Canadian Mining Journal

Feature

Sudbury innovation puts Canada centre stage



I thought I would avoid the worst of northern Ontario weather by planning my first trip to Sudbury in the late fall, but in a visit in late November, the city rolled out the white carpet for me anyway.

Aside from the weather, my impressions of the Greater Sudbury area were positive. That’s impressive considering the descriptions of a blighted landscape that I had heard Sudbury used to be, the legacy of pollution from the historic nickel smelters there.

Last year, CMJ reported on how Sudbury has transformed itself into a hub of mining innovation. This year, the story is on the region’s even grander plans for the future (see Page 40).

Many of the people I met on my visit were either transplants or people who had spent time away from the north only to return. It’s not hard to see why.

From mining supply companies to miners, academia and non-profits in the region, it seems that everyone with ties to the mining sector aspires to be the best in the world at what they do.

That includes Vic Pakalnis, CEO of Mirarco, and one of the advocates for the use of small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) at remote mine sites (see Page 53).

It takes a lot of optimism to put two industries with social licence issues together and expect a positive outcome. But that is exactly what Vic envisions. Vic believes the mining sector is the perfect client for SMRs – miners need cheaper energy but they also want to minimize their environmental impact.

But both the mining and nuclear industries have to rehabilitate their images.

“We have to work on our reputation, our social acceptability and the nuclear industry has to do the same,” Vic told me. “They need better spokespeople that aren’t afraid to be in the media. They’re starting to develop that.”

Also in this issue, it seems Ontario is at the centre of battery electric vehicles for mining. We’ve got coverage of both the Borden gold mine owned by Goldcorp (soon to be Newmont Goldcorp when a merger of the two companies is completed in the second quarter) and the Onaping Depth nickel-copper project, owned by Glencore (see Pages 20 and 46, respectively).

And quiet progress is being made in the Ring of Fire. To date, there haven’t been any grand announcements on road infrastructure from Premier Doug Ford’s new government, but environmental assessments for community roads in the region are under way, with First Nations communities leading the process (see Page 28).

Lastly, to help us better serve the mining industry, CMJ has established an Advisory Board. Going forward, these five professionals (see Page 6), who all have deep industry experience and technical knowledge in their fields, will help us raise the bar on our coverage. We’re excited to have them on board!


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