Xstrata Helps Raise Operatic Voices in Mining Communities

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 member Xstrata Nickel is a “Major Sponsor” of the Canadian Opera Company helping to bring productions to communities far from singing distance of traditional major performing centres.  The Xstrata Ensemble Studio School Tour takes student-friendly operatic performances to classrooms in Ontario – and beyond.

Throughout Xstrata’s sponsorship of the COC, it has assisted in bringing operatic education, art and culture to cities such as Sudbury and Timmins in Northern Ontario and other communities in which it has mining operations.  This year, the Xstrata Ensemble Studio School Tour ventured further afield and brought its production of Cinderella to communities near Xstrata Nickel’s Raglan Mine in Nunavik, Quebec.

The Raglan Mine is located in the Arctic region of Quebec north of the 60th parallel of latitude.  The mine site is situated more than 1,800 kilometres north of the home of the COC at University Avenue and Queen Street West in Toronto.  Undaunted by geography and climate, five singers, one music director, one stage manager, two COC staff and a photographer headed to Nunavik.

The adapted version of Rossini and Massenet’s opera Cinderella, which is sung in both French and English, was performed for 200 school children at the Pigiurvik School in Salluit and 200 students at the Arsaniq School in Kangiqsujuaq.  Both Salluit (population 1,241) and Kangiqsujuaq (population 605) have a close relationship with Xstrata Nickel.

The COC troupe also staged a performance for Raglan employees.  This audience, which in general had limited exposure to opera, enjoyed the evening with enthusiasm, applause and thanks.  “What an amazing cultural experience to bring those powerful talented voices up North,” said Daniel Patry, Raglan Mining Geology Supervisor.   

The cultural exchange moved in more than one direction.  After performances at the schools, the Cinderella crew listened to Inuit story telling and participated in traditional games and cuisine.  The COC entourage also improved its understanding of mining with a tour of the Raglan mill and one of its four underground mines. 

In 2010, the COC’s Xstrata Ensemble Studio School Tour travelled more than 9,000 kilometres and provided 47 performances in diverse communities.  The COC has been producing young-people friendly operas and touring for more than 20 years.  Among these travels, the trip to Raglan will undoubtedly stand out as one of the most adventurous – and successful.  More than 20% of the population of Salluit and Kangiqsujuaq saw the COC’s school tour presentation of Cinderella thanks to the support of Xstrata Nickel.

Miners and mining companies are responsible, solution-providing partners in society.  They do more than find, extract and process minerals essential to our modern lifestyles.  These companies are economic enterprises operated by men and women who are members of society and community builders.  As volunteers and donors, they add great value to the quality of life in their communities and beyond.

Xstrata Nickel’s Raglan property consists of a series of high-grade ore deposits, stretched across nearly 70 kilometres with nickel and copper as the primary metals.

The operation consists of underground mines, a concentrator, a power plant, accommodation and administration buildings, fresh water supply and fuel storage tanks.