Marcotte Mining Machinery Inc


Marcotte Mining Machinery Inc., of Sudbury, Ontario, has enjoyed 30 years of continuous operation since its inception in 1979. It is part of engineering product solutions company The Timberland Group and has become a tried and tested supplier of mining equipment and a successful piece of the parent group’s overall equation.

“We’re continuously working on improving equipment and keeping up with technology and working on different types of projects that go on within mining. There are many different types of mines so we do everything whether that means making smaller equipment or bigger equipment” Marcotte’s General Manager Denis Rienguette says.

“New development is obviously an ongoing project. We try to get that extra niche in the market to step ahead of our competitors.”

IRJ spoke with Rienguette about Marcotte’s services today and the company’s tactics to tackle the economic downturn in the coming months.

Shifting Focus to Safety
Rienguette entered the mining machinery industry in 1988.

“I came from the transport industry and mining was a higher wage paying industry which was growing consistently every year so it was very attractive in the market” he says.

This lucrative era sparked growth and development for this already diverse industry, something which Rienguette says is ongoing today.

“We have so many different mining companies that we deal with so it’s a constant shift in how you go about servicing a customer because they’re all different operations. You go from gold mines which is very small narrow vein type of mining so you’re always developing something which can fit with what they want to do and that changes on a regular basis. Then take uranium mining; you have different rules all over again, you have pot ash, you have all different nickel kinds of mining” he says.

“We have production and non-production equipment. Some equipment is just to support the front line and we also have equipment which works directly in the front line of the mine too, so it’s for the guys that go in and load explosives and that level. We have equipment that they use to do that. When you drill, blast, and extract the ore, that’s the front line. We have other equipment for piping and ventilation and those things” he summarizes.

“We have equipment to haul material, to load explosives, fuel trucks to go round and service the equipment too.”

Rienguette explains that Marcotte’s rigorous manufacturing, testing and development work spans a large range of mining machinery units. Each of these has to match up to demanding safety regulations which continue to evolve today.

“The biggest change has been safety of the equipment. Safety seems to be number one now with all of our customers. At one time the thought was that the most important thing coming out of the mine everyday was the minerals and now it’s not, it’s the worker. Everybody seems to push for safety now when we’re selling machinery so it has to meet all of the regulations and standards and it’s actually scrutinized very closely now” he says.

“The actual testing is scrutinized and documented so we’ll do a mobile test on an external ramp that meets the same degrees as underground and that involves very rigorous ramp testing. You actually beat the machine up to make sure of its performance and to make sure that it’s going to be safe for a long time underground.”

Rienguette says the ergonomics of Marcotte’s products are of greater concern now than ever.

“People are in the seat of that machine for a long period of time. One concern is how they get in and out of the machine. We went from “yes, maybe put a handle there” to “no, if it doesn’t have handles and steps all at the right heights and locations, it’s not coming out” and that’s all part of the regulations.”

But Marcotte does not stop there. In keeping with its flexible and forward-thinking work ethic, the company will do whatever it takes to give the customer what they want.

It’s basically our ability to change quickly right down to changing the design of our equipment. Lots of customers want entirely different things and where other companies might say “this won’t sell” we don’t because we’re a custom company and we’ll customize a machine any time, it’s always been our philosophy” Rienguette says.

“If the customer wants a set of changes which are not part of the regular design, it’s never an issue.”

In fact the strong business relationship cultivated by Marcotte and their tireless efforts to deliver exactly what their customer desires has been a key factor as they make plans to tackle these tough financial times.

Marcotte and Tomorrow’s Market
Rienguette says that the global economic crisis has not impacted very heavily upon the company yet.

“The market has been terrible but we have lots of backorders so we only really started seeing it two months or so ago. It’s the lack of new bookings that’s going to affect the balances over the year. Like a lot of people we’ve gone ahead and made some stock units because we know this is a yoyo market so it’s up and down and right now it’s back up but the customers are reluctant to spend money because they are unsure how long it’s going to stay up” he explains.

“2010 is somewhat discussed in the market and with the customers that we deal with on the corporate level as being the year things come back to normal, although we’re not sure what that definition is going to be just yet. The boom in 2011 should be back to the high that we were at because of the demand on the market.”

With these optimistic industry rumblings and a 30 year strong record of excellence, Marcotte is sticking to its plans for the coming months and years.

“We’re holding our own” Rienguette says.

“Our long term goal is to double our business in the next five years, that’s part of our corporate strategy.  We’re only one company out of five in our group and because we’re looking at doubling that in the next five years, each company has to pull their socks up; acquisitions and changing our market strategy”

If Marcotte Mining Machinery Inc.’s track record is anything to go by, this goal appears to be well within the company’s reach.