ORC sending first bulk shipment overseas

COOS BAY, Ore.-- The only chromite mine in North America is making its first bulk shipment out of the South Coast.

Oregon Resources Corp. is storing and shipping thousands of tons of chromite out of Roseburg Forest Products in Coos Bay.

The chromite is stored in 5,500 bags containing two tons of the black sand mined out of Bandon.

To date this will be the companies largest shipment; 11,000 metric tons on its way to China.

"This is probably about 10 to 15 percent of our yearly production, just this one shipment," Daniel Smith, VP of Business Operations for Oregon Resources Corp."It's a big deal for us, so we want to do more of these, hopefully another one by the end of the year."

Up until now ORC has only done small shipments, now the market has opened up overseas.

Chromite is used to make stainless steel. It weighs twice as much as beach sand and cannot get wet.

"If we have a rain squall the drivers are instructed to head back to the undercover," Richard Dybevik with Roseburg Forest Products said. "It's a new process, everybody's learning, adapting and overcoming any issues that they see."

Roseburg Forest Products usually deals with timber companies. Storing and shipping chromite has been a challenge but they are glad for the opportunity to do new business.

ORC now employs 90 people and over 30 contractors.

"We pay Roseburg to store our material here and we have been shipping material here for the last five months for this shipment," Smith said. "We pay their employees to load it out and longshoreman are brought in and same with the shipping company."

Smith said their position has improved as other chromite mining countries like South Africa move away from production.