The mining industry in this province has a long history of strong links with the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE). While the TSE officially opened its doors in 1852, the expansion of mining activity in the late 1800s led to the formation of a separate share trading operation-the Standard Stock and Mineral Exchange (SSME) in 1899.
Following the discovery and development of important silver and gold deposits in the early 1900s, the SSME grew dramatically. However, the SSME tended to reflect the cyclicality of the stocks it was trading. During the Depression of the 1930s, the SSME and the TSE merged to create the newer and larger Toronto Stock Exchange. The first shares to be traded on this new share marketplace in 1934 were of course a mining stock-International Nickel Company of Canada, now known as Inco Ltd.
In 1999, the Board of Directors of the Ontario Mining Association went to visit the TSE. There they found the eighth largest stock exchange in the world, in which mining stocks account for greater than 20% of both the volume and value of shares traded. Maureen Jensen, director of mining services at the TSE, reports that nearly 300 mining companies are listed on the TSE and that 40% of global mining equity offerings have been financed through the TSE in recent years.
The share trading activities of the TSE are as high-tech as the mining industry it serves. Though some of the romance from the old days of stock swapping and mining are long gone, the TSE provides a fair and efficient marketplace for raising capital and trading equities. Although it was a quick trip, OMA directors enjoyed learning more about their links with Canada’s premier capital market.
The mining exhibit forms a large and integral part of the TSE’s public education forum called “Stock Market Place.” During the 10th annual Ontario Mining Week in May 1999, a special ceremony was held to mark the bond between the TSE and mining, and to help launch this mining exhibit. As the highlight of “Mining Works for Toronto Day at the TSE,” Barrick Gold Corp.’s chairman Peter Munk was presented with a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to making Toronto the global centre for mining finance. He was modest in accepting this honour, and praised the work of all members of the Barrick team.
“I think I have learned more from my failures than from my successes,” said Munk. “Life is nothing but a learning curve. Mining is known for its contributions to communities and it does more than other industries,” he added. “Without voluntary giving, there is no civilized society. Mining sets standards for giving and being philanthropic.”
At this event, Barrick president Randall Oliphant noted that “We [miners] are proud of our contribution to Toronto’s prosperity, and everyone here leads a better life because of mining.” OMA president Patrick Reid spoke about the economic contributions made by modern mining in Ontario and the celebration of the 10th annual Ontario Mining Week. Reid urged industry representatives to “tell people mining works for them.”
Dan Sullivan, vice-president of the Toronto Stock Exchange, mentioned that the mining and exploration companies listed on the TSE have a market capitalization of more than $66 billion. “The TSE has an ongoing commitment to mining,” he said. Jensen talked about the official opening of the exchange’s mining showcase, which demonstrates the life cycle of a mine from exploration through to rehabilitation. “It is a celebration of mining excellence.”