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Gold mines keep Canun International busy

December 1, 2009
by Adelle Larmour
In: News with 0 Comments

Maintaining a quality product has kept Canun International’s pneumatic rock drills in demand for almost 20 years.Since 1991, this Sudbury-based mining supplier has made the extra effort to keep the Canadian-made seal on its products, said Canun vice-president Peter Cirelli.
“We continue to get it made in Canada and try to keep it that way,” he said, adding that he is the only one of his competitors who has made a conscious choice not to out-source his product.The company has a head office in Sudbury, where 10 employees inspect, test and assemble the drills, and oversee a million-dollar parts inventory. There is also a Toronto facility, which manufactures the majority of the parts.Two years ago, the four co-owners divided the company into two distinct entities. Cirelli now co-owns the Sudbury-based Canun International and continues to source parts from the Toronto area manufacturing company. A mechanical engineer, Cirelli has had extensive experience with rock drills throughout his 30-year career in the mining industry. It was this cumulative work for various drill companies during the 1980s that eventually led him to rise out of the ashes of bankruptcies and acquisitions to establish Canun International.”The drill was already made, but we made it better and strengthened different areas,” he said. “We’re constantly looking at ways to make it better.”

Made in Canada

Since 1991, the company has offered quality Canadian-made products to the mining, construction and quarrying industries. The mining industry accounts for the lion’s share of sales. Approximately 25 per cent of its business is for new drills. Spare parts account for the rest.

Employees of the ISO 9001:2000-registered Sudbury business keep busy inspecting, organizing and packaging parts.

“We have 100 per cent inspection on everything we do,” Cirelli stressed. “No product gets out of our door without someone inspecting it first.”

Inspection checklists are followed and signed off. The product is then wrapped in recycled paper, labelled and placed on the parts shelves or delivered to the client. Every item can be traced back via a reference number.

A mechanic will also perform drill repairs as requested, and go out and train clients how to repair the drills themselves.

Presently, the strong demand for gold is keeping the drills rolling out the door to gold mines in Northern Ontario, Quebec, the United States, Central and South America, Australia and Russia.

“Gold mines use a lot of jacklegs and stopers in their business because they follow the small veins of ore,” Cirelli explained. “Our equipment is made for that. We’ve been fairly busy in the last while because of the gold mining activity.”

Construction and quarrying account for a small percentage of the company’s sales, but present Canun International with special challenges.

Cirelli recalls one company, for example, that needed a special drill for quarrying dimensional stone. They required one- to two-inch drill holes to drill out a five-by-five-by-five-foot piece of dimensional granite for manufacturing gravestones and granite countertops.

“You can’t blast it. You have to be consistent, so they used our drills.”

Canun International drills were used at the site of the twin towers in New York after 9/11 when construction workers had to go underground to clear away debris.

The company’s drills have also been used in sewer tunnels in California as well as for some tunnel work under the Library of Parliament in Ottawa about five years ago when the Parliament Hill landmark was renovated.

Regardless of the application, Canun rock drills have proven to be a valuable and reliable Canadian-made product for the industries it has served.

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