October 3, 2023

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‘Back in business’: Cape Breton gypsum quarry gets $104M expenditure to restart operations

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Minimal NARROWS, N.S. — Paul MacNeil fondly remembers his times performing at the gypsum quarry in Minimal Narrows.

“I worked there for 23 years, in all facets of the mine,” MacNeil reported. “It was near to household a fantastic-spending occupation for the place all the workers they had have been terrific. The organization was a very good a person to operate for — undoubtedly good for the group.”

MacNeil, now the District 1 councillor for Victoria County who signifies the Little Narrows space, joined county Deputy Mayor Larry Dauphinee, Inverness MLA and provincial Finance Minister Allan MacMaster and Chris Griffin, chief executive of United States Gypsum (USG) Corp., in a Tuesday announcement of a $104-million financial commitment more than a few a long time to relaunch the shuttered Little Narrows gypsum quarry.

“It’s great to see one particular of Victoria County’s major businesses back again in business enterprise,” mentioned MacNeil, incorporating that he remembers at a single position there ended up concerning 140 and 150 people today operating at the quarry throughout his tenure.

Canadian Gypsum Firm (CGC) Inc., a subsidiary of USG Corp. and proprietors of the Minor Narrows facility, will be generating the financial investment to revitalize and relaunch a state-of-the-art gypsum quarry on the existing mine footprint, element of efforts to reinforce its provide of uncooked gypsum substance to satisfy a demand for wallboard solutions, explained Griffin.

From left, Victoria County Coun. Paul MacNeil, Chris Griffin, CEO of USG Corp., Allan MacMaster, provincial finance minister and Inverness MLA, and Larry Dauphinee, deputy warden for Victoria County, unveil a portrait of a revitalized Very little Narrows Quarry, which is expected to reopen in 2026. IAN NATHANSON/CAPE BRETON Write-up – IAN NATHANSON/CAPE BRETON Write-up

Extra than 100 careers

As soon as the mine turns into completely operational, Griffin reported the quarry will assist additional than 100 lengthy-term, mining jobs, these as heavy tools operators, lab professionals and engineers.

“The revitalization period by itself will also make substantial economic rewards and spinoffs, via source and assistance contracts via regional vendors,” Griffin informed a smaller group of businesspeople, municipal and provincial politicians and some previous mining personnel.

The challenge will also include the design of a new dock and shiploader, new crusher and conveyor techniques, and new mining products, these kinds of as drills, loaders, excavators and haul vans.

The Little Narrows Quarry, which has been shuttered since 2016, is aiming to reopen in 2026, according to owners CGC Inc. IAN NATHANSON/CAPE BRETON POST - IAN NATHANSON/CAPE BRETON POST
The Minor Narrows Quarry, which has been shuttered given that 2016, is aiming to reopen in 2026, according to house owners CGC Inc. IAN NATHANSON/CAPE BRETON Submit – IAN NATHANSON/CAPE BRETON Submit

Considering the fact that 1935

CGC — deemed a top marketer, maker and distributor of gypsum wallboard merchandise — obtained the quarry in 1954 from the previous Victoria Gypsum Co. which began gypsum manufacturing in Very little Narrows again in 1935. By 1987, much more than 21.4 million tonnes of gypsum and 1.4 million of anhydrite ended up getting developed at the quarry, in accordance to a former provincial mines and strength section report from 1988. By 2015, web income coming out of the operation had been all-around $6 million.

The 2008 economic downturn commenced to have an effect on the mine’s production and ultimately led to the facility shuttering operations in 2016.

“It was on existence aid from 2010 to 2016,” Griffin claimed. “Before the economic downturn, from this locale in Small Narrows, we had been delivery three million tons of rock up and down the Japanese seaboard. And that arrived to a halt during the economic downturn. We owned two of our have self-unloading, 40,000-ton ships that had been idled. So that produced it a quite hard determination to arrive below (then) to idle this quarry.”

Developing housing industry

Griffin stated what prompted the thought to reopen the mine stemmed from a increasing housing market throughout North The usa, “and 50 for each cent of all the solutions we make with gypsum go straight into new household building,” he explained.

He added that synthetic gypsum, “which we pioneered 50 several years in the past, was a byproduct of burning coal, is little by little heading away, as far more and additional states are replacing that with pure gas. As artificial gypsum is declining, need for wallboard is expanding, which indicates we require far more natural rock.”

Chris Griffin, CEO of USG Corp.:
Chris Griffin, CEO of USG Corp.: “Demand for wallboard is raising.” IAN NATHANSON/CAPE BRETON Article – IAN NATHANSON/CAPE BRETON Put up


  •  Opened: 1935
  •  Current possession: CGC Inc., the Canadian division of USG Corp., who took in excess of in 1954
  •  Employee count: Peaked at 150 in advance of the 2008 recession
  •  Eyeing reopening: 2026
  •  Jobs to be developed: Far more than 100
  •  Tonnage of gypsum: Up to two million tonnes of raw gypsum content for every 12 months
  •  Shipping spots: North America’s japanese seaboard, such as Montreal

Up to two million tonnes

The quarry has ordinarily transported the merchandise down the Eastern Seaboard from its place near the shore of the Bras d’Or Lake, and options for the mine’s reopening, predicted in 2026, will carry on to observe that development, explained Griffin. He added the revitalized Little Narrows quarry will produce up to two million tonnes of raw gypsum material for each yr, and the substance will be transported by boat to CGC and USG producing places together North America’s japanese seaboard, such as Montreal.

“Our target is to check out and have somewhere between 50 and 100 years’ really worth of rock for all of our plants. This (quarry) will assistance at least five of our facilities among Montreal and Jacksonville, Fla.,” he explained.

Griffin reported with buying new devices, fixing up infrastructure, placing in a new conveyer belt operation and more, he estimated it will most likely get about three years to get the procedure back up and working.

He included that on the occupation front, CGC will be not only seeking at new hires but also former quarry staff members.

Roadway repairs

One other upgrading need will be the roadway major to the quarry and its functions. A present-day drive together that portion of Little Narrows Road, which also sales opportunities to the communities of Washabuck and South Cove, will want potholes fixed up and any latest highway dips corrected.

MacMaster, showing on behalf of Victoria-The Lakes MLA and Household Speaker Keith Bain, reported for staff who do consider a person of 100 or so employment up on supply, “we’ve been growing the road budgets the past few of decades. If there is trucking or materials currently being introduced in, we want to make positive the roadways are in great affliction. So we’re investing additional funds into our roadways.”

Byron MacMillian, a previous mine manager who very first began doing work at the quarry as a portion-timer in 1979, explained Tuesday’s announcement will hopefully spawn a new era of employees that will devote on their own to earning the operation as enjoyable as he felt during his tenure.

“We were being maxing out 1.5 million tons of gypsum at that time,” he mentioned. “It’s the persons here that built a big difference for me.”

Ahead of he entered the political planet, Derek Mombourquette recalled his days as an industrial distributor in the group who delivered goods to the quarry.

“I was a single of the suppliers who introduced around many of the supplies that were essential to mine gypsum,” the Sydney-Membertou MLA said. “For a person starting out in business enterprise and in revenue, me paying out five decades undertaking this, these fellas at CGC were being fantastic to function with.”

– Ian Nathanson is a mutlimedia journalist with the Cape Breton Post. Observe him on Twitter @CBPost_Ian.