A new player is emerging in the North American salt market and could shake things up for an industry that has already seen some historic consolidation over recent years.
Atlas Salt, which earlier this month changed its name from Red Moon Resources Inc., plans to soon break ground on a new rock salt mine located on the west coast of Newfoundland. Company officials anticipate its Great Atlantic Salt Project will provide high-quality rock salt for US and Canadian East Coast markets and reduce the snow and ice management industry’s need for costly foreign rock salt.
In addition to its strategic location to deep-water ports and eastern North American markets, this massive rock salt deposit varies between 200 and 250 meters in thickness and is easily accessible between 200 meters and 400 meters from the surface. In contrast, Compass Minerals Goderich Salt Project, the worlds largest underground salt mine, is located 600 meters under Lake Huron.
Company officials speculate the Great Atlantic Salt Project could mine a minimum of 2 million tonnes of rock salt per year and could pull product for 100 years.
The Great Atlantic Salt Project is generating interest in the investment community, as well.
According to a September 8 summary analysis for the online investment publication Streetwise Reports, author Ron Struthers states: “What is most important to understand is there is no risk with grade, metallurgy, strip ratios, processing and mining methods like mining other metals or materials. A processing plant is not required, you simply scoop material out of the deposit with a salt processor and ship to port. It is more like a salt factory than a mine. These salt projects generate huge cash flow and profits, but very seldom does one ever come to market in a public company.”
Once up and running, the Great Atlantic Salt Project could be highly sought acquisition target. Struthers speculates Stone Canyon Industries – which acquired The Kissner Group in 2020 – could be a potential suiter. “Mark Demetree of Stone Canyon appears to be reshaping the North American Salt industry and is probably not done. Whether Stone Canyon or not, it would not surprise me if Atlas is bought out within the next 2 years at multiples of the current share price.”
Recognize The Sign
Learn to identify the physical and emotional indicators that an employee is vulnerable to suicidal tendencies.
Aside from the moral, emotional, and psychological burdens suicide leaves to family and friends, it also takes a significant toll on the companies they work for and the economy in general.
From an economic perspective, suicide adds to a high cost charged at employers, governments, and workers themselves. Employers with a worker who dies by suicide bear a financial debt, covering production disturbance costs, human capital costs, medical costs, administrative costs and other costs, according to Workwear Guru, which provides apparel workwear reviews and comparison articles.
According to the Centre for Mental Health, the economy loses 91 million days each year to mental health issues. The burden of the costs goes mainly to the employer.While mental health problems are a burden for the economy, suicide places the problem at another level. In fact, for every team member dying from suicide, 10-20 others are attempting, according to World Health Organization stats. For employers, it means they must pay for the recovery costs of employees that attempt suicide.
Providing assistance to a person struggling with mental health is not always easy. As an employer or manager, if you notice any suicide warnings signs in someone, it is vital to take next steps to help them get out of their state.
Recognize the warning signs
By knowing the warning signs, family members, friends, and colleagues can assist those struggling with suicidal thoughts to receive the care and treatment they need.
Some of the most common signs include:
- An increase of lateness and absenteeism at work
- Lower productivity
- Lower self-confidence
- Decreased communication with co-workers
- Shows signs of substance abuse
- Shows frequent signs of agitation
- Lack of protection in the workplace
- Segregation from the group (i.e., eating lunch alone)
Start a conversation
Contact and open conversation are the best things you could do to a colleague struggling with suicidal thoughts. Approach the discussion with deep empathy for your co-worker, even if you can’t understand their feelings. Providing a sympathetic ear to listen to their problems and emotions is a starting point.
It is crucial not to question their thoughts and feelings rather than accept them. At no point should you demeanor or say “this is just a phase” to them. That could pose a significant threat to them, as they would feel alienated. Be there for them and help them find ways to feel that life is worth living.
Ask honest questions
Though this is easier said than done, asking direct questions can help you identify if the person is suicidal. Ask them direct questions on how they are feeling and if they are thinking about suicide. It is essential to communicate with compassion and openness to believe you are a person they can lean on during a difficult time.
Make sure they understand it is not weak to say they are not okay and you are happy to support them.
Direct them to professional care
Once you are sure your co-worker or friend is struggling with suicidal thoughts, lead them to get professional care. Suppose the person is reluctant to reach out for professional help. In that case, you can help them by locating treatment facilities, setting an appointment for them, or accompany them to the doctor’s visit.
If you are unsure of how you can help an employee, colleague or coworker with suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255) or Crisis Text Line (TALK to 741-741) to get professional advice on the next steps.
Did You Hear?
There’s an easy way to get the business education you need, when you need it.
If you’re not following The Snow Magazine Podcast, then you’re missing out on great interviews with industry insiders and management experts who can help you build your businesses and grow as a professional.
Here just a few recent episodes that offer ways to immediately improve your business.
It's Go Time
Industry coach Neal Glatt returns to the podcast to discuss how leadership and culture can improve your odds to successfully attract and retain the necessary workforce you need for this winter.
Economist Taylor St. Germain says economic growth will remain strong into 2022, but so will the ongoing labor crisis. St. Germain shares the important economic facts you need to know to run your snow ops.
Exploring Salt's Impact
University of Toronto researchers Don Jackson and Lauren Lawson discuss their recent research on winter rock salt use in urban environments and what commercial contractors must know about the long-term impact current deicing practices may have on urban environments and infrastructure.
Beware Employment Claims
Attorney Josh Ferguson explains the recent rise in employment-related lawsuits and how to best protect yourself and your business from these costly claims.
And now it’s easier than ever to access The Snow Magazine Podcast. In addition to snowmagazineonnline.com, very podcast episode is available via Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts; Stitcher; Overcast, Castbox, Breaker, and many others.
Just enter “The Snow Magazine Podcast” into a site’s search bar to access the episodes.
Now more than ever, SnowCare for Troops needs volunteers this winter to help offset the impact of the labor crisis.
Project Evergreen’s SnowCare For Troops has been supporting the families of active military personnel for more than a decade. Now, the ongoing labor problem has trickled down and threatens the program’s ability to provide assistance this winter.
“Unfortunately, we’ve seen some of our volunteers have to pull out of the program or reduce their involvement [because of the labor crisis],” says Program Manager Ki Matsko. “It’s important for [snow and ice management professionals] to realize anyone can participate in the program. While our core volunteers are landscape and snow contractors, anyone who’d like to help can get involved as a volunteer, as well.
“And if you’re a [snow or landscape] company that is struggling with labor issues, you can tell us the number of families you’re able to help this winter,” she says, adding there is no minimum quota to meet to participate in SnowCare. “Even if you can add just one military family onto a current service route, that’s going to make a huge difference. We always say, if every company just helped one family, what a huge difference [the program] could make.”
The SnowCare for Troops program, supported by BOSS Snowplow, assists military families of US service men and women by providing snow removal services to family members while they are deployed throughout the US and the world.
Since 2010, SnowCare for Troops has partnered with more than 1,500 snow removal volunteers to offer more than 5,000 military families with complimentary snow and ice removal services.
Participating in the program is both easy and rewarding. Enter bit.ly/3ARWIoJ into your browser for more information or to become a volunteer this winter.And for more on the SnowCare for Troops program, check out Ki’s guest appearance on The Snow Magazine Podcast. Enter bit.ly/2Xs6dwu into your browser to listen.
Notebook: Ongoing Issues
The business challenges you're managing heading into Winter 2021-22 are here to stay, and they may be getting worse.
There is no quick resolution to the many business obstacles the snow and ice industry and the service industry sector face heading into Winter 2021.
It's a sobering fact bearing itself out in recent research.
For instance, the labors crisis has not gotten better, and it may be getting worse, according to a recent hiring poll conducted by Alignable, an online small business conduit.
In a late-summer survey of more than 4,000 small business owners, 66% reported having a "very difficult" time finding employees to fill open key revenue producing roles, many of which are necessary to drive revenue and rebound.
In July, only 50% of all small business owners said they’re having trouble finding help. That figure jumped to 59% last in August, and in recent weeks it has gone up another 7% to 66%.
And labor's impact on productivity can be traced throughout the supply chain, including include automotive, construction. For example, in July, 62% of manufacturers reported having trouble finding help, and that percentage jumped to 72% in August, and 83% for the first half of September.
In an attempt to alleviate shortages and strengthen retention, 47 percent of employers reported raising salaries across the board.
In what is perhaps the most depressing statistic, more than a quarter of survey participants (26%) indicated that, at this time, they were simply giving up on finding the necessary labor to fill their ranks.
An interesting caveat: Despite these struggles, Alignable's research found the No. 1 way employers have found people to hire (37%) is through personal referrals and networking.
On a side note, I came across a press release issued by the National Retail Federation announcing its first large-scale forum to address supply chain issues and share solutions.
The health of the supply chain kind of like the canary in the mine. Multiple issues can impact the supply chain's flow. For example, the ongoing COVID pandemic directly affects the available workforce at international ports. If goods can't get loaded or unloaded or even transported across the globe, then the supply of products -- everything from electronic components to truck parts to skid-steer loaders -- grind to a halt.
Closer to home, many professional snow and ice contractors have had to deal with the inability to secure the equipment, parts and materials necessary to manage their winter commitments.
What I found to be the most telling -- and perhaps the most discouraging -- is that this form is scheduled for June 2022. This is a clear sign that no one anticipates these issues will be a thing of the past by next summer. Most likely, we'll be needing ways to deal with these critical issues into the far foreseeable future.