[Sudbury]Mining to recover in 2013, board predicts – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – February 21, 2013)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

New developments in the mining industry in 2013 will contribute to a predicted 1.7% growth in real gross domestic product in Sudbury, up from 0.6% in 2012, according to the Conference Board of Canada.

Sudbury was second from the bottom in economic performance of 28 census metropolitan areas last year, but the board is forecasting it will move up to 22 in 2013. GDP is a measure of the overall economic activity — the value of goods and services produced — within an economy.

Sudbury’s economy was held back last year by significant declines in several sectors, said Jane McIntyre, an economist with the Conference Board of Canada. McIntyre collects data for several cities, Sudbury among them.

In 2011, there was strong growth in the primary and utilities sector, mostly mining, as Vale recovered from the effects of a year-long strike by United Steelworkers.

Weaker metal prices last year, as well as the temporary shutdowns early in the year at Vale mines and the closing of the Frood portion of Frood-Stobie Mine at the end of the year, took a “chunk” out of that sector in 2013.

There was also slower growth in service areas such as transportation and warehousing, partly related to mining, and public administration and defence. Declines in the government sector were common across Canada as governments tightened their fiscal belts, said McIntyre.

She looked at average real GDP growth rates for Sudbury for the last 10 years — 0.7% — and in the last 20 years — 1.2% — which is not to say Sudbury’s economy hasn’t been performing well, said McIntyre.

In an economy such as Sudbury’s, “if the mining sector is doing well, you’re going to grow quite well,” said McIntyre. And the opposite is also true.

In 2009, Our manufacturing rate, for instance, declined 10.5%, but increased 11.5% the next year.

Increased world stability in 2013 is expected to lift prices, it says in the Metropolitan Outlook 2 report.

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