The Canadian Association of Mining Equipment and Services for Export (CAMESE) has undertaken a study, funded by Ontario's Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, to determine the province's mining supply and service sector's contributions to Canada's gross domestic product.
“There have been various surveys done, but nothing with this depth of methodology,” said Jon Baird, CAMESE’s managing director.
The association has partnered with PricewaterhouseCoopers to analyze questionnaires 900 supply and service companies in the province have been asked to complete.
To measure the companies' contribution to national GDP, the questionnaire is meant to determine the companies' operating and capital expenses.
Other surveys have measured revenues and employment numbers, but have never explored expenses and GDP contributions for the sector, he said.
Baird said the economic contributions of the mining supply and service sector have been hidden from view because many of the companies involved, such as the major banks, are involved with industries other than mining.
His association's study, he said, would aim to determine the contributions those companies, often unaffiliated with mining, make to the sector.
“The outcome of this is going to be stunning because there's so much here that has been hidden,” Baird said. “This is going to surprise an awful lot of people.”
But Dick DeStefano, executive director of the Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Service Association (SAMSSA), said his organization analyzed the economic contributions of Northern Ontario's mining supply and service sector in 2010.
SAMSSA collaborated with Doyletech Corporation to conduct in-person interviews with 150 companies for the study.
The study determined Northern Ontario's mining supply and services sector had an output of $5.6 billion from 500 companies that employed around 23,000 people.
According to the study, Sudbury represented the greatest share of that economic output with $3.9 billion and 13,800 mining supply and service sector jobs.
Foreign exports represented 19 per cent of the sector's sales, the study said. Five per cent of those sales were to the United States.
DeStefano said the mining supply and service sector has remained relatively static since 2010. Because the sector depends so much on mining and exploration, he said, it takes growth from those sectors to benefit the mining supply and service companies.
But DeStefano said recent changes to Vale's procurement system in Sudbury will create growth in the mining supply and service sector.
Mining supply and service companies previously had to deal with Vale's offices in Toronto and Brazil to set up contracts with the mining giant.
But in 2012, Vale started to change its organizational structure, and shifted its gaze to regional markets.
In early 2014, Vale created 12 positions in its Sudbury office to facilitate contracts with local suppliers.
From 2009 to 2012, Vale spent $2.6 billion on supplies and services in the Nickel City.
As for the Canadian Association of Mining Equipment and Services for Export study, DeStefano said any information that echoes SAMSSA's findings will be a good thing.
“The study should demonstrate that the supply and service industry is a major contributor to wealth creation and job opportunities marketplace,” DeStefano said.