Sudbury-North Bay Mining Supply Corridor Growing – Dick DeStefano

The Sudbury Mining Supply Journal gave Republic of permission to post Dick DeStefano’s column. This Sudbury-based magazine showcases the mining expertise of North Bay, Timmins and Sudbury.

Dick DeStefano

What do the City of Greater Sudbury and North Bay have in common that make them unique within the global mining context?

The simple answer is they anchor a corridor which includes 415 mining supply and service companies who market their tools, talent and technology domestically and internationally.

The Northern Ontario corridor of mining suppliers is known worldwide in all mining circles as the centre of mining excellence based on products and expertise that, in some cases, stretch over 40 years of refinements and production of quality work in the field.

The Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Service Association (SAMSSA) was mandated to bring together all Northern Ontario mining suppliers under one umbrella to form a “one-stop shop” for mining globally.

Building this capacity and branding the member companies has been a slow and deliberate process utilizing the best marketing techniques available. Having perceived the value of this sector, a number of agencies, especially FedNor (a federal development agency) have supported SAMSSA.

The City of Greater Sudbury is the major centre of this valued economic sector with over 345 mining supply and service companies while North Bay has over 63.  Each centre has a unique business culture and history, but the goal of both cities is to be the leaders in all things mining.

In recent years, the City of Greater Sudbury has seen its mining cluster expand and flourish at a rapid rate, similar to the North Bay experience.

The establishment of more than 20 mining research and development institutions in the region combined, with two major mining companies, Vale Inco and Xstrata Nickel, in addition to major production facilities and a rehabilitated landscape have made Greater Sudbury a major attraction worldwide.  Add to this mixture one dynamic university (Laurentian) and two community colleges (Cambrian and College Boreal) that concentrate on mining and related programs and you have a real centre of mining excellence.

Incoming mining missions to Canada now move northwards after a day in Toronto.  A visit of three or four days in Sudbury and North Bay combined is not an uncommon event.

North Bay is fast becoming an integral part of this expanding scenario.  A recent collaborative event held in North Bay and hosted by SAMSSA, Canadore College, Nipissing University and the CIM Chapter in North Bay has moved the relationship even further.

Under the able leadership of SAMSSA’s Vice-President, Tom Palangio, President of Wipware, a major partnership meeting was held April 29 in North Bay.

Fred Stanford , president, of Ontario Operations, Vale Inco, agreed to make a special presentation at this event in North Bay to provide all SAMSSA members, Canadore College, Nipissing University and CIM members with an insight into mining in the future and ValeInco’s formula for success.

The 145 people in attendance at the Canadore theatre heard Jeff Fuller, SAMSSA President; Barbara Taylor, President of Canadore; Dennis Mock, President of Nipissing University; and Roy Slack, President of CIM in North Bay commit their energies and organizations to the important relationship needed to expand the corridor cluster more quickly and collaboratively.

Nipissing and Canadore work together quite closely on projects that affect their communities and increase opportunities for their students. The mining and mining supply and service sectors are their next targets.  SAMSSA will be an integral partner as it moves forward to develop the important infrastructure needed to open global markets.

Jeff Fuller, president of SAMSSA said, “when you are standing at a trade show in Chile in a Canadian booth and you look towards Canada, the distance between Sudbury and North Bay seems quite miniscule so working together to create a broader choice in the global market is just common sense.” 

Dick DeSteffano is the Executive Director of SAMSSA.