LLRIB Signs On To Gravel Crushing Partnership

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 15:14



A new gravel crushing partnership to build roads in northern Saskatchewan was unveiled earlier today.


The partnership involves Saskatchewan Highways and Transportation, the Lac La Ronge Indian Band and the Ochapowace First Nation.


LLRIB’s economic development arm, Kitsaki Management, and Ochapowace-owned Lonesome Prairie Sand and Gravel are joining forces to form a new northern gravel company.


Asiniy Gravel Crushing will see 350,000 tonnes of aggregate crushed annually for up to four years to help build roads in the North.


The government says the value of the work is in excess of $20 million and will create up to 20 new full-time jobs.


The contract is being awarded under the provincial government’s $65-million Roads to Prosperity program known as the Northern Economic Infrastructure Strategy.


NEIS is aiming to connect isolated northern communities to the broader provincial transportation network.


Northern Affairs Minister Joan Beatty notes northerners have often had difficulty bidding on larger projects due to a lack of expertise and capital. Beatty says the government is trying to give smaller companies a chance with the road-building contracts under NEIS.


Saskatchewan Highways says it approached northern entrepreneurs about creating a “made-in-the-North” gravel crushing operation this past winter.


The department says it asked start-up companies to partner with more established firms and explain how they would create a greater skilled workforce in the North.


Asiniy — which means “rock” in Cree — came out on top in the bidding process.


The company plans to bring in qualified trades people to provide on-the-job training at a mobile crushing facility.


The goal is to have a viable company long after NEIS is over.


Kitsaki CEO Russell Roberts says a handful of northern residents are now receiving their training with Lonesome Prairie’s Saskatoon crushing operation.


Roberts says they should be finished their training once Asiniy is fully operational by July.