This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.
Ontario Mining Association Chairman George Flumerfelt is featured in the January 2009 issue of the Canadian Mining Journal. “Keeping Pace With Reality” is the headline on his article in the magazine. Mr. Flumerfelt, who is President of JS Redpath, took over as Chairman of the OMA in June 2008.
In the article, he catalogues some of the initiatives being carried out by the OMA to help its members get through the current rough patch and lay the groundwork for the foundations of future growth and development. “There is no doubt the current downturn in prices has come upon us more suddenly that those of years past,” he said “Also, when coupled with the world credit crunch and all the talk of global recession, government bailouts of banks and formerly stable household name companies, the situation seems to be more serious this time.”
“Hopefully, with all the stimuli being applied by countries around the globe, the mining industry will start to recover before too long,” Mr. Flumerfelt added. “One thing we do know for sure is that recovery will come as companies and individuals adjust to the current market realities.” And on an optimistic note, he said “We need to remember that demand for mineral commodities will return and inevitably better pricing will follow. It is hard to believe that 2009 is going to be a great year but there is some hope for price recovery in 2010.”
Some of the OMA initiatives he cited include the Demographics, Global Markets and Future Workforce conference held last June in Windsor. It featured demographic guru David Foot of Boom, Bust & Echo fame and a workshop on “How to Make the Mining Workforce More Feminine Friendly.” Also, mentioned is work the OMA is doing with Skills Canada Ontario to promote awareness of the career opportunities in mining and with the Mineral Industry Human Resource Council (MiHR).
Mr. Flumerfelt said “one of the most innovative initiatives I have seen in my career in mining is the OMA´s “So You Think You Know Mining” high school video contest. He also offered a safety message for all to consider. “The industry continues to make great progress in safety performance and we will all have to be more diligent on the safety front during these times of high economic anxiety. Let´s keep everyone´s attention focused on the task at hand each and every day.”
Another feature in the January Canadian Mining Journal is “What a Gem,” which features the accomplishments of De Beers Canada in brining the Victor Mine, Ontario´s first diamond mine, into production. Of particular note is the high level of collaboration with First Nations. “Their importance is seen in the use of their traditional environmental knowledge, the display of their cultural icons throughout the accommodation complex, and the training provided by De Beers so that they have become valuable employees.” First Nations residents make up 43% of all the employees at the Victor site and 60% of the operators in the mining department.
The Victor Mine represents a $1 billion investment by De Beers Canada. The Victor Mine helps remind us about the time lines of mining projects. “The Victor diamond mine was 37 years in the making, not an uncommon length of time for projects first explored in the 1960s, and less than a blink in the geological timeline that created the world´s highest-quality diamonds 170 million years ago.”
As we work through the current economic woes, everyone needs to keep the industry´s time lines, longevity and long term survival through providing the building blocks of modern society in mind.