Polaris Materials Addresses First-Half Progress


Polaris Materials Corp. reported preliminary sales volumes for the quarter ended June 30, 2017, increased its full-year sales expectations; and announced the addition of new quarry and logistics management personnel.

Sales volumes in the second quarter of 2017 were 650,000 tons, an increase of 16 percent over first-quarter 2017, and consistent with expectations for the quarter. Year-to-date, sales volumes are 1.21 million tons, consistent with expectations for the first half, compared to 1.46 million tons in the first half of 2016. Sales volumes grew by nearly 5 percent year-to-date (excluding the impact of the conclusion of the Hanson contract).

Construction activity continues to climb in California, as projects that were delayed due to exceptional rainfall are now catching-up in the summer. While second quarter shipments were lower than last year's second quarter, the strong construction demand has drawn down inventories, requiring additional shipments in the second half of the year.

Volumes in the company's Long Beach terminal were approximately 93,000 tons, up 51 percent from second quarter 2016, which is below initial expectations for the quarter, the company said. Construction of the Silver Lake Water Treatment Facility commenced late in the second quarter versus an original target of early first quarter, however, the customer is working on an accelerated schedule and they expect the majority of the work requiring Orca sand and gravel to be completed within the calendar year, the company said.

"We are also pleased to confirm our first sale of fine sand in the quarter, with a shipment being delivered to Hawaii in May," the company said. "In addition, our Richmond terminal has recently broken its previous one-day sales record, with a 6,226-ton day to supply a foundation pour for the Transbay Center, and our superb Orca Quarry team recently passed 669 days (22 months) of operations without a lost time incident.

"We are pleased to announce that we now expect full-year sales volumes to be 3.0 to 3.2 million tons, a 0 to 5 percent increase from 2016," the company said. "The increase is primarily driven by an improved market share in San Francisco, following the suspension of activities at a local aggregate production facility, as well as increased domestic barge sales at the quarry. Volumes are increasing in San Francisco as our largest Bay Area customer has recently won several significant new contracts. Improvements in San Francisco and BC are offset by the modest reduction to the original Long Beach Terminal sales expectation for 2017, due to the above-mentioned delay to the Silver Lake project. While our second half is usually stronger than our first half, this effect will be punctuated in 2017, with 13 to 14 ships committed for delivery in the third quarter and a further 10 to 12 ships scheduled (pending commitment) for the fourth quarter."

Current sales expectations for the second quarter of 2017 are in the range of 1.0 to 1.15 million tons, consistent with increased full year expectations. "We continue to focus on managing operating costs while positioning the business to meet significantly increased demand in the latter half of the year," the company said. "Our quarry management team is finalizing plant improvements to significantly reduce scraper cycle time and help to improve equipment availability and further reduce mobile equipment costs."

The company announced that effective July 1, 2017, Tyson Mackay has been promoted to the position of mine manager of the Orca Quarry. Brian Buckley, who has been the interim mine manager, will continue to assist in a consultative capacity. Born and raised in the north Vancouver Island community, Mackay joined Orca in 2013 and has been a significant and invaluable contributor to the success of the operation from day one, according to the company. He is also the leader of the Mine Rescue team, and recently led the team to a top five placing in the provincial competition against teams from significantly larger operations. As well, Mackay's leadership of the Orca safety culture led to the company's fifth Stewart/O'Brien Award in 10 years for zero lost time accidents.

The company also announced that it recently hired Keven Wasylyshyn to the newly created position of director, supply chain. Wasylyshyn joined Polaris on Jan. 18, 2017, after having served as director of terminals and logistics for Northern Transportation Co. Limited (NTCL), a First-Nations-owned tug and barge operator with one of the largest fleets in Canada. Wasylyshyn will focus on continuing to improve the efficiency of logistics and working with customers on delivery schedules and inventory management practices, where has already provided a significant benefit.

Ken Palko, president and CEO, commented: "The second quarter was a solid quarter operationally, and we are well positioned for a significantly increased pace of sales activity in the second half of the year. Our Long Beach terminal continues to perform well during its ramp-up and we expect very healthy volumes in the second-half as several projects that were delayed are working hard to make up time. We are proud of the safety milestone achieved at the quarry and the focus our operating teams have placed on safety, consistency and quality. I would also like to congratulate Tyson on his promotion to mine manager and to welcome Keven to the team at Polaris. Tyson is an instrumental part of our improved safety and operating performance, while Keven has already had a significant impact on further reducing our shipping and logistics costs. We look forward to many more years of their contributions to the success of our business."