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Sudbury Mining Solutions

Commentary

Mining industry soars once more

The mining industry, like life itself, has often been described as a roller coaster, climbing to nose bleed altitudes and then suddenly plummeting back to earth. The Northern Ontario mining cluster profited handsomely from the booming global economy in the years preceding 2008 and tanked along with the banks, the auto industry and the likes of Greece and Ireland when the bubble burst. This issue of Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal is proof positive that the mining industry is soaring once again.Our mining contactors – The Redpath Group, Cementation Canada, Dumas Mining and DMC – are as busy as they’ve ever been and bracing for more projects coming their way. A well-deserved reputation for being the best in the business takes Northern Ontario contractors across North America and to the four corners of the world – from Timmins to Tasmania and from Manitoba to Mongolia. Our cover story this issue paints a convincing picture of an industry driven by a global hunger for resources and dependent on a handful of companies skilled in punching six, eight, and 10-metre diameter holes thousands of feet through solid rock.

Unlocking the gold, precious metals and potash that are in such demand takes a range of skills – from exploration and development through to mining and environmental remediation.

Our interview in this issue with Gerald Panneton, president of Detour Gold, offers a great case study of the skills that are necessary to discover a resource and bring it into production. In the case of Detour Lake, the gold was discovered decades ago and mined by Placer Dome from 1983 to 1999. If not for the skills, experience and entrepreneurial drive of Gerald Panneton, Detour Lake today would be a forgotten historical footnote. He saw the potential that others missed and had the talent to raise money, expand the resource and bring about a production decision. As a result, a cool billion is being spent developing a mine on a property that would otherwise have remained nothing more than moose pasture. The same skills are being applied by Canadian geologists and engineers to develop resources for the global economy in Central Asia, Africa and South America. (See Page 14.)

Finding and developing mines is just the beginning. Designing and producing the equipment and systems to operate them is equally important and, here too, the Northern Ontario mining cluster shines, as is evident from our stories about RDH Mining Equipment (Page 3), Marcotte Mining Machinery (Page 11) and Labrecque Technologies (Page 26).

Two billion dollars in planned spending for Vale’s Atmospheric Emission Program (Page 16), the aforementioned billion for Detour Lake, another three-quarter billion-dollar investment by Quadra FNX for the development of the Victoria project (Page 4) and untold billions for the development of Cliffs’ Resources chromite project in Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire all point to good times for Canada’s mining heartland.

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