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Chilean mining reps visit Sudbury

Ricardo Ortiz Salazar doesn’t think much of the frigid winter weather in Sudbury, but he admits he’s “a little jealous” of the city’s mining industry.

Salazar, manager of Marco Mining Service of Iquique, Chile, was among a delegation of nine representatives of mines and mining supply and service companies from the city of Iquique to visit Sudbury Nov. 28.

The Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Service Association (SAMSSA) arranged for the Chileans to meet the owners of companies of interest to them.

Iquique, population 216,000, is located in northern Chile on the Pacific coast. It has copper, nitrate and phosphorus mines, and is home to one of the largest tax-free commercial ports in South America.

Speaking in Spanish through an interpreter, Salazar said he came to Sudbury to learn about new technology and mining techniques.

It would be difficult to buy mining supplies and services from Canada, he said, although it might be feasible with larger contracts.

SAMSSA executive director Dick DeStefano said “nothing concrete” usually happens during the first meeting between mining industry representatives from two countries, but there could be deals down the road.

“It takes two years for there to be any outcome from these meetings. We call it the three-visit syndrome. They come here, we go there, and then we go back again, and finally you see one or two projects going. But sometimes the projects are huge.”

Ismael Espindola, of Arturo Prat University in Iquique, was one of the organizers of the trade mission. He said the delegation decided to come to Sudbury because it is one the biggest mining centres in the world.

“I think that we can find good partners,” he said, also speaking in Spanish through an interpreter.

“I’m looking to the future and foreseeing some collaboration. I think there can be a commercial partnership between Chilean companies and Sudbury companies.”

Tom Palangio, president North Bay-based WipWare, said he travels to Chile every six months because he does a lot of business in South America.

“It’s a pretty interesting concept to have a free-trade zone. If a person has to put inventory in another country, it’s pretty daunting, because the first thing they do is hit you with high taxes,” he said.

“At least in a free-trade zone, you can put inventory in, and you don’t really have to pay taxes until it leaves the free trade zone. That’s really encouraging for Canadian suppliers, and especially people in the Sudbury area.”

Palangio said the SAMSSA-organized trade missions from other countries may not always result in deals being struck, but once in a while there’s a good fit.

“There’s only so much you can do via the Internet and other forms of communication. At some point you have to get together and meet individuals and talk about these things.”

Jeff Fuller, president of Fuller Industrial, said he wanted to meet the delegates from Chile to see if he could find an agent to sell his rubber-lined industrial pipes in South America.

www.samssa.ca

 

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