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Newfoundland community needs mine supply expertise

The Long Harbour Development Corp. in Newfoundland wants to import the expertise of Sudbury’s mining supply and services companies.
Sparked by the construction of Vale's hydromet facility in Long Harbour, Newfoundland, the community's development corporation wants mining supply and service companies to come east and support the plant.

The Long Harbour Development Corp. in Newfoundland wants to import the expertise of Sudbury’s mining supply and services companies.

The community is the site of Vale’s $3-billion hydromet processing facility, currently under construction, and it will process nickel sulphide concentrate from Vale's Voisey's Bay Mine in Labrador. The development corporation wants to identify suppliers so when the facility goes into production in 2013, they are ready to meet the supply and services requirements.

“I am a matchmaker,” said Joe Bennett, executive director of the Long Harbour Development Corp. “I want to take advantage of the experience of the suppliers in Sudbury and see if we can create a marriage between organizations in Newfoundland who might want to do a joint venture, or partnership, or sub-office, with someone who is already experienced in dealing with Vale on the supply side and hopefully get a leg up.”

Bennett and the mayor of Long Harbour, Gary Keating, held an information session in October at the Idylwylde Golf and Country Club in conjunction with the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce.

The pair outlined the municipal infrastructure that is available in the town and its new 35-acre business park. Assistance is available through the development corporation for companies wishing to establish a business in the community and the session also allowed for planning of future site visits with interested parties.

Long Harbour is about 100 kilometres east of St. John’s on the Avalon Peninsula.

“I know people in Sudbury have a lot of experience in dealing with Vale from a procurement perspective, so we are trying to take advantage of that expertise,” Bennett said.

“There is enough lead time to create some business opportunities for Northern Ontario businesses and then put them together with some folks in Newfoundland who have some skills and have those businesses operate in Long Harbour. We would not want to see any lost opportunity because of a failure to act and to take full advantage of all opportunities.”

Although Vale will be going to tender for the supplies and services it requires, Bennett said if a business is already a qualified Vale supplier, it might be in a better position to gain more business if it has a branch office in Newfoundland.

“We are going to our friends in the North and present them with an opportunity and hopefully there will be followup meetings,” he said.

The annual procurement for the plant will be about $100 million to $120 million.

“Any reasonable-sized company looking to expand on the supply side, the opportunity exists now,” Bennett said.

Dick DeStefano, executive director of the Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Services Association, said it is good to expand relationships and try to find opportunities in Long Harbour.

“I am impressed we were considered and it is always a good thing to expand our base,” he said.