Mobile Equipment Credit: MineConnect
MineConnect, formerly known as the Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Services Association (SAMSSA for short), launched a re-branding initiative earlier this year aimed at making its 174 member companies “Suppliers of Choice to the World,” says Executive-Director Paul Bradette.
“We announced the re-branding at PDAC on March 3 just before the world collapsed,” says Bradette. “Two days later, Sudbury got its first case of Covid-19 and everything went down from there.”
Canada and many other countries went into strict lockdowns, essentially shutting down their economies. Bradette and his team had scheduled a number of public events post-PDAC to roll out the new-look MineConnect to the mining industry and explain the re-branding; however this had to be postponed.
Although the change of names is the most visible aspect of the re-branding, there’s much more to it than that. “We want to provide more services and a stronger value proposition to our members,” Bradette says. “The re-positioning of the Association will support the growth of our member companies.”
Mining supply and services companies currently employ some 23,000 people across northern Ontario, generate $5.5 billion of wealth annually and pay $1.7 billion in salaries and benefits. They provide a remarkable array of hard and soft services and products to the mining industry.
The MineConnect website (www.mineconnect.com) serves as a one-stop portal where mining companies, whether they’re juniors, developers or major producers, can search out whatever they need in the way of resources or supplies. Member products and services fall into 12 categories, ranging from companies that provide blasting and bulk handling equipment, to automation and consulting services as well as mobile mining equipment and battery electric vehicles. Many innovative products and services currently provided include tele-robotics, digital tracking devices for vehicles working underground and those that provide operators with real-time information from the mine face. As an example, RDH-Sharf developed the world’s first working electric battery vehicles put into service by Kirkland Lake Gold.
“A growing part of MineConnect’s role is lead generation,” says Bradette. “We’re actually trying to help mine contractors and operators find the proper supplier through our website.”
Mine development Credit: MineConnect
Despite the shadow cast by the Covid-19 lockdown, Bradette’s team has been working on several exciting initiatives to promote growth opportunities for member companies regionally, nationally and internationally. “We want to get our supply chain in front of a global audience so they recognize the tremendous amount of innovation that is coming out of the northern Ontario cluster,” says Bradette.
To help achieve this, MineConnect plans to open two “storefront offices,” one at NORCAT Sudbury and a second in Elko, Nevada. Why Elko? “There’s a whole lot of mining activity in Nevada and it’s not a world away,” as Bradette explains. “As well, they’re starting to transition to underground mining as opposed to open pit. We specialize in hard rock, underground mining so our products and services fit very well in that marketplace.”
Bradette would like to have a “stake in the ground,” which means having the Elko office open by next March, although the timing very much depends on whether Covid-19 infections are under control in the United States. In the meantime, planning is proceeding. The organization intends to hire a Nevada-based representative with a knowledge of and connectioons to the State’s mining industry. This coordinator will supply market intelligence to MineConnect members, promote member services and products and recruit mine operators to visit northern Ontario.
The storefront will also provide office space for as many as 10 member companies who want to use the facilities as an incubator to pursue business development directly with mining companies operating in Nevada. Along with having boots on the ground, MineConnect members will also be provided with other opportunities such as attending the many mining shows and conventions held annually in the State.
While reaching out internationally, MineConnect intends to maintain and strengthen its ties within the northern Ontario mining scene. As an attestation to this, five of the organization’s nine current directors are business owners based in Thunder Bay, Timmins, North Bay, Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie who are actively involved in the mining industry and engaged in promoting the remarkable array of services and products available through the Association’s member companies.
For more information, go to the Association’s website at www.mineconnect.com.
The preceding Joint-Venture Article is PROMOTED CONTENT sponsored by MineConnect, and presented in co-operation with The Canadian Mining Journal.