Big mining machines put small Ontario town on the map
The Town of Thornbury, Ont. is best known locally for its picturesque harbour, the restaurants, boutiques and antiques.
What’s going on inside a building on a quiet side street is putting Thornbury on the world stage. Breaker Technology Inc. (BTI) designs and manufactures mining equipment.
We are in Russia, Africa, Australia, South America and China, those are the main mining regions in the world,” says BTI’s Terry McKague. “Anywhere they are mining minerals, BTI has been involved.”
McKague is the customer service manager in Thornbury where 170 people work fabricating just about every part of the machines they build here.
Jim Dube says the company has grown since he started working here as a teenager.
“They have changed a lot, yes,” he says. “Most people around town have no idea about what happens inside these walls.”
BTI has been located here in Thornbury for more than 50 years and the company has just reached another important milestone. It has just finished building its 2,000th rock breaking system and it’s no ordinary piece of mining equipment.
It is the largest rock breaker in the world.
This giant hydraulic-powered boom carries a rock breaker on the end. It was built for an iron ore mine in Labrador.
BTI is also leading the industry in "remotely operated equipment" which allows people to stay safe on the surface while machines do the work underground. McKague says doing everything themselves is the key to their success.
“We try to build it all in house that way we keep better control of our quality, and it also creates employment for our employees as well,” he says.
Crick Merry and Elizabeth Smith have lived in the area for years, they had no idea that industry was hard at work just a few blocks away from main street
“A world class machine manufacturer right here in tiny little Thornbury, I never knew, fantastic,” Merry says.
After one more week of testing, the world largest rock breaking system will be disassembled and shipped out by the end of the month.