An economist says Sudbury’s recovery is on the way but won’t reach pre-pandemic levels until 2026
Nickel prices and rising demand for the mineral will help Sudbury’s local economy ride out a slowing national economy and carry it to pre-pandemic prosperity by 2026. In its most recent report, the Conference Board of Canada says nickel prices jumped nearly 72 percent between 2020 and 2022 buoyed by the war in Ukraine and strengthening nickel demand.
Senior economist Rob Wiebe says it’s precisely that demand and heightened exploration for nickel to produce batteries for electric cars that will fuel investment across different sectors in the city.
“That’s what mining demand does,” said Wiebe. “It percolates through the economy in the incomes that the mining sector provides its workers, allows them to buy houses, support the retail sector, take their kids to camps, and other activities. It’s basically the reason that Sudbury is there.”
Wiebe’s report says Vale is spending $67 million dollars on Sudbury-area exploration this year. He says Vale’s head of Ontario base metals operations recently told a business audience that nickel demand from North American automotive battery manufacturers is expanding almost faster than suppliers can meet it.