Thu 3rd Nov 2016
‘Minister on the Move’ in Tyrone
(L-R) Nick Coburn (NI Chamber); Economy Minister Simon Hamilton MLA; Eamonn Whelan (Sandvik) and Andrew Greer (SSE Airtricity
The Economy Minister addressed members of the local business community at a ‘Minister on the Move’ event held by Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) and SSE Airtricity in Tyrone earlier today (3 November 2016).
The ‘Minister on the Move’ initiative provides businesses with the chance to speak directly with NI Assembly Ministers at a number of locations across the province, with today’s event being hosted by Ballygawley-based Sandvik.
In addition to receiving a departmental update from the Minister, attendees also heard the growth story of Sandvik and embarked on a tour of its facilities.
The Sandvik factory located in Ballygawley, is known as one of the world’s premier manufacturing facilities for mobile crushers and screens. Exporting to over 40 countries, spanning every continent, Sandvik has grown its export sales from Northern Ireland by 60% over the past two years.
Eamonn Whelan, Site Manager at Sandvik said:
“Sandvik is delighted to host today’s NI Chamber event, and to welcome the Minister to our Ballygawley facility.
“Our growth has been supported by the successful introduction of four new models over the past twelve months and over 80% of all of the Mobiles products sold are designs that are less than five years old.
“Sandvik has also increased its spend with local engineering fabrication sub-contractors four-fold. With Invest NI Support a £1.6 million pound powder coating facility was installed to double capacity and improve the quality and durability of the machines’ finish.”
In addition to assembling and testing the machines, all Research & Development and engineering design work for Mobile units takes place on site, led by an engineering team many of whom are drawn from Northern Ireland universities.
Mr Whelan continued:
“We hope that the Minister and his guests enjoyed visiting the plant to see how modern Lean production methods have underpinned our export growth.
“We are confident that Minister Hamilton will continue the great work of his predecessors over the years, supporting our sector, developing the skills and capabilities of our people, our factory, and our local supply chain, as we continue to develop Sandvik’s Northern Ireland site as our Global Competency Centre for Mobile Crushing and Screening.”
Speaking at the event Minister Hamilton said:
“I am delighted to participate in the Minister on the Move event today. Northern Ireland is fortunate to have some fantastic companies similar to Sandvik across all sectors producing goods and services that can compete with businesses anywhere in the world. Growing our exports is crucial if we want to create an outward looking, globally competitive economy. Recent HMRC figures showed the value of Northern Ireland’s exported goods had grown by 9.5 per cent. I want us to build on this success. I am determined and with your help I want to ensure that Northern Ireland is perfectly placed to take advantage of the opportunities the years ahead will present.”
Also speaking was Nick Coburn, President of NI Chamber, who welcomed the Minister’s International Trade Plan which was announced earlier this week. He said:
“Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomes the Minister’s intention to develop a new International Trade Plan and to set up a new Air Routes Task Force for Northern Ireland. Not only will these complement the current Export Matters Action Plan, but by working alongside a new Trade Advisory Board, these initiatives will be instrumental in providing assistance to the Minister and Invest NI as they look to the world for new trade links.”