vein issues, Manroc will continue to work hand-in-hand with clients and invest in employees and communities.

“Their success is our success; therefore, keeping people happy is definitely a key investment and essential for a positive result,” Simoneau observes.

With the industry in a boom period, it would be easy for Manroc to carry out expansion plans, but it is essential for the company to retain its core values and stay on the same path.

“I am lucky because my business partner and I have the same views regarding family culture, looking after our clients, and safety. This means repeat business for us as we often work with clients who have been with us throughout our 35-year history, which is uncommon in the mining industry as contractors get changed out,” she observes.

Furthermore, Manroc is renowned for its unwavering dedication to providing high-quality and dependable services. The company firmly believes in staying ahead of the curve by continuously upgrading its equipment with cutting-edge technologies. This approach guarantees that product efficiency levels are maintained at optimal levels.

Our commitment to maintaining safety standards and our ability to consistently provide efficient services to our clients is a testament to the cohesiveness of our team.

Katie Simoneau, Vice President, Manroc Developments

“It is always beneficial for a company to foster long-term relationships within the team as it encourages members to exceed expectations and go the extra mile. These values are what Manroc represents,” concludes Simoneau.


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By Lauren Robinson Project Manager
Lauren Robinson is Project Manager at North America Outlook Magazine. Lauren is responsible for showcasing leaders, c-suite executives and corporate success stories from across North America.