SUDBURY -- Sudbury's B&D Manufacturing says it has come up with a made-in-the-north solution to improve conditions and safety for people who work underground.

Over the past eight months, the company designed and built a portable underground luncheon lavatory. The first two units were recently shipped to a gold mine in Mexico.

"We had a customer in Mexico that is developing a new section of their mine and they needed somewhere for the men to eat, to change their clothes, go to the washroom and to wash their hands," said Tom Di Francesco, the general manager of B&D Manufacturing.

The first two units will be transported in and out of the mine in Mexico on an overhead tramway. Once on site, it accommodates 12 workers.

Fresh trailer for next crew

"A fresh trailer will go in with that crew," said Di Francesco.

"They will use it and then the next shift, a second trailer will go in. And the first trailer will be removed from the mine it will be cleaned, fresh water put in (and) ready for the next morning when those guys come back to work."

The units cost US$125,000 are also equipped with first aid equipment.

Company officials said the fact the units are portable and can be manufactured to specific needs make them a cost-effective alternative for mines across the world.

"The lunchroom is customizable. If you look at what it costs to build a lunchroom underground, it's got to be a million dollars. So this is much more economical," said Di Francesco.

The company said it has received interest in the product from a mine in Africa and also from a contractor in northern Ontario.