A Special Day for Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Services Association in 2009 – by Dick DeStefano

Dick DeStefano is the Executive Director of the Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Services Association (SAMSSA)
www.samssa.ca  destefan@isys.ca

December 10, 2009 was a special day for me.   Working with a small and determined group of invisible mining supply companies in the early stages of 2003 has now evolved into a viable, dynamic community of entrepreneurs making a difference in Northern Ontario and throughout the world.

Twenty centimetres of driving snow and frigid conditions did not prevent more than 90 SAMSSA members and guests from attending the SAMSSA annual meeting in Sudbury.

We all applauded our two SAMSSA Hall of Fame inductees, Peter Matusch and Ron Miller, both of whom were introduced by their sons.  We congratulated our slate of new board members and thanked those who retired.

We listened to some glowing reports on the extraordinary results from our SAMSSA web site, which is receiving more than 1,500 unique visits per day, and were stimulated by some new and old ideas on “lean management techniques” by Pierre Leblanc of the Sento Institute.

What a testimonial to our shared interest and mandate to be the best in the world in the mining supply and service industry!


Our Chilean guests, who came to review our success, remarked that they had never felt anything more powerful emanating from a group of businesses dedicated to being the best and that no one could duplicate the energy that was in the room or within the organization.

It was one of the “best days “in one of the worst years in our business, yet we survived even with partial closedowns, reduced volumes and increased competition for goods and services.

I am extremely proud of our board members and past presidents Mike Castron, Jean-Marc Valade and Jeff Fuller, as well as our new president, Marc Boudreau.  They all support our fundamental belief that the market is global. Their companies are providing products and services in multiple markets and they are all vital and successful. 

The new strategy within this historical mining supply and service centre in Northern Ontario endorses partnerships, full service co-operative approaches with each other to provide solutions and the utilization of every research opportunity to innovate.   This new strategy leaves behind the old adage that “you can do it alone.”

The importance of Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal was acknowledged by the members with its insightful journalists dedicated to Northern Ontario mining suppliers and profiling our best companies and innovative practices.

Wealth creating sector

We are committed to help SAMSSA adapt and adjust to any results that will come out of our ongoing pan-northern study on mining suppliers in Northern Ontario, which we believe is one of the largest in the world and one of the most prolific. Interim results indicate that the mining suppliers in Northern Ontario constitute a significant wealth-creating sector and need recognition by all levels of government as a primary engine of industrial activity.

SAMSSA’s multiple partnerships, especially with regional educational institutions and important federal agencies such as the Export Development Corporation(EDC) and the Canada Export Centre in Vancouver, have proven to be an asset in working on important trade skills programs and finding export markets.

“Sudbury’s mining community certainly has the ability to do what it says it can,” said Fred Stanford, former president of Vale Inco’s Ontario operations.

“Local firms have every reason to be confident about their ability to compete globally. This is the best collection of supply and service companies in the world. It can compete in any mining environment anywhere in the world.”