Courtesy of Komatsu.com As he was on the verge of retirement, Marc Riverin leaped instead into a new venture by partnering with Michel Miller to buy Rénald Côté Inc. The company, based in Baie-Comeau, Quebec, already had more than 30 years of experience in the construction business. Mr. Riverin and Mr. Miller, two seasoned entrepreneurs, brought a second wind to the firm, which became Rénald Côté 2007 Inc., and is now known as RCI.
The purchase marked a significant turn in Mr. Riverin’s life. Instead of enjoying a quiet retirement, he reentered the work force and set his sights on northern Quebec, an area of major construction and civil engineering projects. RCI has been active there for nearly four years, working primarily for mining companies, such as Cliffs National Resources and Consolidated Thompson. More recently, they have begun working with Arcelor Mittal in the Fermont and Lac Bloom areas, where the mining industry is in full expansion.
Initially RCI’s main activity was to excavate overburden to supply the mine crusher. In time, RCI also began performing stripping and excavation work and transporting materials within the mine, using an impressive fleet of Komatsu equipment.
RCI’s work includes a large volume of crushing, particularly for building mine roads and dykes. To meet the demand, the company uses three Kleemann primary crushers, as well as Kleemann screeners. It recently acquired from SMS the first secondary cone crusher manufactured in North America, also by Kleemann. This crushing capability gives RCI the quality of crushed stone it requires to maintain the roads used by 240-tonne mining trucks.
A fleet of equipment from SMS
RCI also produces aggregate for Arcelor Mittal. Trucks from a fleet that includes eight Komatsu HD605s, 10 HM400 dumpers and four HD325s haul the material.
RCI’s excavation fleet comprises more than 30 excavators, most from Komatsu, including a PC1250LC-8 and a PC800LC-8, acquired this year. The most recent addition to RCI’s earthmoving armada is a WA900 wheel loader, added to an already imposing fleet of 30 loaders of various load capacities active on its jobsites.
With such an impressive fleet to run, Mr. Riverin is the first to acknowledge the importance of the close relationship he maintains with SMS Sales Representative Alain Deschesne.
A long commute
As for staffing the job sites, RCI has anywhere from 250 to 300 skilled employees, depending on the season, who represent an $18 million payroll. Recruitment is not an issue, Mr. Riverin notes. “We recruit all over the province, and we offer premiums for remote locations, which definitely acts as an incentive for many workers.”
RCI also runs its own private plane to fly employees from north to south, whether they’re from Montreal or Lac Saint-Jean. The typical workday is divided into two 12-hour shifts. Schedules in the construction sector may vary, but can be made up of 28 consecutive days on with 14 days off. The mining sector schedules tend to be 14 days on and 14 days off.
For Mr. Riverin, the workday has no limits. When asked how long he plans to remain in northern Quebec, he declared, “I’ll stay as long as I’m wanted.” Given that this mining project could last for a century, Mr. Riverin is probably not counting on retiring anytime soon. As for what the future holds for him and his company, Mr. Riverin’s main focus will be to ensure that the next generation has everything it needs to meet the challenges ahead.