Sudbury-North Bay Mining Supply Corridor Growing – Dick DeStefano

The Sudbury Mining Supply Journal gave Republic of permission to post Dick DeStefano’s column. This Sudbury-based magazine showcases the mining expertise of North Bay, Timmins and Sudbury.

Dick DeStefano

What do the City of Greater Sudbury and North Bay have in common that make them unique within the global mining context?

The simple answer is they anchor a corridor which includes 415 mining supply and service companies who market their tools, talent and technology domestically and internationally.

The Northern Ontario corridor of mining suppliers is known worldwide in all mining circles as the centre of mining excellence based on products and expertise that, in some cases, stretch over 40 years of refinements and production of quality work in the field.

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The Future of Sudbury’s Mining Supply and Services Sector is Bright – Dr. David Robinson

The Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal gave Republic of permission to post Dr. David Robinson’s column. This Sudbury-based magazine showcases the mining expertise of North Bay, Timmins and Sudbury.

Dr. David Robinson

Here is the formula for a crystal ball. Take a cube of derived demand, add a book from a Singapore scholar, stir in some used predictions and a sprinkling of judgment. Apply this mix liberally to the mining supply and services industry and voilá – you can see the future.

Economists have long understood that nobody really wants grass seed – they like it once it has been turned into bread and a few people like it turned into lawns. Demand for wheat is almost all “derived” from the more basic demand for food. Demand for copper is even more indirect: copper makes wire to deliver electricity to bake bread. Nobody eats copper or stoves or electricity.

Nobody eats scoop trams, either. Continue Reading →

Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame Historical Profile – Edward Townley Hardman (1845- 1887)

Edward Townley Hardman was a geologist who discovered payable gold in Western Australia’s Kimberley District
Western Australia

As an inductee in the category of Prospectors and Discoverers, Edward Townley Hardman is recognised for his important role in the first discovery of payable gold at Halls Creek in Western Australia in 1885.

After graduating with a Diploma in Mining from the Royal College of Science in Dublin, he joined the staff of the Geological Survey of Ireland then was chosen by the Colonial Office for the position of Government Geologist in Western Australia. Hardman accompanied expeditions to the Kimberley district in the mid 1880s and after panning for gold in several watercourses, discovered the colony’s first commercial goldfield in the headwaters of the Elvire River, later to become known as Halls Creek.

During his time based in Perth, Hardman was also active in examining the geology of the South West. He is generally credited with being the first to find tin at Greenbushes and to report on the prospects for finding artesian water in the Perth area.

Hardman will always be remembered for his pioneering geological work in Western Australia leading to the first discovery of gold in the East Kimberley and to the beginnings of the State’s mining industry. The success of his work led directly to the establishment of the Geological Survey of Western Australia as the colony’s first scientific organisation.


Tim Griffin

For more profiles of the men and women who made Australia a global mining powerhouse, go to:

Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame Historical Profile – Kitty Pluto (Unknown – Unknown)

Kitty Pluto was one of the most successful Aboriginal prospectors on the Cape York Peninsula, Queensland.

Aboriginal people have been involved in Australian prospecting and mining from its beginning. Aboriginal guides and assistants were as crucial to frontier prospectors as they were to explorers; their bushcraft was used to find mineralisation as well as tracks and water. On the small remote fields of the north, their labour was particularly important. Henry Reynolds cites the Mulgrave mining warden writing in 1891, that local Aborigines were “Very useful to the miners, who have so many difficulties to contend against, in a country so much broken and covered with so dense a jungle”. On the Rocky goldfield, on Cape York, local Aborigines carried in all supplies because the country was too hard for packhorses.

Aborigines also prospected and mined, either alone, or as partners or assistants of non-indigenous miners. Unfortunately, they are seriously under-documented and we know only a few of them by name. Continue Reading →

Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame Historical Profile – Tom Flanagan (1832-1899)

Tom Flanagan was one of the prospectors whose discovery of gold in 1893 paved the way to mining in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia

2. Hannan’s reward claim was registered in two names, Patrick Hannan and Thomas Flanagan, on June 17th 1893.

Kalgoorlie#47; Boulder’s Golden Mile is recognised as the richest mile in the world. The gold mines and the nearby city owe their existence to the discovery of gold made by Patrick Hannan, Tom Flanagan and Dan Shea in the area in 1893.

Born in Ireland, Hannan, Flanagan and Shea had migrated to Australia in the mid-nineteenth century. Flanagan arrived in July 23, 1860 at Melbourne and went to the fields at Bendigo in Victoria; Hannan arrived in Melbourne in 1863 and most likely went to join relatives in Ballarat; and Shea probably arrived at the end of the 1860s

By the time they came to the newly discovered fields to the east of Perth in Western Australia, all three had prospected or worked in mines in various colonies.  Continue Reading →

Here’s What’s Wrong With Municipal Mining Revenue in Ontario – Michael Atkins

A month or so ago, a special task force for the Greater City of Sudbury called the Advisory Panel on Municipal Mining Revenues presented their recommendations to the city.

The committee was struck to review the astonishing inequities between the amount of mining tax money skimmed off the top by the provincial and federal governments, as opposed to the falling revenue for the city. This is not a new idea. The panel puts it in perspective.

In 1964, the mayor of Sudbury, at the time, struck a committee to investigate Sudbury’s financial problems and came up with a report entitled “1964; Year of the Dilemma.” The major theme was the lack of assessment available to the city from the mining industry.

In 1967,  the Ontario Committee on Taxation went at it with a draft proposal that Sudbury would receive even less money. Continue Reading →

A Refined Argument: Report of the Advisory Panel on Municipal Mining Revenues – Produced by the City of Greater Sudbury

(Following from Feb/27/2008 City of Greater Sudbury News Release)

In March 2006, the City of Greater Sudbury set up a ten-member Advisory Panel on Municipal Mining Revenues chaired by former Inco vice-president José Blanco. The resulting 64-page report, released in February, 2008, called on Council to, ‘invite the Province of Ontario to enter into negotiations with the city to establish a resource revenue-sharing framework that will ensure a predictable and sustainable revenue stream for the municipality.”

The panel notes that in 1970, major mining companies accounted for about a quarter of local property taxes. By 2005, the mining companies’ share of municipal property tax levies had fallen to just 6.5 per cent.

‘This is a very complex, multi-layered story in which there are no bad guys,” said panel chair José Blanco. Continue Reading →

Remarks by José Blanco, Chair of the Advisory Panel on Municipal Revenues from “A Refined Argument”

On behalf of the members of the Advisory Panel on Municipal Mining Revenues, I am pleased to present our report.

The Panel that you and your Council convened to prepare this report includes a diversity of perspectives drawn from the panelists’ experiences in business, politics, community services, labour, education and the mining industry. It has been a privilege to work with these dedicated citizens.

As the work of the Panel progressed, ably supported by the resource team you provided, the diversity of experiences merged into a consensus that a new framework for balancing the costs and the benefits that the mining industry creates within our Municipality is essential. These issues need to be urgently addressed for the City of Greater Sudbury to achieve its potential.

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Executive Summary – A Refined Argument: Report of the Advisory Panel on Municipal Mining Revenues – Produced by the City of Greater Sudbury

The Sudbury Basin is arguably the most valuable geologic structure in the world. For more than one hundred years, dozens of mines have operated around the rim of this ancient meteor crater, extracting millions of pounds of nickel, copper and cobalt as well as million of ounces of gold, platinum and palladium.

The sales of these metals have realized tens of billions of dollars in profit for mining companies and billions of dollars in taxes for the Federal and Provincial Governments. The mining activities in the Sudbury Basin have in large measure driven the development of the progressive urban center that is the City of Greater Sudbury.

Local municipal government in the Sudbury area has gradually grown to match the geographic extent of the basin. As dictated by the Ontario government in 1973 and again in 2001, the disparate assembly of communities that had developed around the mine sites has been consolidated into Ontario’s largest municipality, covering a staggering 3,200 square kilometers. Continue Reading →

Ottawa, Ontario Must Support Sudbury Basin’s Trillion Dollar Resource – Greater Sudbury Mayor John Rodriguez

Greater Sudbury Mayor - John RodriguezLast month, we celebrated Mining Week in Greater Sudbury, an annual event designed to promote the importance of the mining and processing industry to the community at large.  This event is useful and appropriate but we need to remind ourselves every week about the role that mining and processing plays in our local economy and the role that our city plays in this vital global industry.

The people of this community can take great pride in the successes of the economic diversification strategies that were launched a quarter century ago.  The dreams of the 1970s and 1980s are now reality and we are a significant government services centre, an award-winning tourism destination, a centre for education and health, and the leading service and retail centre in Northern Ontario.

At the same time, however, our mining, processing and mining supply and services sectors are driving the city’s economy to new heights and creating significant wealth for our province and for Canada as a whole.  As a city, it is critical that we understand and support this vital industry and that we develop strategies to ensure that we remain competitive on a global basis, well into the future.

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Ontario Mining Municipalities Want Fair Share of Tax Revenues – Gregory Reynolds

Gregory Reynolds - Timmins ColumnistThe fight by mining municipalities to win fair tax treatment from the Ontario government is entering a new phase. The drive is spearheaded by the two largest mining communities in Canada, Sudbury and Timmins. The two cities have accepted, finally, that in unity there is strength.

The second fact they have embraced is that there are too many voices attempting to get the ear of the politicians from the Golden Horseshoe.

There are just too many organizations that try to present the numerous problems facing Northern Ontario to Queen’s Park. This has enabled successive governments, and all three political parties are equally guilty when in power, to play the divide and conquer game.

Also part of the new reality accepted by northern representatives is that crying softly, or shouting loudly, doesn’t win friends or influence people. Hard facts, backed by statistics and logical arguments, are needed to achieve their goal of obtaining the financial help required to improve the quality of life in the region. Continue Reading →

Enormous Mining Potential for Northern Ontario Aboriginals – Honourable Michael Gravelle, Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines

Honourable Michael Gravelle, Ontario Minister of Northern Development and MinesWe’ve all heard a great deal these past few weeks regarding the sentencing of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation members (now under appeal) resulting from a dispute between the community and the exploration company Platinex.

While I am personally very disappointed and indeed saddened to see First Nations community members in jail, it is important to say that this unfortunate situation does not in any way lessen our government’s resolve to work cooperatively with Ontario’s Aboriginal communities. 

Certainly, the Ontario government takes its duty to consult very seriously and we are committed to meeting that duty on an ongoing basis. 

Prior to recent efforts by my colleague, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, to broker a solution, my ministry was actively working with KI and other First Nation communities in a number of ways including:

• visiting communities and attending community meetings to share information about exploration and mining;
• providing prospector training courses;
• inviting communities to participate in our government’s Far North Geological Mapping Initiative;
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Newmont President and Chief Executive Officier Robert T. O’Brien on Sustainable Gold Mining

Newmont President and CEO Robert T. O’Brien - Company PhotoThere is a New Day Dawning at Newmont and each day affords us the opportunity to renew our commitment and dedication to be an industry leader as we strive to achieve our vision of becoming The Gold Company of Choice through industry leading performance. We have reaffirmed the values that guide us as we seek the most effective ways to provide sustainable value for our employees, our communities and our shareholders by “acting with integrity, trust and respect.”

In 2007, we began to redirect the company and our business strategy. We established a new management team and implemented initiatives that will enable us to dedicate ourselves to Newmont’s core gold business, to expand our growth and exploration opportunities and to unlock the value embedded in our capital structure, as well as reduce operating costs.

Key highlights during the year included:
• Producing 5.3 million equity ounces of gold, in line with our original guidance and expectations;
• Investing significantly in our business, including more than $1 billion in new gold projects and operating efficiency initiatives;
• Eliminating our gold hedge book, which positioned Newmont as the premier un-hedged gold company, and improved our financial strength and flexibility;
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SAMSSA Hall of Fame – Fred Castron and Conrad C. Houle

The SAMSSA Hall of Fame recognizes management leaders who have developed and provided mining advancing technologies and/or products and services that  have improved the efficiencies of mining globally and domestically and have built or assisted in building companies in Northern Ontario that have proven to be successful.

The leaders in the mining supply and service industry have proven that mining is only as efficient and productive as the quality of products and services provided from mining supply companies.  Over 400 Northern Ontario mining supply and service companies can boast of their historical influence in mining camps worldwide and their significant employment opportunities for skilled personnel making this sector larger in number than all direct mining and refining jobs in Northern Ontario.

SAMSSA and the Mining World congratulate the following inductees into the SAMSSA Hall of Fame: Fred Castron, Cast Resource Equipment Limited and Conrad C. Houle, Chairman and CEO, Tracks and Wheels Equipment Brokers Inc.

Fred Castron

The son of a blue collar mine worker in Penticton, B.C., Fred grew up in the 30’s and 40’s with limited formal education but he developed a fondness for numbers and a willingness to learn which would later serve him well as a young partsman working in the warehouses of Blackwood Hodge Equipment Limited.

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Sudbury’s Mine Specialists (Part 4 of 4)

OEM Off-Highway magazine Editor Chad Elmore has given Republic of permission to post an October 2007 article on Sudbury’s Mining Supply and Service sector.

OEM Off-Highway magazine provides an editorial mix of new technology, component information, engineering processes and industry news to help product development teams design and produce better off-highway vehicles and component systems. OEM Off-Highway

The Northern Bermuda Triangle

Today CVRD Inco is still involved in product development, albeit in a different capacity. Most of the equipment in Sudbury leaves the factory fully assembled. If it’s going to be lowered in a cage, a few tricks must be performed. Depending on the size of the cage, this can mean tearing the machine down, lowering the pieces on the cage and rebuilding it underground. It’s an extra process that can cost the mine as much as $30,000.

CVRD Inco wanted to prove new machines above ground. It created a ramp with a 20% grade in an old open pit mine near Sudbury.
It’s been called the Bermuda Triangle of the North because things happen to vehicles on the ramp test that never occurred in the past. The vehicles are pounded repeatedly by worst-possible situations that replicate real-world conditions. The Canadian Standards Assoc. (CSA) and other groups spell out specifications like safe stopping distances. CVRD Inco’s test uses the standards, then cuts them by a third to make up for extended maintenance intervals.

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