Written By: Bill Brown
Two months ago, the mineral exploration world gathered at the PDAC convention in Toronto just as we were learning of the “coronavirus “, as it was known then. At the SkyTEM booth and throughout the show clients, friends and associates touched elbows or expressed “namaste” and continued to talk about planned projects and future possibilities, never thinking that the state of suspended animation we live in now was where we were going to end up.
The early days were surreal as news and images from around the world spread across our TVs and laptops. SkyTEM field crews were on assignment in various corners of the globe but by mid March, as borders hardened and planes stopped flying, we began to repatriate all field staff out on assignment. The swiftness of the virus’s spread and management’s determined focus on safety and security of the employees was clear when, with only one flight remaining to complete a groundwater survey in California, the SkyTEM crew woke to instructions to return to Canada immediately – and so they did.
As countries began imposing even more restrictions on the movement and interactions of their citizens much of the world began working from home. “Imposed” isolation, and the requirement to cease all human contact outside the home, is difficult for many of us to deal with. SkyTEM sales staff joined the ranks of millions of newly remote socially distanced workers and wrestled with new realities like slow home Wi-Fi and children requiring home schooling. There are some in our industry, less extroverted and less affected than socially needy salespeople like the geophysicists (and a good friend of ours) who joked that most geo-types have always been socially distant. This opinion does not reflect the views of SkyTEM.
By the end of March, it became apparent there was more to be afraid of than just our health as we began to see the virus’s potential harmful affect on world economics and our personal finances. This new unwelcomed reality and the anxiety that came with it was quickly erased with a phone call from Headquarters in Denmark. Dr. Flemming Effersø, SkyTEM’s CEO, contacted each employee to assure every one of us that we were going to be OK and that SkyTEM would look after us. “Our plan is to continue with our R&D projects, to continue to innovate and be leaders in technology. We are going to keep moving forward. We were strong before and will come out stronger. “ We were not going to become unemployed, only quarantined.
SkyTEM – creating the next new normal in time-domain AEM
Denmark, the second European country to impose a lock down began to lift restrictions slowly and carefully as the curve began to flatten in Europe in late April. Once staff in Denmark began returning to the office, upon walking through the front doors they were greeted by the R&D team. After isolating in early April, and without exhibiting any symptoms, they saw an opportunity to get back to work, tinker and have some fun (and always in a safe and healthy way). “Without distractions and disturbances” as one of them was overheard saying. Their real motivation was the high they were on from the recent SMART Exploration program where they successfully delivered robust and relatively noise free ultra low moment 6.25Hz data. It has never been business as usual at SkyTEM and Its hard to keep a good airborne techno-nerd grounded. They have been there all the time, safely and smartly, developing the next SkyTEM time-domain breakthrough.
Great geophysics has always been essential
Today, all of us at SkyTEM are concerned about the safety and well-being of our families, colleagues, customers, partners, and the many friends who make up SkyTEM’s global family. Our Covid-19 Policy includes measures we actively take to mitigate the spread of the virus. We follow the rules diligently and act responsibly and transparently to sustain a healthy and safe workplace
There is increased frequency of cleaning activities, including sanitizing high touch areas such as survey equipment, keyboards, telephones, door handles and guest common areas. In addition, we have increased cleaning schedules of our vehicles and sanitize the interior of every vehicle before and after it is used. We have also added additional hand sanitizer and cleansing wipes in our facilities, together with informative signage to instruct on usage.
We are now slowly and responsibly returning to the work of acquiring airborne data. Field employees self-test for three days prior to mobilisation by recording their internal body temperature to provide some assurance, but not a guarantee, that each employee is fit for travel. During the survey, the employee additionally follows the virus monitoring and action plan requirements of the client. If none are present, then the SkyTEM policy is followed.
The situation remains very dynamic. We are confident in our position, preparation and planning and remain committed to providing the superior service and support that our customers have come to expect of our company. If you have any questions about SkyTEM’s response to COVID-19 and our ability to collect and deliver the best airborne geophysical data possible, please contact us.