Money, brains and buried treasure at PDAC 2011- by Norm Tollinsky

Norm Tollinsky is editor of Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal, a magazine that showcases the mining expertise of North Bay, Timmins and Sudbury. This article is from the March, 2011 issue.

It’s no accident that 22,000 members of the global mining community take over Front Street in Toronto every year about this time. Ontario, the epicenter of the global mineral exploration business, is where the deals get done. It’s where money is raised and expertise is sought for discovering and mining the resources that are more in demand than ever as prosperity in the developing countries puts cash in the pockets of hundreds of millions of new consumers.

Downtown Toronto is where it all happens, but Ontario’s stature as an international centre of mining expertise begins with the province’s inexhaustible natural endowment of gold, diamonds, copper, nickel, zinc, platinum group metals and now, chromite. After a brief dip in mineral exploration caused by the global financial meltdown in 2008, Ontario is once again firing on all cylinders.

As reported in our cover story this issue, the province reported record-breaking mineral exploration expenditures of $825 million for 2010 and there is every indication that 2011 will be just as busy. All across Northern Ontario, from Detour Gold’s 14.9 million ounce Detour Lake project in the northeast to Osisko’s 6.7 million ounce Hammond Reef project in northwestern Ontario, we are seeing former producing mines returning to production, new resources being discovered, shafts being sunk or deepened and head frames rising from the earth.

Adding to the excitement is the opening of the mineral-rich Ring of Fire, a region in Ontario’s Far North where Cliffs Natural Resources plans to spend billions of dollars to develop a world-class chromite deposit. The construction of a 300-kilometre all-season road linking the mine site with the province’s existing road and rail network will provide the transportation corridor necessary for the development of important discoveries of base metals in the same region and guarantee prosperity for First Nations and Ontario as a whole for many generations to come.

Political stability, access to capital and an abundance of mineral wealth all contribute to Ontario’s status as a pre-eminent mining jurisdiction, but just as important and not to be overlooked is the province’s cluster of mining suppliers, research organizations and academic institutions that support mining operations in Ontario and around the world.

The money changes hands and the alcohol may flow in downtown Toronto, but it’s Northern Ontario, several hundred kilometres north of Front Street that has made the PDAC the meeting place for the global mineral exploration industry.

This issue of Sudbury Mining Solutions offers you a taste of the expertise and resources available to you in Northern Ontario. We invite you to stay in touch with us year round by taking advantage of our free subscription offer at