Sudbury offers base for Chinese supplier
Sanland Canada celebrates five years in country
Five years ago, China’s Shenyang Sanland Mining Equipment Manufacture Company decided it was time to target the Canadian mining market and selected Sudbury, Ontario as its base of operations for North America. Today, Sanland Canada has a fully staffed office and warehouse in the city and does business through contractors and engineering firms across Canada.
Located in Shenyang, an industrial city of eight million people 690 kilometres northeast of Beijing, Sanland manufactures a wide variety of crushers, bar and ball mills, grizzly feeders, vibratory screens, conveyor systems and wear parts for mining operations in more than 60 countries. It’s also licensed to manufacture Nordberg Symons cone and impact crushers.
The company has more than 1,000 employees and operates out of a large ISO9001:2000-certified manufacturing plant with state-of-the-art machinery, including a 6.3-metre vertical lathe, an 8-metre hobbing machine, a 200-metre floor-type boring machine and an 80-tonne overhead crane. The modern manufacturing facility includes a casting shop, a forging shop and a machining shop.
The Canadian-based subsidiary is managed by Kevin Ma, who came to Canada five years ago with his family, and sales manager Keith Crossgrove, son of Sudbury-born mining legend Peter Crossgrove, who passed away in June 2015.
Sudbury was selected, said Ma, because of its reputation as Canada’s premier mining centre.
Sanland Canada rarely sells directly to mines, instead focusing its efforts on contractors and engineering firms that already have strategic relationships in the mining industry. The company does most of its sales in the U.S. and Mexico through dealers, but will quote on sales for new customers, and exhibits at trade shows in both countries, including MinExpo in Las Vegas.
Installations are left to contractors, but Sanland personnel are available for support and advice as required. Currently, for example, Sanland’s Sudbury-based team is working with First Cobalt, a junior miner that has extensive property holdings in the Cobalt camp. Though still years away from mining, the company is seeking advice on what it will need and how much to budget for processing equipment. “It’s not something you can do overnight,” said Crossgrove. “It takes years, so they’re trying to get ahead of the game.”
The Chinese parent was owned by Northern Heavy Industry (NHI), a state-owned company, but was privatized 25 years ago, said Ma. The two companies still work together with Sanland making parts for NHI and reselling NHI products, including rubber liners for ball mills and conveyor systems.
Sanland Canada recently invested in an office and warehouse facility in Val Caron, north of Sudbury’s core, to stock wear parts for its North American customers.
Until now, it has shipped wear parts direct from its plant in Shenyang, but most shipments are by sea and can take time. If a customer requires a part in an emergency, it can be shipped by air freight, but the cost of transportation will often exceed the value of the part, so stocking parts in Sudbury can expedite deliveries in rush situations.
People in the mining industry probably don’t realize how much equipment and parts are sourced from China, said Ma. Often, mining companies and engineering firms place their orders through contractors and suppliers, and have no idea where equipment and components are sourced.
There’s often the perception that Chinese products are inferior in quality, noted Crossgrove, but generalizing about Chinese quality is unfair as there are companies like Sanland with excellent reputations and others that don’t measure up to North American standards.
In the final analysis, it’s a question of quality and price. “If I’m up against a competing bid from another Chinese company,” said Crossgrove, “I know I can win on quality.”