SAMSSA Member Hard Rock Expanding
Special Story by Jenny Lamothe for SAMSSA
June 14th 2017
Hardrock Mining Products, now Hardrock Vertex, has always specialized in securing what a company needs, when they need it; especially if that requirement is outside the box. Not something said of every mining and supply company, as Lou Sharrock, President, explains: “If you’re buying bananas, they’ve [large mining product suppliers] got bananas. But if you want a banana that is two inches longer, or fatter, or green or blue, then you’re limited to where you can go. If you need a banana tomorrow, you’re very limited to where you can go. Our strength has always been how flexible we are.”
With flexibility as your greatest strength, you can be sure that no two days will ever be the same, and that eventually, your ability to adapt will be tested beyond current means. When Sharrock joined Hardrock in 1994, the building that housed them was 30 years old, and would be a ‘temporary situation.’ Twenty years after that, the building itself was limiting Hardrock’s ability to do business, and with the need to bring a newly purchased company’s shop from Concord to Sudbury, the decision was an easy one to make, and a difficult one to fulfill.
First, the employees. “I wouldn’t have moved from the old place, unless most of the guys moved with me,” says Sharrock. “When we decided to move, we actually sat down and had a meeting and said listen, we’re moving, chances are we’re moving to the valley.” Sharrock worried employees would face insurmountable commutes, and noted that although finding a location closer to the existing would “slow me down,” he wanted his team with him. “And everybody did. Everybody moved.”
Hardrock Vertex Mining Products, newly located in a custom-built facility on White Street in Val Caron, has doubled their previous size to make room for bigger and better machines, the freedom to complete sub-contracting work for local companies, and to increase the workforce. “We’ve now got 15 people, so we’ve doubled the workforce.” And that’s only in the first 14 months of the new facilities opening. “Not sure if we’ll double it again in a year, but certainly another 30%.”
There will certainly be work for them. In addition to two friction welders onsite – a highly specialized machine that welds at the atomic level – Sharrock has his eye on another. Currently expanding their sub-contracting and joint partnerships, Hardrock Vertex is also expanding to other countries. “Opening up a new branch in Peru, and that’s going to happen in the next three or four months.” In addition to this new branch, the possibility of another depends on the year ahead.
Sharrock owns R & R Delivery, a transport company, and Hardrock Vertex has enlisted their services to transport parts from the Timmins/Matachewan area for re-manufacturing in Sudbury. “You [the end user] can straighten it, you can sharpen it, but we’re the manufacturer, we’ve already got the machines and the knowledge.” Depending on the success of the delivery system, Hardrock Vertex may open a satellite location to take over. “I believe by the end of October, I’m going to be ready to open up the department down there,” says Sharrock. “Certainly by the end of the year, I’ll have made the decisions.”
Of course, when you have a company that is led by one strong personality, there is the worry that a support system is not in place for future concerns. In fact, when Sharrock was negotiating a loan for the new building, his banker noted: “The biggest problem with Hardrock, is me. She said that.” Referring to Sharrock’s self-described need for control “I’ve always controlled all the strings at Hardrock, I’ve had them all in one hand,” he was told to set up a support system. Luckily, his wife Kate and son Kristian we’re already part of the Hardrock team. “I’ve been taking a step back, and Kristian’s taking a lot up,” says Sharrock, “And it’s making this company a lot stronger because it’s not relying on me as much.” Sharrock is hoping his son’s stewardship of the company will allow Sharrock time to visit out of country partners and clients, but also to allow him some freedom. “I’m getting to that age where, I still want to do it, I still want to be in control, but I want to build up a team behind me so when I want to take a month off, I can.”
Hard Rock Mining Products
Hardrock manufactures auger drill steel products for soft and hard rock mining operations. They can also custom design auger drill steel to meet your specifications.
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|Hardrock Mining Products are in a unique position to offer products for both the modern as well as the traditional mining methods. With the introduction of modern alloys and state of the art machinery, Hardrock’s products are on the cutting edge of new technology. Hardrock can supply either finished or twisted only products to be finished at the customer’s facilities. Hardrock Mining Products can design quality specialty drill steel products to custom fit your specific needs.Our product line includes Drill Bits, Drill Steel, Jumbo Rods, Auger Steel, Auger Rods, Auger Extensions, Extension Steel, Roofbolting Rods for all your Jackleg, Stoper and Rock Drilling applications.
Hardrock’s specialty drill steel products have consistently out-performed leading auger type drill steel products in salt, coal and potash mining operations.