It’s been a blast!
In the very first issue of Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal dated March 1, 2004, I wrote that we would “focus on the technology and innovation that result from the depth of expertise” in the mining community of Northern Ontario. Our sole purpose, I said, was to “reach out to the rest of the world… to share our expertise, and accelerate the success of Northern Ontario suppliers in the global mining marketplace.”
As I embark on the next chapter of my life (some would call it retirement), I can’t help observing that we have made significant progress toward that goal especially when I see companies like Hard Line Solutions, Symboticware, Maestro Digital Mine, RDH, ACR Fuller, Ionic Engineering, Nordic Minesteel, Northern Survey Supply, Wipware and many others selling their products and solutions globally.
Though born and raised in Montreal, Northern Ontario has been an important part of my life, having served as editor of the Manitoulin Expositor, Northern Life, Northern Ontario Business, the Northern Ontario Medical Journal and Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal for a total of 30 years. Having lived through some of the darkest periods of Sudbury’s history when lengthy strikes, vacant storefronts and fears of not being able to make payroll haunted the city, I always took pride in reporting on every accomplishment of the region’s mining suppliers. As I wrote 16 years ago, “adversity toughens us. It makes us work harder. It unleashes our creativity.”
Our very first issue in 2004 had cover stories on NORCAT’s space drill vying for a spot on a Mars mission and De Beers’ plans for the Victor diamond mine in the James Bay Lowlands. Dale Boucher, who was featured on our cover, is now president of Deltion Innovations and still hard at work on space exploration. The Victor Mine, which began production in July 2008, has mined more than seven million carats and is set to close this quarter. That first issue also featured stories on the North Bay chamber spearheading a trade mission to Chile, MIRARCO’s virtual reality lab, explosives authority Tom Palangio and R.A. Warren Equipment of North Bay, the Discover Abitibi research program in the Timmins area, and Sudbury area suppliers Novenco, RDH and Bestech.
I’m handing over the reins of Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal to Len Gillis, a veteran print and broadcast journalist and a Northerner, who, unlike me, knows the industry intimately, having worked as a hard rock miner at the Kidd Mine in Timmins between 1980 and 1984. SMSJ will be in good hands. As I take my leave, I look forward to helping Len over the next few months get integrated into this phenomenal cluster of international enterprise which has been leading Northern Ontario in the transition from mining ore to the development and sale of innovative mining solutions.
Thank you Mike Atkins for giving me this opportunity, thank you Dave Robinson for talking Mike into starting SMSJ and, most of all, thanks to you, our readers and advertisers, for your support through the years.
I don’t know if journalists ever retire completely, so don’t be surprised if you see my byline from time to time.