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Expansion into surface work pays off for Alex MacIntyre.

Expansion into surface work pays off for Alex MacIntyre

The cyclical nature of the mining industry has taken many companies on a roller coaster ride over the years. Yet, reaching the heights of this ride has allowed Alex MacIntyre and Associates Ltd. of Kirkland Lake to see just a little farther in the future than some of its competitors.

Instead of concentrating solely on developing underground mines, the company decided to undertake some surface work as well.

And, so far, the firm's partners Doug MacIntyre and Syd McDougall have not been sorry they expanded their operations.

Doug and Syd are the sons of former company owners Alex MacIntyre and Jim McDougall, who bought the company in 1965 from F.A. MacIntyre. The current owners bought out the company from their fathers in 1978.

Striking out on their own, the pair found out that they had dues to pay. Diversification meant earning while learning, and the company started off with only one crawler-mounted drill for surface work. The job was done so well that the company started a successful relationship with Sherman Mine and continued with the mine until it ceased operations.

That experience introduced the company to stripping overburden for mineral exploration and trenching work. From there it became familiar with small open-pit operations.

The partners learned the diversification lesson so well that they are now considering expanding into consulting engineering work.

Being versatile is necessary if a company is to compete, particularly after the signing of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.

"This generation is going to have to learn how to compete. We have the technology, but we're not utilizing it," MacIntyre observes.

Part of being competitive is a commitment to quality.

"It's important to maintain quality to build your reputation," MacIntyre says.

The major problems the industry faces today are low metal prices and a soft investor market.

"The stock market is unpredictable. Money is there for mines with proven value, but not there for development," explains MacIntyre.

The elimination of the federal flow-through share incentive program hurt junior companies more than the major players. As a result, a lot of exploration work was halted and many mining firms began tightening their belts.

"Major mining companies spend tremendous amounts of money on exploration. With the elimination of flow-through shares there wasn't much of a downturn in dollars for exploration, but fewer companies were in the field," he says.

Alex MacIntyre and Associates responded by trimming overhead. The partners now monitor their books more closely and carefully cost out each job.

"We have very good people working for us, and they're interested in cost-saving," MacIntyre says of the company's staff of 110.

The company's biggest project so far has involved Inco's Birch Tree Mine in Thompson, Man., where it is involved in the installation of an automatic, high-speed rail system for the $85-million development program.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Laurentian Business Publishing, Inc.
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Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Mining Report; Alex MacIntyre and Associates Ltd.
Author:Patrick, Jim
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Article Type:company profile
Date:Jun 1, 1991
Previous Article:Smelter recycling process raises funds.
Next Article:Interest renewed in the Matachewan area.

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