Oregon Resources Corporation lays off 31 employees

2012-09-06T14:53:00Z 2012-09-07T09:34:05Z Oregon Resources Corporation lays off 31 employees Coos Bay World

Coos County’s biggest mining company cut 31 workers Thursday in the face of global economic headwinds and slowing demand for minerals.

Oregon Resources Corp. says it will cut its chromite mining operation from seven days per week to four.

Wayne Knott, chief executive of ORC’s parent company, IDM International, said it was a reluctantly made decision spurred by slowing growth in China and economic uncertainty in Europe.

“These decisions are never made lightly, but if we don’t take action now, potentially everyone could be unemployed,” he said. “So we are doing this for the best interest of the company.”

Seventeen temporary employees and 14 direct employees have been laid off from the company’s 100-strong workforce. Knott said the cuts were across-the-board, including administrators, senior staff, plant operators, and lab workers.

Dan Smith, the company’s vice president of business development, will also depart.

“Unfortunately when the company’s stressed the way it has been, it’s very hard to justify having a VP of business development,” Knott said.

The company has borrowed $5 million dollars to fund the continuance of its operations.

Industry hit hard

IDM International joins the ranks of other mining companies who are adjusting to a faltering global demand for minerals.

ORC is a relatively small player in the industry. It operates solely in Coos County and is the primary source of revenue for Australian-based IDM International.

ORC processes chromite into a specialty sand which is used by factories to create casting molds.

Knott said ORC is more vulnerable than other mining companies because it’s peddling a new product rather than bulk minerals.

“You have to convince foundries to change recipes,” he said. “And that’s pretty tough when economic conditions are uncertain.”

Marketing and lease focus

Despite the bleak economy, Knott remained confident in the company’s future.

“We are putting a lot of focus on our marketing effort so we can position our product when the economy improves,” he said. “And we continue to focus on our permitting and lease operations.”

That pursuit includes an agreement with the Coos County commissioners to mine on county-owned forestland.

“From our view this is a temporary thing,” he said. “We can respond quickly as demand increases. We are in a position to meet immediate customers needs and more.”

For now, ORC will cut the amount of chromite it processes by about half.

New CEO

It’s been a heavy week for everyone at IDM International, including Knott, who took the reins as chief executive only four days ago.

Philip Garratt stepped down as CEO earlier this year. He was replaced temporarily by the company’s chairman before the board appointed Knott on Monday, a South African with 27 years of experience in the mining industry.

Knott joined ORC in June, replacing Dan Smith as chief operating officer.

Smith has been the face of ORC since the company first broke ground in Coos County. He became IDM International’s vice president of business development.

Knott said it was difficult to see the departure of one of the company’s most valued employees.

“Dan did contribute a lot to this organization,” he said. “And certainly, again, it was a tough decision.”

Copyright 2016 Coos Bay World. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(7) Comments

  1. bes
    Report Abuse
    bes - September 11, 2012 4:47 pm
    THEIR EYES DON'T OPEN UNTIL SOMEBODY SAYS, WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL THE SALMON, CLEAN AIR AND FRESH WATER.AFTER IT'S ALL FOULED BY CORPORATE AND INDUSTRY EXTRACTION, THEN THE PEOPLE WILL SAY, WHERE ARE ALL THE JOBS.. WE NEED SUSTAINABLE MANUFACTURING PLANTS, NOT POLLUTING EXTRACTION OF OUR NATURAL RESOURCES FOLKS..SORRY TO TYPE IN CAPS BUT I CAN'T SEE VERY WELL..HAS ANYONE CHECKED THE AMBIENT AIR QUALITY AROUND THIS MINING OPERATION?
  2. Oncorhynchus
    Report Abuse
    Oncorhynchus - September 09, 2012 7:46 pm
    This is a prime example of why Resource Extraction Industries will never be associated with being good corporate citizens in Coos County. Diversification IS needed...you are correct, but extracting a finite resource will never be a sustainable enterprise. Local citizens need to realize that we were completely taken advantage of by the timber industry, and the same thing is happening now. We've already pillaged our watersheds of large-timber habitat, now the minerals. When will we open our eyes?
  3. lookingforward
    Report Abuse
    lookingforward - September 07, 2012 9:59 am
    ORC has been and still is a good corporate citizen in our county. Laying off 31 of 100 employees still leaves 69 jobs that weren't here before they came! This story is a prime example of why we need companies like ORC - to diversify our economic base!!! We need tourism AND industry, natural resource extraction AND manufacturing, retail business AND professional services. Without a variety of economic activities in the area, Coos County will always sufferthe most when downturns happen.
  4. deception
    Report Abuse
    deception - September 06, 2012 5:45 pm
    past failures is not an indictment against future economic progress. It's too bad the international economy is in such bad shape, small start ups just have a hard time competing.
  5. bes
    Report Abuse
    bes - September 06, 2012 4:41 pm
    I can't wait for LNG to come and help us out like this.
  6. ListenUp
    Report Abuse
    ListenUp - September 06, 2012 4:32 pm
    Who'da thunk it?
  7. Oncorhynchus
    Report Abuse
    Oncorhynchus - September 06, 2012 3:24 pm
    What do you know? Another "savior" comes in, promises a brighter future, extracts our local resources, and then when it benefits them...leaves the community high & dry. Unfortunately, family-wage jobs do not necesaily equal family-friendly jobs. Just wait...I won't be suprised if ORC files for an exemption in the near future to relieve its obligation to mitigate the forest they've stripped...based on economic hardship. Sheesh...who could've seen this coming? It's not like it ever happened before
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Content Match