Orca expansion could lead to ten new jobs

A local business could potential bring ten new jobs to the area

Regional District of Mount Waddington administration has met with Polaris Minerals Corporation representatives to discuss their proposal to apply for a licence of occupation on a parcel of land adjacent to their current leased property.

According to Manager of Economic Development Pat English, Polaris is looking at “a piece of Crown land to develop a small quarry. It will help increase the efficiency of their current operation.

“The board is generally supportive of it. It is a permitted use in the area and it increases the violability of the existing business,” English said.

Demand for their product is the reason behind the application, said Polaris President and CEO Herb Wilson.

“We’ve got an out of balance situation at the Orca Quarry. We’ve got customers screaming at us for more of the coarse material. We’ve got a real shortage,” said Wilson.

“We have the capacity to process a little more (coarse material). The area that we’re interested in is access to a mineral that is exactly the same mineral that our gravel has come from.”

Wilson said the expansion would create “10 well-paid jobs for the North Island” on the actual site and on transportation into the quarry.

“If we can get the tenure, then what we need to look at is the environmental components. We’re not going to spoil what we think is our good reputation by not developing this properly.

“I think its really a fairly benign activity there,” Wilson said.

“It’s not an unusual activity, if you like. In that location there are existing quarries around there,” he said.

In the best case scenario “maybe we could be operating at the beginning of 2017,” said Wilson.

Polaris Materials Corporation owns 88 per cent of Orca Sand & Gravel Ltd. with the remaining 12 per cent interest held by the ‘Namgis First Nation. The Orca Quarry, which opened in 2007, is located west of Port McNeill. The processing plant produces three washed products: large (one inch) gravel, small (1/2 inch) gravel and concrete sand. The Orca Quarry is permitted to produce 6.6 million tons of sand and gravel per year and has a dedicated ship loading facility capable of rapidly loading ships and barges, including ‘Panamax’ vessels with a capacity of up to 80,000 tons. Polaris is well established as a supplier of high quality sand and gravel concrete aggregates in northern California. The Orca products have also been used in many projects in Vancouver and Honolulu, Hawaii.

The company has won two major awards for environmental responsibility.

 

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