Archive for the ‘President’s Messages’ Category

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

President’s Message to Our Clients

To all our valued customers;

On Sunday February 19, 2012, at the AcmeLabs shareholders meeting, 131 employee shareholders and one founding shareholder (Mr. Dean Toye) voted unanimously to accept the purchase offer of Bureau Veritas.

Today (February 23, 2012), Bureau Veritas (BV) has announced the purchase of AcmeLabs.

Over the past several years AcmeLabs has had many suitors, so why Bureau Veritas? There are several key reasons beyond price, that the Acme shareholders believe were important in this decision;

However, in addition;

It became clear as we negotiated with Bureau Veritas management, that they understood the uniqueness of AcmeLabs.  It is this unique approach to personal service, the value of customers and employees, and the personal involvement of senior management that BV wants to capture and expand upon. Bureau Veritas believes as we do, that this is a superior business model.

This does open a new chapter for AcmeLabs, but an even more exciting and vibrant one where you can be sure that we are still here working to provide the best service and the best analytical products in our industry.

Our careers have been spent building many personal relationships and we value these relationships greatly. I assure you, we are thinking about you, our customers in this process. Please come by our booth at the PDAC in Toronto. We will be happy to discuss our plans further.



George Cartwright
President, AcmeLabs

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

President’s Message December 2010

A few months ago, AcmeLabs moved to digital reporting of all documents to customers. This is a move away from printing certificates and invoices and mailing them by slow post. If customers require or desire the printed media then no problem, we will be happy to accommodate.

This is really just another step for AcmeLabs Global Laboratory Management System. This software tracks not just samples and shipments and analytical data, but also is the repository for all documents. These documents include client sample submission forms, quotes, reports, etc. For instance, this means I can quickly find and display our clients sample submission document (as a PDF) for a group of samples submitted to our office in Ankara, Turkey just as easily as a submission to Guyana or Whitehorse. This is really powerful stuff. In I.T. speak, this is often referred to as “cloud computing”, where the internet provides the communication backbone so that local information can be collected from local offices and made available globally. This is critical for our management of our business, so that we can quickly see problems and respond. This global operating model reflects that exploration is a global business serving highly mobile customers and customers that are operating in remote regions. The software that AcmeLabs uses also provides our customers with the ability to track all their projects and geochemical related information. We call this AcmeAccess. We are constantly updating AcmeAccess tools to make it easier for our clients to track their samples and obtain their data quickly and efficiently.

This then, leads us to the topic of digitally secure electronic documents. These are documents that have a “Digital Certificate” to guarantee their authenticity. While such encryption software is available today, this is a rapidly changing area that we are watching closely. AcmeLabs will move to providing digitally secure documents in the very near future.

The movement towards digital documents is not that unusual these days but it means the days of going to a clients office and seeing a foot high pile (or higher!) of certificates on the floor, are numbered. I think that is a good thing but I am struggling with the concept that all things digital are better. For instance, I heard on the radio today that the sales volume of electronic books has now exceeded the sales for printed books at! Wow, that surprised me, and not in a positive way. The announcer went on to proclaim that we are seeing the beginning of the end of the printed book. Hmmm, even though I take some pride at being up to date on most technological change, I don’t like that thought at all. Further, I don’t know anyone that owns a Kindle or an iPad but I can safely say I know a whole bunch of folks that are regular readers of books!

This makes me think of the onset of the digital camera. Not many years ago, everyone took pictures with some variant of Kodachrome or Ektachrome . (I also note that my spell checker doesn’t even know these words!) These products were responsible for the vast majority of the photographic world from the 1930’s through until production ceased in 2009. In a few short years, digital cameras have completely taken over the market and everyone I know has one or two. The one I have takes wonderful pictures, but one comment from my brother got me thinking. I was showing him my new camera and he made the remark; “You think that’s a camera? No, that is just a device where pictures go to die.” Yes, a flippant remark, but like many such comments, carried a serious opinion along with it. I think he may be absolutely right.

For those of you that don’t know my brother, he is a Geophysicist and has been working his magic for over 30 years. Over this time, he has made many technology upgrades as computer systems evolved. But in most cases this evolution has not been seamless. This has forced him to keep a version of each old technology system operational, so that he can access the reams of old data generated decades ago that still resides on tape, cassette, 8 inch floppy disk, 5 inch FD, 3 1/4 inch FD, or now, a USB thumb. His garage looks like computer museum and periodically a client will call him looking for some old data. This will put a smile on his face. So you may wonder why I seem to digress. Well, because I don’t think many of us are like my brother. That is, when our home computer systems need to be upgraded and our hard disks need to be backed up (or they fail) we are going to lose a lot of those digital images. I have quite a lot of old family photos that are 60 to 70 years old. I can’t imagine how my photos from 2010 will survive for 70 years. For most of us, they will not survive by being captured by Ektachrome. Is a similar fate approaching for our books?

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

President’s Message July 2010

We have recently received some very sad news. We have learned that one of our employees working in our Haiti lab has been killed in a building collapse in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. His name was Louis Abellard. Louis survived the initial Haiti quake but was sometime later (we don’t know exactly) caught in a building that collapsed in one of the quake aftershocks. It is difficult to determine the events of this tragedy as many of the dead were buried in mass graves in the days following the earthquake.

Louis Abellard held the position of Preparation Laboratory Supervisor and was one of our senior staff in Haiti. He was Haitian born, and was somewhat of a local celebrity working for an international company helping to build Haiti’s economy. Our Haiti laboratory is a dedicated preparation lab for Newmont operations in the area. In the photo below, Louis is standing on the left beside Rory Forde ( AcmeLabs Caribbean Regional Manager) and Brian Brewer (Client Geologist)

Newmont and AcmeLabs are contributing to a Trust fund in Louis’ name to provide support for his wife and son. If you wish to contribute, please contact AcmeLabs Vancouver or Santiago for details.

Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world where employment is viewed as a great privilege. Mining and Exploration brings economic dollars to struggling regions of the world and events like this remind us, that what we do matters.

While in Buenos Aires for AcmeLabs regional managers meeting, I had the chance to meet Rory Forde for the first time. It’s not often that I meet a young man (28 years old) that is highly competent and motivated, with great interpersonal skills. I was very impressed. Looking at our South American contingent, they are a powerhouse of experience. This is a great environment for a young manager to grow in.

Economically, the roller coaster ride continues with additional calamities keeping us wondering what is next and how long this string of disasters can continue. From earthquakes and eruptions we have now shifted into manmade disasters. According to the latest estimates, the Gulf oil spill is now gushing an Exxon Valdez volume of oil into the Gulf every four days! This is so unprecedented that it is hard to imagine the level of damage and hardship that this will ultimately cause. This will certainly have a serious economic impact on the United States. This makes the Canadian oil sands look pretty sensible and safe by comparison.

World economies continue to recover with much gnashing of teeth over sovereign debt issues in Europe. While we seem to be moving past this issue for now, it is not going away any time soon. It is clear that many countries will be battling government debt for many years. The good news is that the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries continue to move forward with reasonably high growth although with some slowing in China. Commodity prices remain fairly strong and gold continues to hit record highs driving exploration dollars globally.

This is impacting AcmeLabs everywhere. Our clients have been steadily adding to their exploration programs making it difficult to keep up to the changing conditions. This is always the way it goes. When recessions hit, we are surprised by how fast the sample volumes fall, and as we are seeing now, the reverse is also true. When budgeting for the future, it is difficult to budget for >50% increases or decreases because if you are wrong, the consequences are huge. For 2010, we have been feverishly adding more equipment and personnel throughout our production areas. This includes expansion in Argentina, Chile, Dominican Republic and Brazil in South America alone.

In North America, AcmeLabs had an open house in Whitehorse, YT in early June that went very well. More than 60 people dropped in to see our new prep lab. This is a world class facility and is the only ISO9001 registered prep lab in the Yukon. This is a large preparation laboratory capable of processing  2000-4000 samples per day making it the largest preparation facility in the Yukon. The manager of this new lab is Aarno Hamalainen who has more than 20 years experience building and operating minerals laboratories in North and Central America. Aarno and his family recently moved up to Whitehorse in May. Years ago he lived and worked in Faro, YT so he is no stranger to the region. You can contact him by email at  If you drop in on a Friday afternoon, Aarno will have the Barbi fired up on the back deck.

From left to right are; Arno Hamalainen (Manager, Whitehorse), Leo Arciaga (Regional Sales Rep.), Clarence Leung (General Manager, Vancouver), and Susie Woo (Client Services Manager, Vancouver).

I wish you all the best in your exploration efforts.

As an old boss of mine used to write;

                 “Enuf said and stay safe.”

George Cartwright

President, AcmeLabsTM

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

President’s Message April 2010

We are off to a rocky start for 2010. We have had earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, China and now an eruption in Iceland that has shut down air travel over all of Europe. Hmmm, when did that last happen? Well, certainly not in my lifetime.  In my last “Presidents Message” I wrote;

 “Our air travel has become much more onerous and climate change a huge issue for humankind.  The last decade has indeed been a wild ride, but for many, not a fun ride at all.”

I had no idea how applicable this would be to this year!

Lest we begin to think that we humans can exert control over future events, think again. Mother nature is flexing her muscles in 2010!

Our offices in Porto Prince and Santiago were lucky. Our personnel are OK and our operations sustained only minor damage. The news and the public eye has moved on to other events but Haiti and Chile have a long road ahead still, to rebuild and move forward. The cost estimates are only now rolling in. Our hearts go out to all of those affected and hope that they can rebuild their lives as well as their homes.

As I write this, I am on a flight from Santiago, Chile to Sao Paulo, Brazil with our Chairman, John Gravel and Jefe de Sud America, Geoff Woodfield. We have spent the week reviewing operations in Santiago and Mendoza, Argentina. Santiago and Mendoza operations are expanding in response to higher sample flows and to ensure our commitment to provide excellent service.

Following this, we made a quick trip up to Copiapo, Chile to open our new office in Central Chile. Twenty one years ago, Bondar Clegg, whom I worked for then, opened an office in Copiapo so this was a special day for me. Further, our manager for Copiapo today is Rene Marin who also worked for Bondar Clegg at the time. It gives me great confidence that our clients will be well served with Rene in charge. Copiapo will provide much needed additional sample preparation capacity for Chile and provide an increased level of service to our clients.

I was very impressed by the new lab. It is very well designed with all new equipment including Boyd combo’s (crusher with attached rotary splitter) to provide high quality sample preparation. As with all Acme offices, sample preparation is built around our unique AcmeDCU. This Dust Containment Unit is central to the design of the entire operation. The AcmeDCU provides superior passive dust control and noise reduction. This provides three primary benefits. The AcmeDCU provides a safe work environment for our employees with minimal losses of sample material while having the smallest possible environmental footprint. Thank you to all of our clients that attended the open house and to those that could not but send samples to support Acme. If you are in Copiapo, please drop in to see our lab and ask for Rene Marin.

I look forward to seeing our staff and operations in Goiania, Brazil and as many of our clients as we can manage.

Acme have now opened a new sample preparation office in Whitehorse, YT, Canada. The open house for this office is Friday May 14. I hope to see you there!

In Vancouver, the Olympics were a huge success. The new skytrain services worked fabulously and I have never seen so much positive nationalism of all colors.

Our Vancouver lab has completed the addition of new X-Ray Fluorescence instrumentation as well as additional fire assay furnaces for gold analysis and ICP/ICPMS instruments for multielement analysis so we are also ready for the North American Summer season to begin in earnest.

I wish you all the best in your exploration efforts.

As an old boss of mine used to write;

                 “Enuf said and stay safe.”

George Cartwright

President, Acme Laboratories

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

President’s Message Jan 2010

Goodbye to 2009 and hello 2010. The end of a tumultuous decade that began with the 9/11 terrorist attacks and ended with the global financial crisis. These two events singlehandedly made the 2000’s the worst financial decade since the 1930’s as measured by the S&P 500 (down 24.1%).

The past decade has brought huge and rapid changes to our lives. Technology changes like cell phones driving the picture and video explosion. The Blackberry changed how we do business with wireless communications now the expected norm. We have seen massive market and global economic change with the rise of China, India and Brazil but most notable, the polarization of first world consumers and developing world producers. Our air travel has become much more onerous and climate change a huge issue for humankind.  The last decade has indeed been a wild ride, but for many, not a fun ride at all.

For minerals and exploration the past decade has been an unusual decade. It was a commodities decade. It contained the longest exploration bull market in recent history and one that did not end due to oversupply of metal or inflationary constriction of demand, but rather the external freezing of the financial markets. This makes it unique. Commodities were the “in” place to be for the first time in many, many years. Normally, when traveling, I was used to the blank stares from other travelers when I told them I was in the mining and exploration business. They were usually dumbfounded and unable to speak the immediate question that came to mind. Why? Suddenly this changed.  For the first time in decades, people responded with excitement and sometimes even with awe. Their new response had become; “Wow, really?”, and a long conversation would ensue. All of a sudden mining and exploration had respect.

The coming year will bring some notable events. China will overtake Japan as the second largest economy in the world, and in India, 2010 will mark the first time that more than half of their population will be employed in industrial jobs rather than in farming. Global demand for metals remains historically high and growing. The factors driving our industry prior to the financial meltdown are still in place although we have some new factors in play that global economies must work through. In the United States, high debt loading (both government and consumer debt) is slowing U.S. recovery. The resulting weaker U.S. dollar is shifting the playing field for international business. With the rapid growth in the middle class in the developing world, this may lead to a more balanced world where we are not so dependent on the U.S. consumer. Never before have the words “think globally, act locally”, been more appropriate. Never before has it been so important for us to understand the global forces that impact us professionally and personally. Mining is truly a global business and presuming the U.S. continues to rotate back into growth, our ability as an industry will be sorely tested to find the new mines needed to feed this new level of global demand.

Acme Analytical Laboratories, like most other companies has had to weather the financial storm over the past year. This has been an unusually challenging period, especially due to wildly varying sample volumes and uncertainty about the future. Acme has been lucky to have had the financial strength to not only survive, but to move forward by taking advantage of opportunities. This has allowed us to gain projects and new locations in North and South America. Acme will open offices in Whitehorse, YT and in Copiapo, Chile to serve growing exploration markets in those regions. We have made further investments into Brazil , Colombia, Dominican Republic, Santiago, and Vancouver  to move or expand operations.

Our big news for 2009, was the purchase of Teck Resources Global Discovery Laboratory (GDL). GDL has been operating for over 35 years, providing professional analytical services to Teck Resources and other exploration companies. Teck wanted to retain this special relationship from both a staff and service perspective, but needed these on a global scale. Acme wanted to add analytical capabilities for our customers along with the professional staff to support them and so the basis of an agreement was born. We are just completing the construction of new laboratory space in our Vancouver office and moving the GDL equipment and staff. This should be complete by mid January. In addition, due to much higher than expected demand, we are adding additional XRF analytical instrumentation. This will also be in place before the end of January. This will help us ensure we can meet customer expectations both for speed and data quality by using the latest instrumentation.

Our motto of Care, Commitment, and Performance accurately speaks to Acme’s corporate culture. For us, these words apply equally to the treatment of our customers and our staff. We must continue to grow and attract the best people if we are going to continue to be successful serving our customers. We have come through some difficult times and we are determined to live up to these words through hard work and strategic investments.

I wish you a successful new year, but most of all, I would like to thank you for your continued support.

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

President’s Message Oct 2009

Acme Laboratories has a long history of serving mining and exploration customers. Over this history Acme has built a reputation for excellent value. This has been achieved by delivering a combination of excellent data and low cost that our competitors are continuously pursuing. How has Acme done this? Through a long history of innovation, automation and the right people. This combination is difficult for any company to achieve, but Acme has been doing this for over three decades.

Acme has grown into a multinational laboratory service company and we have responded aggressively over the last several years to add the underlying building blocks into our business to help us manage our growth and more importantly, continue to exceed our customers expectations. Two of these additions are AcmeAccess and CARECOMMITMENTPERFORMANCE.  These represent large investments into Acme’s future growth and greatly enhance our ability to manage our business and deliver services to our customers.  I think you will be impressed.

AcmeAccess is a web based service for our customers to obtain access to all their laboratory related information. While this includes validated data it also includes access to sample and sample submission status tracking, method documentation, audit trails on sample movement, QC/QA statistics and charts, Certified Reference Material certificates and usage, etc. AcmeAccess is actually a smaller component within a much larger system that we use internally to control all sample related work and sample movement. This software system provides detailed control of our sample processing in all laboratories and provides the underlying database that AcmeAccess looks into to obtain information.
This service is an ongoing project so we are continually adding functionality to AcmeAccess.


These three words speak to our vision of Acme Laboratories and our obligation to serve customers and staff. These words help us galvanize our efforts to always do our best and strive for continuous improvement. We really do care about the success of our clients and we will do our very best to serve you beyond your expectations. For this reason, we have recently expanded our client services team to make sure we have the staff available to serve you. Also, we have recently added Lauren Greenlaw to our team of professionals. Lauren is a Geochemist that comes to us from Teck Cominco and is now available to help our customers with technical questions relating to mineralogy and how this may impact specific analytical methods.
I should also say a few words about our personnel. Our goal at Acme is to exceed our customer’s expectations. Our success requires experienced and motivated people. Over the years, Acme has attracted the best people and retained them through a combination of fair employment practices and optional employee ownership. We are a Service business that excels due to the efforts of a team of professionals. Please take a few minutes to review this team in the Personnel section of our website.

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