Located on the lower level of the 2,000-square foot Xstrata Nickel Gallery, the walk-through object theatre presents a four-step multi-media tour. Its energetic screen host “Corey” leads visitors through the processing of nickel and copper from the crushing of the ore in a ball mill to the fiery furnaces of the smelter and then on to the refinery, finally highlighting finished products ranging from musical instruments and stainless steel sinks to intricate computer boards.
The Science North production is part of Dynamic Earth’s $3.5 million phase-three development to enhance the earth science centre experience in an educational, fun and interactive way. The exhibit has been well received since its debut June 12, said Dynamic Earth director Mia Boiridy.
Input from MIRARCO, Xstrata, Vale Inco, the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation and the Rainbow District School Board aided in the development of the exhibit. Xstrata Nickel and MacLean Engineering each provided a $100,000 financial donation, while major funding of $1.4 million was provided by the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation. In kind contributions included a Caterpillar excavator-simulator and a radio-remote control system from Sudbury-based HLS Hard Line Solutions.
Approximately 30 employees at Dynamic Earth welcome between 50,000 to 60,000 visitors from early March to November 1st every year. The attraction opened in 2003 with an underground mining tour and other interactive exhibits highlighting Sudbury’s unique geology and rich mining heritage.
The completion of phase two in March 2007 diversified the content of the exhibits, expanded its programming, workshop space and lobby, and added the digital Atlas Copco Theatre and Inco Chasm multimedia shows.
Phase three added 4,000 square feet of space, creating the Xstrata Nickel and MacLean Engineering Galleries, along with other interactive multi-media exhibits.
Opening in March 2009, the 2,000-square foot MacLean Engineering Gallery will host a travelling interactive diamond exhibit. Once it has made its debut in Sudbury, it will be leased to other science centres and museums throughout North America for approximately five to eight years.
“We’re really excited about it and have had some good feedback from potential customers,” said Boiridy.
Other additions on the lower level include a slide-through rock tunnel and conveyor belt on the three-level Explora Mine for children aged 10 or younger.
On the upper level, the Rock Hound Lab promotes examination and geological experiments of rocks and minerals, as well as rock and fossil trading. The Ontario Rocks touch-screen zooms to other mineral deposit-rich locations throughout Ontario.
With these new attractions, Boiridy plans to get the word out that Dynamic Earth is more than just an underground mining tour. “It is an experience for everyone,” she said.