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Timmins drawing new business with industrial rail park

The City of Timmins is nearing completion on its 36-acre industrial rail park, which is attracting clients that require direct access to a rail line.
The industrial rail park constructed in the east end of Timmins features INEOS Calabrian as an anchor tenant, and other companies are looking to take advantage of the location. John Thib photo

Work on Timmins’ industrial rail park is nearing completion, and it’s proving so successful, the city is considering an expansion to accommodate more tenants.

The 36-acre park, located off Hallnor Road in Porcupine, just east of the city, was envisioned by the Timmins Economic Development Corp. (TEDC) as a way to attract new business to the community.

Last October, it announced it had secured an anchor tenant, INEOS Calabrian Inc., which manufactures liquid sulphur dioxide for the mining industry. Key to Calabrian’s decision to locate there was access to the nearby rail line.

Christy Marinig, the TEDC’S CEO, said the project has come together quickly, and is bringing with it highly skilled, good-paying jobs, in addition to a new spinoff for the mining supply industry.

“It’s reducing the input costs for our regional mines, and it also imports something that was brought from outside into Timmins and area,” she said. “So, as part of our gap analysis, it brought in a product that was being outsourced from the region before.”

Construction on the park began last winter and has been developed in phases. First a working pad was laid down so that Calabrian could start building its facility as soon as possible. The company is working toward a deadline of the end of 2016.

From there, gas, hydro, and telephone capabilities were installed at the park — that was completed through the summer, Marinig said — in addition to geotechnical studies and site layouts, including a rail spur design for Calabrian.

Water main and road upgrades were completed in late October, and the rail spur coming off the main ONR rail line was expected to be done by early November.

Aside from Calabrian, Jiangsu Tianlong Continuous Basalt Fiber Co. Ltd., a Chinese business that manufactures rock wool insulation, signed a letter of intent in November 2015 to set up a facility in the park. Discussions between the firm and the city are ongoing.

But the planned basalt facility is so large — 500,000 square feet — that the remaining plots wouldn’t be sufficient enough and the park would need to be expanded, Marinig said.

Another three clients are also in the queue, and so the TEDC is awaiting confirmation before going ahead with expansion.

“Once this plot is all completed, then we would look at another possible location,” she said. “But first we want to make sure that this one is sold out before we move on to the next plot of land.”

One plot remains available at the industrial rail park, but what business might be secured there is dependent upon the size requirements of the tenant.

Marinig said the site is being reserved for a  client that requires access to the rail line, since those plots are limited.

“There are other industrial sites in Timmins that are privately owned and publicly owned that don’t have a need for rail,” she said. “But this one is on the main rail line, and all the clients that we want to have locate there have an immediate need for rail.”

In doing this, not only is the city providing a service to clients, but it’s helping to secure more clients for Ontario Northland, Marinig added.

Beyond the work of the TEDC for scouting potential tenants, Marinig credits the efforts of city staff in helping bring the project to fruition.

“Kudos to the engineering and planning and building team at the City of Timmins because it’s due to a great part of their efforts that these things go on time and on budget,” she said.

“So, engineering and planning and building played a huge role in making this all work and come together in the end.”

Once spring arrives, the only work left to be done will be to apply the final layer of asphalt on the roads.