Tag Archives | nickel

Great War Proved Need for Ontario Refinery – Gary Peck

With the First World War, in Canada there was considerable agitation over what was coined the “Nickel Question.” One of the problems that arose pertained to the refining of nickel in Canada. For some, it may have been regretted that our nickel industry was controlled by foreigners. However, for a variety of reasons, it was argued that the refining at least should occur in Canada.

By the outbreak of The War, the necessity of nickel for modern warfare was established. Nickel was necessary for automobile parts, cartridge cases, bullet coverings, heavy ordnance, rifle barrels and armour-plate. Of course, its value was recognized by all of the then major powers. Canada had the new materials that in 1890, were mined by two foreign-owned companies. Yet, if the refining continued outside Canada, this country and the province of Ontario had no control over the ultimate destination of “the product”.  For some, this was not satisfactory.

Evidence suggests that on numerous occasions federal and provincial governments had examined and indeed promoted the refining of nickel in Canada. In 1886, a committee of the House of Commons refused to report a bill authorizing the Canadian Copper Company (C.C. Co.) of Ohio to operate in Canada until its promoters indicated that they would build a refinery.

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Sudbury: Melting Pot for Men and Ore – By Don Delaplante (Maclean’s April 15, 1951) Part 1

Inco World War Two Poster

In its furnaces every day a mountain of ore becomes a river of vital metals; On its streets a colorful mixture of races and religions surges and blends into a unique Canadian scene. Sudbury’s got a right to thump its hairy chest

A fragile, albeit glamorous and hard-knuckled, creature is the mine town. Today, ebullient with life, optimism and grand schemes for the future; tomorrow, perhaps a ghost town populated by a bewildered few left to flounder in the backwash made by rugged individualists hastening to other fields of fortune.

But, by every token in the book, there’s one Canadian mine town now a full-scale city of 47,000 that’s not destined to become a haunted has-been of yesteryear. In its case the reverse seems likely. Many persons believe it’s slated to become the Canadian facsimile of Pittsburgh.

The city is Sudbury, the hustling, bustling hub of a rock-strewn territory which is not only the most richly mineralized area of Canada but of the entire western hemisphere. No spectre of ghostdom haunts blatantly prosperous Sudbury. Continue Reading →

Big Nickel – By James H. Gray (Maclean’s October 1, 1947) – Part 2

Busy People

Well, if Sam Ritchie will settle for that kind of monument, there it is. It’s the only kind there is at the moment, for the guys who owe their jobs to Sam Ritchie’s stubbornness haven’t got around to anything else. We wondered about this and asked Dan Dunbar, Inco public relations man, why not.

“I guess they just haven’t had time. This is the participatingest community on the face of the earth. Everybody is always up to something, usually three or four things at the same time.”

Actually, instead of one community at Copper Cliff, there are as many communities as there are mines. Each settlement has its community hall and in the winter the lights in the halls are seldom out. The outdoor skating rinks are jammed with small fry. Teams from the district have an excellent record in national competition and each mine has its hockey team, bowling team, badminton team and baseball team. Continue Reading →

Big Nickel – By James H. Gray (Maclean’s – October 1, 1947) – Part 1

Inco Advertising 1946This brave New World of ours may be bringing the world-order architects down with the jitters, but no one is going to convince Mr. and Mrs. Job Public that it doesn’t have the gaudiest surface glitter they have ever seen.

Never before have so many automobiles been loaded down so heavily with so much nickel plating. The stores are filling up with nickel-plated tasters and electrical goods, nickel-plated furniture, nickel-plated utensils and fishing rods and gadgets of infinite assortment and complexity. And in tune with the glistening motif of the times, the merchandisers are lifting the faces of their store fronts and prettying them up with nickel plate, aluminum and chromium.

That’s just the first verse. Under the hood of your new car, in the works of your new radio, in the kitchen of your restaurant and under he concrete floor of your cellar, in airplanes and plows, in power plants and in nail files, in skyscrapers and in dental bridgework, there is more nickel hidden away than you can shake a stick at. Continue Reading →

Sudbury History – An Introduction

Sudbury is the richest mining district in North America and among the top ten most important globally. The region accounts for roughly half the mining production in the province of Ontario, the largest mineral producer in Canada. This prolific mining camp has been in continuous production for almost 130 years and many industry experts predict up to another century and a half of production.

The principal metal in the Sudbury region is nickel, an extraordinary substance that helped transform industrial society. Today nickel is essential to all facets of industrial manufacturing, primarily through stainless steel which uses about 70% of global production. The metal is found in over 300,000 products ranging from heart stents used in bypass surgery, to hybrid automobile batteries, jet engines and of course the kitchen sink.

Nickel’s unique properties include a combination of strength, hardness, ductility, resistance to corrosion and the ability to maintain strength under high heat. It can transfer these properties to other metals, making nickel absolutely essential for a wide variety of both civilian and military uses.

Yet, it was nickel’s critical role in military uses that thrust the Sudbury Basin mines into the geo-political spotlight, ensuring that the community’s history would be anything but dull.

During the war years (1939-45), International Nickel Co. of Canada, as it was known back then, and its employees in Sudbury and Port Colborne supplied 95% of all Allied demands for nickel–a vital raw material critical for the Allies’ final victory.

In fact, for much of the past century the key location for this essential metal was the legendary Sudbury Basin, with the South Pacific island of New Caledonia coming a distant second. During certain periods up to the mid-1970s, Sudbury supplied up to 90% of world demand.
Beginning this week I will be posting a few historic articles on the Sudbury nickel mines that were published by Macleans – often called the Canadian version of Time magazine. The writing is exceptional, and more importantly they give a great historical snapshot of how highly this community was thought of during those time periods.

In addition, later this week I will be introducing a Sudbury historian who has researched and written many columns on the community’s vibrant and exciting past.

FNX Mining- Sudbury Basin Success (Part One) – Stan Sudol

Terry MacGibbon, Executive Chair, FNX Mining Company Ltd. - FNX Photo“Our company has a strategic position in the trillion-dollar Sudbury Basin which by far, is the richest mining district in North America,” observes Terry MacGibbon, executive chair of FNX Mining Company Inc. “With China’s and eventually India’s voracious hunger for metals, expected to last for decades, the long-term growth and future of our company on solid ground.”

MacGibbon’s dedication to the region is proudly on display in the front lobby of the company’s University Ave. head office – adjacent to Toronto’s high-rise financial core where many of the country’s top mining analysts and investors work – with a bold eight-by-four sculpted wall hanging in the shape of the famous Sudbury Basin.

“Most Canadians don’t realize the Sudbury Basin is a global ‘metallic super power’ and that there are many incredibly rich mineral deposits still to be discovered here. This 120 year old mining camp will be producing nickel, copper and platinum for at least another century if not more,” he said.

With two operating mines on the north range of the Sudbury Basin, another mine ready for production in 2008 and two other promising deposits in the district, many have overlooked the phenomenal growth of FNX Mining.

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