Sudbury struts its stuff in Vegas
The City of Greater Sudbury hopes to persuade at least some of the 40,000 industry professionals attending MINExpo 2012 in Las Vegas September 24 to 26 to look at career opportunities in its booming mining cluster.
Canada’s mining capital, 385 kilometres north of Toronto, is experiencing an unprecedented surge of investment and economic growth, and needs to recruit highly skilled mining industry professionals to fill current and anticipated vacancies.
The City has teamed up with Vale, Xstrata Nickel, KGHM International, Laurentian University, BESTECH, Hatch and Science North to canvass potential recruits at the biggest mining show in the world. Representatives of partnering organizations will be chatting up prospective candidates at the show to get the word out and inviting them to a reception at the Wynn Encore, September 25th to learn more about the city and the career and lifestyle opportunities it offers.
“We like to think that we’re quite well known in the mining world, and we are, but we’re not necessarily known as being such a great place to live,” said Ian Wood, the City’s director of economic development.
“MINExpo is an opportunity to convince potential recruits that this is the Palm Beach of mining,” he added. “Sudbury isn’t just another mining camp. We are a full service regional centre. A lot of people who come to Sudbury are amazed that they can work at a mine and still have their family with them, their kids educated from kindergarten to university, and a pool in the backyard. These are the kinds of things you don’t necessarily find in every mining camp in the world.”
Five mining companies have operations in the city, including Vale, Xstrata Nickel, KGHM International (formerly QuadraFNX), and First Nickel. The city of 160,000 also has a huge mining supply sector, a number of mining research organizations, and several engineering firms, including Hatch, Stantec, Golder Associates, AMEC, and Tetra-Tech.
Earlier this year, Vale, which operates five mines in the city, issued a press release announcing a requirement for 40 engineers. The Brazilian-based company has several major projects underway, including its $2 billion Clean AER project, which will dramatically reduce sulphur dioxide emissions from its smelter complex.
The Clean AER project will require eight million person hours of additional labour, with 1,300 workers needed on-site during the peak construction period in 2013.
Vale is also spending $759 million to bring Totten Mine into production next year and has commissioned a pre-feasibility study for its Victor-Capre project, which could result in the deepest, single-lift shaft in North America at a depth of 8,200 feet. It’s also spending $200 million to increase nickel recoveries at its Clarabelle Mill and a further $49 million on its 114 Orebody demonstration project to prove the feasibility of a new mining method based on the use of an innovative material handling system championed by Rail-veyor Technologies of Sudbury.
“With all of the projects we have coming online, we really have to work on our recruiting strategy to ensure we are able to fill the shortages of engineers and skilled trades in the coming years,” said Angie Robson, manager of corporate affairs for Vale’s Ontario division.
Meanwhile, Xstrata Nickel is spending $119 million on its Fraser Morgan project, KGHM has its $750 million Victoria Project in the pipeline and First Nickel is spending $75 million to expand operations at its Lockerby Mine.
In addition to all of this, Cliffs Natural Resources has selected Sudbury as the location for a $1.8 billion ferrochrome smelter to process chromite from its Black Thor deposit in Ontario’s Ring of Fire district. The smelter will create 450 jobs and is slated to be in operation by 2015.
“One of our big advantages when it comes to recruiting,” said Robson, “is that you can live where you work. You don’t have to fly in and out as you do in some other mining operations.”
Sudbury is also a four-season outdoor playground, noted Wood, with some 330 freshwater lakes situated within the city’s boundaries, offering opportunities for fishing and boating in summer and cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in winter. It also has a lot to offer culturally, with a symphony orchestra, live theatre and several music festivals.
Laurentian University is partnering with the City at MINExpo to help raise its profile in the global mining industry.
“We are reaching out internationally with our School of Mines to develop short courses and distance learning initiatives, so for us it’s an opportunity to continue building relationships with the mining industry,” said Tracy MacLeod, the university’s director of development.
More than 500 students were ernrolled at Laurentian’s Baarti School of Engineering and its Department of Earth Sciences in 2011, a substantial increase over the 173 students in the two programs in 2005. Laurentian’s has a total of 10,000 students, hosts the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and is in the process of launching a School of Architecture.
The campus also plays host to the Mining Innovation, Rehabilitation and Applied Research Corporation (MIRARCO), the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation, the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines and the Ontario Geological Survey.
The City embarked on its talent attraction initiative because “we recognized that our companies need to attract people from outside the community for the job opportunities they have,” said Wood. “We felt that MINExpo would be a perfect opportunity to move ourselves up on the radar screen.
“We’ve always played a supportive role for companies trying to recruit people to the city, but this is the first time we’ve put a name to it, allocated staff and asked for a dedicated budget.”
The City and its partners are hoping to attract between 200 and 250 people to the reception at the Wynn Encore.
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