A Good Start for Timmins Athletic Coalition
By: Len Gillis
The Timmins Times
Timmins athletes will soon be able to cross the start-finish line in style thanks to a significant local fundraising effort that has resulted in the purchase of a start-finish structure that will allow racers to use special timing devices.
The Timmins Athletic Coalition, consisting of several local organizations, has been successful in obtaining $40,000 in Trillium Foundation funding for the new equipment.
“The equipment will be available to any organization that wants to host an event in Timmins,” said coalition spokesperson J.P. Nadon.
Nadon said events such as the half marathon and Heart Of Gold Triathlon would benefit from having the new equipment, which will provide more precise timing.
He said there are several organizations that are involved in athletic events, but are prevented to hosting a special event in Timmins because the right equipment is not available.
In the past, specialized equipment such as remote timing devices or Velcro tags worn by racers, had to be rented. Nadon said the cost was always significantly high and created an added expense to any event being staged.
“We are extremely pleased with this funding,” said Nadon.
The sentiment was echoed by Timmins-James Bay MPP Gilles Bisson who said that many groups and organizations struggle with fundraising and that the Trillium Foundation makes and important contribution.
“They’re going to be able to buy some equipment that will allow them to hold track meets as far as timing equipment etc. that they’re going to need to do their type of events they do out there,” he said.
“It’s very much appreciated because sometimes, quite frankly, Trillium is the only game in town,” said Bisson.
“The Trillium Foundation has yet again come through for the city of Timmins which is great because certainly Trillium has not been a stranger to the city of Timmins. There’s a lot of organizations who have benefited,” said Bisson.
Organizations involved in the coalition partnership include the Timmins Golden Trails Festival, the Timmins Cycling Club, the Gold Rush Run, the Timmins Marlins Swim Club, Rivard Engineering, and NorFab Metal and Machine.
The new structure was designed locally by Rivard Engineering and then manufactured locally at NorFab Metal and Machine.
Nadon says that the purchase order for the timing system is already being processed, and volunteers will have to be trained to use the system properly since it comes with specialized computer programming.
The start-finish structure is portable and Nadon says the next priority for the athletic coalition will be to acquire a trailer to house the structure and the timing equipment.
Nadon says all partners in the athletic coalition will be invited to training sessions, likely to be held in November.
T&DH Foundation Receives Generous Support from NorFab
Timmins – The Timmins and District Hospital Foundation is pleased to announce that NorFab generously donated $1,000.00 towards the 2007-2009 “Give…for the Health of it!” Campaign. Presenting the cheque on behalf of NorFab is Terry DiTullio and accepting the donation on behalf of the T&DH Foundation is Gabriel Provost, Campaign Co-Chair.
“This donation is being presented to the Foundation because of the important work they do for every person in the region,” said Mr. DiTullio. “We will all use the services of T&DH at one time or another. The reality is that the government does not provide enough funding for medical equipment. This is why the Foundations work is so important.”
“On behalf of the Foundation board of directors, I would like to thank NorFab for their generous support,” said Mr. Provost. “We’re very fortunate to live in a region where businesses understand the importance of health care. We are all responsible for the well being of the area, so we all have to give what we can. This money benefits us all in the end.”
The Timmins and District Hospital Foundation gratefully acknowledges the generosity of NorFab. With the continued support of organizations within our district, the Timmins and District Hospital will be able to continue their tradition of offering top-quality health care services. Working together we will save lives.
NorFab Metal and Machine provides custom manufacturing of equipment and consumables for the mining, forestry and industrial industries. The company is ISO 9001:2000 registered, TSSA Registered and certified with the Canadian Welding Bureau. It provides complete solutions for material handling applications and any other custom manufactured product. They also manufacture a full line of mine consumables from hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders, buckets, teledyne side dump stations, ramp dumping systems, bottom dump systems, sprockets, a patented mill hole liner integrated system, couplers, industrial duct work, quality machined parts for any application and much more. The company also custom manufactures open pit parts and consumables and overhauls various types of machinery and equipment.
Bowl for Kids Sake Event Raises More than $6,000
By: Marc Malette
On behalf of the Porcupine Big Borhters and Big Sisters Association’s volunteers, children and board of directors, I would like to take this time to thank everyone who helped make the sixth annual Bowl for Kids Sake Tournament the great success it was. First of all, to the Scotia Bank (Pine Street), the Strikers, Moose FM, Kinsmen Club, Gorf Construction, TD Canada Trust, Zellers, and the DiTullio’s for submitting a team in this year’s event.
I would also like to thank everyone who supported this endeavor financially, whether it be by sponsoring a team, an individual, or the organization itself, it was greatly appreciated. To our celebrities Gilles Bisson, Teena Simpson, Rick Harper and Rick Lemieuix, along with mascot Darren, thanks for coming out and supporting our little ones.
A great big thank you to Krazy Krazy, Dessert’s Please, Mickey J’s Bighouse Bar and Grill, Siva’s Restaurant and Timmins Cinema Six for contributing to our prize table. I would also like to acknowledge Nat Berry and her friendly, hard working staff for supporting this fundraiser for a fifth year. Your patience and dedication to this matter is greatly appreciated. To Bill Stephenson from Moose FM for your ongoging, on-air support and advertising of this event as well as the Timmins Daily Press for the wonderful coverage you provided this event with.
To Terry DiTullio and NorFab for your generous contribution of $3,000 towards this event. It is because of local businesses like this that we can continue providing our services to the children of Timmins, Schumacher, South Porcupine and Porcupine. Finally, a great big thank you to our wonderful volunteers, Tammy Hettubger, Luc Massicote, Sylvain Charron, Raymonde and Emilie Dallaire, Diane Venne, Betty Champagne, Jennifer Rancourt and Morgan Savard, who came out to help us on the day of the event. It is only with ongoing support and dedication from all of you that we are able to achieve great success in our fundraising endeavors. It is thanks to all the above mentioned individuals that the Porcupine Big Borthers and Big Sisters Association was able to raise over $6,000 in this year’s Bowl for Kids Sake Tournament.
I would like to congratulate Team TD Canada Trust for being the top fundraising team, raising a total of $630, Sharon Liepert ($467) and Rick Harper ($297) for being our top fundraisers in the adult division, Morgan Savard ($130) and Jennifer Rancourt($65) for being our top fundraisers in the children’s division, as well as our top celebrity, Teena Simpson. Finally, I would like to conratulate Team Scotia Bank with Little Sister Kaitlyn Barthe for being our overall winners of this year’s event by bringing in the highest game scores. They brought in a total of 1,961 points. For more information on how to become involved with the Porcupine Big Bothers and Big Sisters Association, please check out website at www.pbbbs.org or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NorFab Committed to Research and Development
The ASIA Miner
Constant research and development of new products is a primary factor in the continued growth of equipment manufacturer NorFab Metal and Machine.
NorFab’s general manager Terry DiTullio says research and development is also helping the company and its customers overcome the unavoidable negative economic factors.
Evidence of the success of this approach has come through the company’s recent expansion into new premises in Timmins, its third major expansion in almost 15 years of operation.
NorFab, specialists in manufacture and repair for mining, forestry, and industrial industries, has two separate corporations – fabrication and field services – which collectively employ 45 people.
NorFab provides complete solutions for material handling applications and any other custom manufactured product including, but not limited to, custom-manufactured rail equipment such as ore cars, locomotives, personnel carriers, shotcrete cars, material handling cars, sealed slime cars, ballast cars and ore car wheels and axels.
It also manufactures a full line of mine consumables, hydraulic cylinders, pneumatic cylinders, buckets, Teledyne side dump stations, ramp dumping systems, bottom dump systems, sprockets, a patented mill hole liner integrated system, couplers, industrial duct work, and machined parts for any application. NorFab also custom manufactures open pit parts and consumables, and overhauls various types of machinery and equipment.
Realizing the demand for custom manufactured products and having more than 60 years of combined experience, the company has designed and manufactured many custom fabricated components with the goal of bringing these products into domestic and international markets.
The company has an excellent employee retention rate achieved through a family atmosphere along with various incentive and safety programs and active employee involvement in the way that the company does business.
Northern Ontario is one of the largest suppliers of mining products and services in Canada, and as well as in the region NorFab also has clients in Central America and South Africa.
Bi-Annual Conference Sheds Light on Timmins Economy
Forestry, mining firms share concerns
By: Nick Stewart
Northern Ontario Business
Although the ‘heart of god’ beating in the City of Timmins is shining much brighter than the prospects of the local forestry industry, representatives from both shared concerns at the recent bi-annual Timmins Regional Economic Outlook conference.
Held in late May at the Porcupine campus of Northern College, the local chamber of commerce-led conference served to highlight business successes and suggestions, starting with the ailing forestry industry.
Dan Dedo, manager of Canadian woodlands for Grant Forest Products told the crowd that the U.S. housing market, a prime target of Ontario’s oriented strand board (OSB), has taken a staggering dive in recent years. Having reached a high of nearly 1.8 million housing permits in late 2005, the U.S. market slipped to 600,000 permits in March 2008, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
This represents just one third of the permits issued just three years ago. What’s more, 100 percent of Ontario’s OSB mills saw curtailments in 2007, as compared to the 30 percent of United States OSB mills which saw curtailment in the same period.
John Kapel Jr. of Little John Enterprises, who has long argues against the lack of local participation in provincial wood allocation, said the Ontario government needs to take a stronger role in supporting forestry. In particular, he says the province needs to actively support and promote secondary and value-added forestry industries in order to help them weather the economic storm.
These concerns over lack of government support were echoed by Rob Tomchick, woodlands manager for AbitibiBowater’s Iroquois Falls operations. With forest products playing an instrumental role in the economies of the North, the industry needs the provincial government to champion them much in the same way as it champions the automotive and wine industries in southern Ontario, Tomchick argues.
This matches up with many of the other measures the provincial government should pursue to try and reduce the many challenges the industry continues to face, he says. These include bureaucratic red tape and high energy prices which continue to hobble the viability of many forestry operations.
All is not doom and gloom. Dedo says the future outlook for OSB is a positive one, with global demand for wood projected to grow significantly in the coming decades. In the next 20 years, the global gross domestic product is slated to double, with per capita incomes in developing countries due to triple in that same period.
The need for wood in new housing developments and other construction efforts will not be satisfied by tree plantations in tropical countries, which is currently acting as an impediment to the North American forestry industry. The year-round warm weather allows for rapid regeneration of trees, though the crises escalating in the global food and biofuels markets is expected to contribute to a severe land shortage in these areas. This translates to opportunities for well managed Boreal areas, Dedo says.
Mining attendees also shared their views on the future, with the sky-high mineral prices failing to completely temper some concerns.
Rampant growth in developing nations bodes well for Timmins, with China slated to consume one third of the world’s copper production from 2008 to 2010.
Thompson Hickey, general manager with Xstrata Copper, says this is a definitive positive. The ore body at Xstratat Copper’s Kidd Creek mine remains open at depth, he says, and there remains 750 square kilometers around the property that can see further expansion.
Nevertheless, he says issues such as high Canadian dollar continue to pose some problems; the current strength of the national currency translates to a loss of $80 million per year, he says.
The ever-popular issue of staffing problems also continues to be a hot button problem among mining and supply firms alike. The lack of proper staffing levels throughout the entire industry is adding up to two years to procurement and engineering lead times for various projects, a process that previously took less than a year.
Chris Cormier, the general mine manager for Goldcorp Inc. agrees that the widely publicized staff shortage will continue to be a growing issue as the needs of the global mining industry swell alongside demand.
In fact, 45 percent of the industry’s population is due to retire in the next decade, leaving a shortage of 80,000 to 100,000 by that time, Cormier says.
Further exacerbating of the problem is the fact that other mining centres in the North are acting as competition for Timmins area companies and Sudbury in particular is a strong magnet for skilled workers.
“Sudbury drains people like Timmins’ technical people at a drastic pace, so we have to bill Timmins as the number one destination in Ontario for people to come and live and raise their families,” says Cormier.
Terry DiTullio, owner of NorFab Metal and Machine, said the staffing problem is a particularly thorny one for suppliers, given the shared need for the same types of workers.
“Our best customers are our biggest competitors for skilled labour,” he says.
Still, the endless success seen by the mining industry is helping to drive national awareness of Timmins as a positive place to do business, attendees were also told.
J.P. Legault, owner of Panels and Pipes, provided the crowd with a personal anecdote to give an idea of the national investment community’s awareness of Timmins’ rampant growth. As he recently sat on a plane from Alberta to Toronto, he struck up a conversation with a fellow passenger, a Bay Street investment banker, and asked him the best places to invest in Canada. The man’s response? Fort McMurray, Alberta, and Timmins, Ontario.
“We’re on the map,” Legault says. “People around Canada know about the great things we’re doing here.”
Event to Highlight Timmins’ Strengths
TREO panel will have diverse representation
By: Chelsey Romain
The Daily Press
Experts in the mining industry will be among the list of speakers at the upcoming Timmins Regional Economic Outlook conference.
The event’s organizing committee recently announced representatives from the industry who will make up a panel during the May 28 event.
Each member will be able to make a presentation, followed by a short discussion and a question and answer period.
“I think it’s a great event,” said confirmed speaker and GoldCorp mine manager Chris Cormier.
“I think it’s important for all major industry in Timmins to get together and share information that will work toward the betterment of the community as a whole.”
Joining Cormier on the panel are Terry DiTullio of NorFab Metal and Machine, Peter Calbick of Golden Chalice and Thompson Hickey of Xstrata Copper.
The focus of each panel is to provide insight into both the benefits and challenges of doing business in Timmins and its surrounding area.
Panelists will also provide thoughts and perspectives on what the future holds for their operations and their respective industries, given the current and future predicted economic conditions.
“It’s important to focus on the opportunities that currently exist,” Cormier told The Daily Press. “But we need to make sure people look at the long term, too.”
“Mines don’t last forever and exploration is a big part of our business.”
Cormier said when it comes to mining it’s not only about the here and now, but it’s also about ensuring communities like Timmins are able to sustain themselves and last another 100 years.
According to TREO’s co-chairwoman Debbie Browne, it was important to ensure there was a diverse representation on the three different panels being presented on May 28.
“We want to provide not only the larger mining company perspective and outlook,” Browne said in a recent media release, “but also the experiences and perspectives brought to the table by the junior mining companies who work directly with mining companies, such as NorFab Metal and machine.”
TREO itself is a biannual conference put together for business people, by business people. The point behind the event is to help businesses identify opportunities and access resources necessary for growth, expansion and success.
This year’s theme, “Get in the Know”, is designed to allow businesses better insight into the developments in the Northeast.
“It’s important for us to share information not only with the public, but with other companies,” Cormier said. “Maybe from these discussions we can learn a little from each other.”
Aside from the three panels, presentations will be made by Mayor Tom Laughren, Dave McGirr of the Timmins Economic Development Corporation and Ellen Sinclair of the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines.
For more information on this year’s event, taking place at Northern College, visit www.timminschamber.on.ca.
Mining Company Relocating, Expanding
By: Ron Grech
North Business Journal
The proposed expansion of the Pamour mine pit has prompted both the re-routing of Highway 11 and the relocation of a manufacturing company nearby.
NorFab Metal and Machine is moving approximately half a kilometer west of its current location. The move gives the company opportunity to expand its manufacturing plant while maintaining its frontage on Highway 101 near Porcupine.
“With the Pamour expansion, the highway was going to be re-routed close to our property and we were going to lose our highway frontage, which is something we didn’t want to see happen,” said Terry DiTullio, co-owner of NorFab. “We do get some portion of our business from people seeing us along the highway and dropping in. So that was something we felt was important to keep. We wouldn’t be moving otherwise.”
Some initial preparation work has been done on the site where the new plant will be built. DiTullio hopes that the new facility will be constructed and ready to move in by the end of next summer.
A six kilometer stretch of Highway 101 East between Hoyle and Porcupine is expected to be re-routed before the end of this year to accommodate the Pamour mine pit expansion.
The bulk of NorFab’s operations revolves around custom equipment fabrication for large mines and forestry companies throughout Northeastern Ontario. Some of the equipment NorFab produces includes underground rail equipment, chutes, scoop buckets, cylinders, and a wide range of structural steel fasteners.
The company’ s new manufacturing plant will house both the fabrication shop and the machine shop under one roof. The two shops currently operate in separate buildings next to each other.
“We’re increasing our building size by 1,500 square feet, to a total of 25,000 square feet,” said DiTullio.
He said that the two shops are jointly involved in many projects, so having everything under one roof should improve the operation’s efficiency and help to reduce the company’s heating bill.
“It takes time for an employee to get a piece of equipment on a forklift, put it on a palette and take it from one shop to the next. All that time adds up at the end of the year,” said DiTullio. “And in the winter months, every time you carry something from the machine shop to the fabrication shop, the doors open and heat escapes. That’s space that has to be reheated.”
“Our new building will have in-floor heating and more ventilation and basically a more productive shop environment. So we are definitely gaining by moving.”
The relocation and expansion is occurring at a time when the local economy is on an upswing because of spin-offs and business activity resulting from the Pamour open pit expansion, the development of Falconbridge’s Montcalm nickel mine project and the opening of a few other junior mines within the region.
“This has been a very good year. Everywhere you look, contractors from Sudbury to North Bay are busy and a lot of that has to do with the increased price of gold,” said DiTullio. “It’s been a very good year for everybody and hopefully it continues.”
NorFab was founded 12 years ago by DiTullio’s father Walter and Don Katic. Walter who entered the venture with about 40 years experience in the mining industry under his belt, is still involved with the company, but has since transferred much of his reigns of responsibility to his son Terry. Katic remains the other co-owner.
Expansion Leads to Opportunities
Local manufacturer maps out strategy to tap into world markets
By IAN ROSS
Northern Ontario Business
Times may be tough in the mining and forestry industry, but that does not mean NorFab Metal and Machine plans to dig in and ride out the down cycle. The Porcupine-based machine shop and mining equipment manufacturer demonstrated considerable faith in its expertise and in the eventual rebound of the metals market by expanding in to a new 20,000-square-foot facility and has devised a strategy to export their product line and knowledge on a national and worldwide scale.
“We never sit idle;” says production manager Dan Katic, “we are always doing something.” Since moving a few kilometers down Highway 101 into a new and expanded shop in December 2000, general manager Walter DiTullio says they “haven’t looked back.”
Though the bulk of their work revolves around custom equipment fabrication jobs for Kidd Creek, Kinross and Grant Forest Products, NorFab offers its own product line in shaft and underground hardware. The 25-employee outfit designs, builds and reconditions mining locomotives, personnel and utility carriers, ore cars, ballast cars and dump cars.
“We needed a bigger facility to try and widen our market with our product line,” says DiTullio, who co-founded the company in 1993 with Katic, and launched the business in 1994.
“Rail equipment for underground mining is our biggest product line,” says Katic.
“We’ve developed that over the years, and we want to keep expanding on that” by making export inroads into the states and abroad, says DiTullio.
Katic describes the company’s eight-year run as having grown in “leaps and bounds” from the more modest days when they started with five employees. Sales have since “skyrocketed” from that first year, with the company topping more than $4 million in sales last year. “We’re not just a backyard outfit,” says Katic. “We bought every bit of equipment we need to do our work and we’re still buying.” With the move, and the $700,000-investment, they purchased better equipment and installed a 330-tonne press brake, which bends steel plate into different shapes for ore chutes and hoppers.
They also added two overhead cranes with a combined 22.5-tonne capacity to handle some of the bigger jobs. “The mining industry has pretty well gone with open-pit mining, which requires very large-scale equipment,” says DiTullio.
“So we just basically scaled up everything to handle the market,” adds Katic.
Though it has been a rough couple of years for the mineral and natural resources sector, both say there is still money to be made for a company that establishes a certain standard of quality work, offering fair pricing and good service.
Much of their success they attribute to reinvestment in state-of-the-art equipment and recruiting and retaining a good mixture of experienced and young workers with an employee profit-sharing program. DiTullio, who is in his 60s, came into the venture with more than 40 years of mining experience in manufacturing and repair under his belt, while Katic, 30, graduated from Fanshawe College’s mechanical engineering program and delved straight into business at NorFab.
“As bad as it seems out there, there are people who are still doing well,” says Katic. “We haven’t given up on the Timmins area.” But that does not mean a total reliance on the Northern Ontario market either.
By networking through suppliers and local development officials, NorFab has begun servicing national clients such as Abitibi-Price and selling their equipment line to Canadian mining hot spots in Central and South America, though, for competitive reasons both DiTullio and Katic are reluctant to say exactly where. They hired a Web designer to display their wares online, and are extensively marketing over the internet.
Exports make up only a five per cent chunk of their product sales, but both have high hopes for the future.
“We were so busy over the first eight years just concentrating on Northern Ontario that we didn’t have to go elsewhere,” says Katic. “Now it’s time to make that second step and spread our wings.”
With more automation in mining and greater emphasis placed on operating efficiencies, both feel there is a lot of mining activity left in the region and it is only a matter of time before industry conditions improve.
“Let’s face it, the last six months didn’t look great,” says Katic. “It was grim. But just in the last month with the recent announcements (Kinross-Dome merger and three-way deal involving Kinross, Echo Bay and TVX) and Falconbridge’s Montcalm project, there’s reason to be optimistic.”