Meeting the demands

SMS Equipment Ltd. in Elkford is building a new facility and hiring more employees

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The Elkford branch of SMS Equipment Ltd. is a major supplier of equipment and mechanical services to Fording River Operations and Teck’s other mines in the Elk Valley. To keep up with the growth of the mines and its other customers, the branch is currently building a 50,000-square-foot facility at a new location on Intata Road.

Seko Construction Ltd. is the primary contractor of the project, and when it is complete, the building will house a full-service welding shop, warehouse and a painting and washing facility. According to Bryce Short, who is the operations manager of SMS Equipment Ltd. in Elkford, the new facility should be complete by January of 2013. The branch’s existing facility will then be upgraded and converted into a full-service mechanical shop.

SMS Equipment Ltd. in Elkford is planning to increase its capacity of employees as well. Right now, the branch employs approximately 200 tradespeople and office staff members. Short said the branch will hire an additional 100 or more employees within the next few years.

Advancements in the industry

The branch in Elkford was built in 1983 to accommodate 170-tonne trucks, Short said, and those trucks were considered large at that time. Today, haul trucks at the mines in the Elk Valley have much greater capacities and Short said that they are more technologically advanced and more sensitive to the environment.

“Over the years, we have had to expand and move forward to keep up with the various changes and requirements of the mining industry,” said Short. “With our new facility in Elkford, it will demonstrate the company’s long-term and ongoing commitment to its customers, employees and the local communities.”

The valley and beyond

SMS Equipment Ltd. is a nationwide corporation that serves the construction, forestry, mining and utility industries throughout Canada. It is one of the largest suppliers of Komatsu equipment in the world.

Kirsten Armleder

Kirsten is a staff writer and photographer for Kootenay Business who enjoys learning more about the people who help this region thrive. View all of Kirsten Armleder’s articles

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