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Timmins bucket shop expanding to new space

65,000-square-foot manufacturing facility to be ready by December

The Bucket Shop in Timmins is embarking on a $10-million expansion, which will include state-of-the-art equipment for ventilation, fume extraction, cutting and bending.

The Bucket Shop in Timmins is embarking on a $10-million expansion, which will include state-of-the-art equipment for ventilation, fume extraction, cutting and bending.

The Bucket Shop is all tapped out.

Its 26,000-square-foot shop in Timmins, where the company manufactures and refurbishes buckets for surface and underground mining, has no more room for office space, phone or Internet lines, bay space, or electrical capacity.

“We’ve really surpassed the building’s ability to house our day-to-day business, and we’re currently running double shifts,” said general manager Paul Woodward. “We’re working 20 hours a day as it is now, and there’s just not enough time or space in the day to get the work done.”

But that’s changing. The Bucket Shop is currently undergoing a $10-million expansion, which involves the construction of a brand-new facility that’s expected to be complete and operational by the end of the year.

Expansion of The Bucket Shop’s facilities has been on its to-do list for some time. On three previous occasions, the company had planned upgrades, but a dip in the economy gave them pause each time.

“This time around, there’s definitely no turning back,” Woodward said. “We’re definitely committed.”

Taking shape, just off the main highway through town, is a 65,000-square-foot steel structure that will eventually become The Bucket Shop’s fourth and final home, marking the third expansion for the company since its inception in 1990.

Woodward said the new space will include state-of-the-art technology for ventilation, fume extraction, cutting, and bending.

“We’ve really modernized the way that people look at doing buckets,” he said.

A centrepiece of the new facility will be a 70-tonne overhead crane, which will be one of the largest in the region. It’s currently designed to cater specifically to specialty work for the mining industry.

But that’s not to say that The Bucket Shop isn’t open to reaching out to new clientele or markets.

“When you create a facility like we are, it’s hard to say what work may follow, and when industry catches on to the kind of a facility that’s at their disposal in the North, it’s hard to say where it may go,” Woodward said.

The company used to have to go “banging on doors” to sell its products to clients, but a track record of good work and word-of-mouth referrals now mean that clients are coming to them, Woodward said.

The Bucket Shop has remained busy through the most recent industry downturn. With activity only set to increase with the ramp-up of area mining projects by IAMGOLD, Goldcorp and Detour Gold, Woodward doesn’t anticipate their order book to clear any time soon.

He credits innovation, particularly in extending product life, for the growth in awareness about The Bucket Shop and its offerings.

The most recent innovation is the HiPER line of castings that Woodward said extends the lifecycles of critical wear components on its ground-engaging tools.

“We’ve taken a design that’s 20 years old and we’ve reworked it to incorporate some new technology in abrasive-resistant materials, and we’ve been successful underground and on surface at providing customers four times the life of what they’ve been seeing since the beginning of time,” Woodward said. “So we’re really, really excited about that.”

The company has been making the rounds of the trade show circuit with its new products, first at the Canadian Mining Expo in Timmins in June, and next at MINExpo in Las Vegas in September.

As work slowly progresses on the new shop, Woodward’s dad and president of the company, Ross Woodward, remains at site overseeing the project, while Paul is back at the old facility managing the day-to-day operations.

The foundation work was completed last year, allowing the construction crew to avoid the mucky, muddy spring conditions this year.

“That work completed last year really allowed us to get going here very early,” Woodward said. “Mid-April, the snow was off and we were erecting steel, so it’s allowed us to fast-track and be in the building for December.”

The Bucket Shop currently employs close to 100 people, but the expansion will necessitate bringing on between 20 and 30 new hires, Woodward said.

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