It only opened the first week of January in the City of North Bay, but its impact is already being felt beyond the city’s borders. Norglav Limited’s newly constructed galvanizing plant is on-track to be a great addition to the area’s industrial sector.
With the construction of the $21 million/35,000-square-foot facility, Norgalv aims to serve the galvanizing needs of Northern Ontario’s mining supply and service industry. The company also hopes to draw future customers from other regions while creating manufacturing opportunities in and around North Bay. While much of the processing will be automated in the state-of-the-art plant, there will be important employment benefits for the local community.
“We created 11 jobs during the construction phase and have grown to 30 employees already,” said Andre van Soelen, Managing Director of Norgalv,. “We’re at 1.5 shifts which will soon be two. We will continue with this workforce during the initial phases of operation and will scale up as production increases. When we eventually get to a three-shift operation, we will have a workforce of approximately 45 people.”
The project was supported and funded by the Northern Ontario heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (FEDNOR) and the City of North Bay. That made determining the location for the new galvanizing plant an easy decision according to Norgalv.
“The main reason North Bay was chosen is that Northern Ontario until now has not had any galvanizing capacity,” said van Soelen. “This despite having high demand, and North Bay, being the most central, is able to serve Sudbury, Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie, and even regions like Barrie/Muskoka, the Ottawa Valley, and Northeastern Quebec.”
While the full menu of products that could potentially be fabricated in the North Bay facility have yet to be determined, the plant is already galvanizing a mix of structural steel, mining products, temporary structures, boat trailers and more. It could also attract other industries that could work in concert with the plant’s production capabilities.
“There isn’t another galvanizing plant in Northern Ontario, so certain products like scaffolding aren’t produced locally,” said van Soelen. “It just wouldn’t be worth manufacturing a product like that here if you had to ship it south for processing. Now that Norgalv is here, fabricators can expand their business options here and potentially look to ship finished product across the country and beyond.”
Van Soelen indicated that many other sectors require hot-dip galvanizing, including telecommunications, road infrastructure, agriculture, petroleum and power generation. Products that could now be manufactured in Northern Ontario include everything from greenhouses to hydro towers. Ultimately, the impact of the plant’s opening on the local economy will be felt far into the future.
“We can create a more diverse economy here,” said Van Soelen. “I think it will get easier to recruit people to the north as more people understand the benefits of living in a smaller community with access to infrastructure that allows them to market products across the country and beyond.”
To learn more, go to www.norgalv.ca.