Sandvik partners with arctic distribution expert Northern Networks

2.12.2019, 22:20 - eeppo

Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology has partnered with Northern Networks Ltd, an established Inuit partner to bring Sandvik products to mines in Nunavut.

Sandvik’s distribution partnership with Northern Networks Credit: Sandvik Mining

Peter Corcoran, Managing Director of Sandvik Canada Inc., started thinking about potential distribution channels in Canada’s north as soon as it became clear that major miners like Agnico Eagle Mines would not be deterred by challenges presented by a northern environment when developing their arctic mines.

“Our customers are our partners,” says Corcoran “and they are building these new mines in the north.” The northern environment brings unique challenges to providing support to customers like monitoring the spring time ice melt to schedule parts and equipment for barges, building ice roads and working with local communities’ resources. In order to properly serve these customers Corcoran knew that in the long run Sandvik would need to leverage the expertise of an established and experienced local Inuit partner to efficiently bring Sandvik’s products to Nunavut’s mines.

“Sandvik believes for mining to prosper in Canada the communities that are impacted by these mining projects will need to be involved,” Corcoran explains, “and the mining companies need Indigenous groups in the region to be a part of their businesses long term. Recognizing that, Sandvik has built this strategy to have a partner in these areas and we have been fortunate in finding Northern Networks Ltd. in Nunavut.”

According to Derrick Webster, Chief Operating Officer of Eskimo Point Lumber Supply and Northern Networks Ltd, the company was built to serve Nunavut – “We are actually in the community, with local infrastructure, people, equipment, and when a mine needs something we are here.” Becoming an authorized Sandvik distribution partner will allow Northern Networks Ltd to leverage their extensive knowledge of Canada’s north to support the growth of the mining industry and stimulate further economic development in their community.

For Ryan St John, President & Chief Executive Officer of Eskimo Point Lumber Supply and Northern Networks Ltd, it has always been about supporting his community and staying true to his values. The company is proud that 60% of its 170 employees come from local Inuit communities. “Sandvik is a really good fit for [Northern Networks Ltd] because our values align in terms of honesty and transparency,” St John says.

“We like aligning ourselves with companies that want to be the best, that is what we strive to do every day” St John explains. “What appealed to us with Sandvik was that they are the best in their field in terms of technology, they are continually improving, advancing, creating that value for customers, and creating opportunities for the communities we serve.”

Northern Networks Ltd is an Arviat, Nunavut based, majority Inuit-owned distributor with operations in Rankin Inlet, and specializes in contracting, procurement, and strategic partnerships. The company is a part of the Eskimo Point Lumber Supply group of companies, which was named one of Canada’s 500 fastest growing companies in 2018. Northern Networks Ltd. has been operating and generating employment opportunities in its community since 1993 and obtained its official certification of Inuit firm status in 1995.

Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology’s full suite of products including surface and underground drills, underground loaders and trucks, automation and digital solutions, rock tools, and parts will be available through Northern Networks Ltd starting November 1, 2019.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)