Abitibi Geophysics will use its funding to develop a marketing strategy for its products and services in Canada and internationally. Courtesy of Abitibi Geophysics.

Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) – a federal government department with 12 business offices across Quebec – is providing funds totalling $2.2 million in the form of repayable contributions to four small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from the mining sector in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Quebec.

During the past year, the region’s companies, like many others, faced challenges because of the global pandemic. In light of those difficulties, William Amos, parliamentary secretary to the minister of innovation, science and industry said the federal government has noticed and been impressed by the resilience and adaptability demonstrated by area businesses.

The financial assistance granted by the CED will help four companies – Géliko, Abitibi Geophysics, Clôture Abitem and Mecanicad – improve their products, diversify their markets and increase their production capacity. The funding will also create and maintain 63 jobs.

“Economic recovery and job creation depend on the support of SMEs, which are a great asset to the local economic fabric,” said Amos. “By giving companies the means to carry out promising and innovative projects, we are ensuring that economic growth is maintained for the benefit of not only of the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region, but all Quebecers and Canadians.”

Géliko, a company that manufactures hydraulic cylinders and specializes in metal parts for drilling companies, will be getting the largest portion of the funding. With $1.3 million, the company plans to expand construction of a manufacturing facility and install mining-tractor manufacturing equipment.

Related: The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation’s updated programs will invest in growth and development

The funding will also allow the company to position itself in northeastern Ontario and allow it to offer its services more effectively, which will lead to the creation of up to ten jobs, said Géliko president François Gélinas.

The government is giving $500,000 to Abitibi Geophysics to develop a marketing strategy for its products and services in Canada and internationally. The SME is a leading ground geophysical service provider in mineral exploration that plans to add 41 jobs to its existing 62 over the next four years.

"Not only have we been able to offer an exclusive service to our existing clients, but we have also been able to create international partnerships,” said Sophie Roy, Abitibi Geophysics director of human resources.

International partnerships have been mutually beneficial added Roy.

“Our partners are happy, on one hand, to benefit from our exclusive technology and, on the other hand, we are happy to align ourselves with businesses that could have been competitors in any other situation.”

The company Clôture Abitem is receiving $200,000 to set up a workshop to manufacture aluminum products.

“The money from the CED has allowed us to offer our workers a more adapted, stimulating and safe environment. It has also allowed us to acquire state-of-the-art equipment. It will allow us to stand out from the competition and increase our productivity," said Clôture Abitem general manager Alexandre Labonté,

With 25 people on staff, the company supplies security control and ground support products for the mining industry. It also provides the mining industry with fencing installations and ground support products.

Mécanicad designs and manufactures ventilation shafts and connections for underground projects. The company will be getting $165,000 in funding to acquire state-of-the-art digital and robotic equipment that will boost its production capacity.

The general manager, Stéphane Larouche, said the company is experiencing strong growth but has had trouble balancing its production in the past because of a shortage of workers and trouble with recruitment.

The outcome from the funding is now faster production results, which has created six new jobs to date. The company also plans to expand its market reach beyond Canada to South America, Europe and Africa.