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Province unveils export development program

December 1, 2010
by Norm Tollinsky
In: News with 0 Comments

Mining supply and service companies in Northern Ontario interested in breaking into new markets across North America and around the world will be able to take advantage of a new $8 million fund set up by the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry (MNDM&F).

The funding was first announced in the province’s 2009 budget, but sat untapped pending the completion of a Ministry-commissioned study of the sector and the crafting of a series of programs that could best meet the needs of mining supply and service companies.A new Export Readiness Training Program kicks off November 29 to December 2 with a series of one-day seminars in Thunder Bay, Timmins, Sudbury and North Bay. Suppliers will learn about export opportunities from Ontario’s in-market consultants in Peru, Chile, Mexico and Brazil, and will hear from the province’s marketing representative in Saskatchewan and staff from Export Development Canada.”The objective is to present the opportunities within these markets and provide some insight into how suppliers can take advantage of them,” said Paul Bradette, the Ministry’s strategic sector co-ordinator for mining supply and services.

The second component of the Export Readiness Training Program will provide one-on-one consulting for up to 60 companies over a three-year period.

The objective will be to help suppliers establish an export development strategy. To be eligible for the program, companies will have to demonstrate that they have the capacity to tackle new markets and are prepared to make the necessary commitment. Consultants will spend up to 60 hours with each participating company.

ONE DC, a development agency established by Northern Ontario’s five major municipalities, will deliver the program.

In the third and final component of the Export Readiness Training Program, companies will be paired with a mentor – most likely a retired executive who knows the target markets and can help make the initial connections, said Bradette.

Suppliers will also be able to take advantage of a Private Sector Export Marketing Assistance Program that will complement and expand on a similar program operated by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. Under this program, Northern Ontario mining supply and service companies will be able to apply to have up to 50 per cent of their export marketing costs subsidized. The Ministry program will extend eligibility to companies regardless of size and will also cover expenses related to developing new markets in the rest of Canada.

Eligible marketing expenses will include marketing materials, flights and accommodations, said Bradette.

Other components of the promotion and assistance program will beef up Ontario’s presence at mining-related trade shows around the world, promote Ontario’s mining supply cluster to new and emerging markets, and fund additional incoming trade missions.

“We have some huge competition out there from countries like Australia, the U.S. and Germany and we’re one of the number one clusters in the world, but our presence at (trade) shows doesn’t always reflect that,” said Bradette.

The Ministry is establishing an advisory committee of mining suppliers and will continue to work with ONE DC and the Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Service Association (SAMSSA) to maximize the value of the funds allocated.

The Northern Ontario Mining Supply and Services Study commissioned by the Ministry estimated the sector’s annual output at $5.6 billion, 19 per cent of which is currently derived from exports.


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