Sudbury's mining sector has come a long way in the last three decades, and the next big phase is going to be the region as home for global innovation.
That was the message from Douglas Morrison, president of the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation, who was the opening speaker at the business luncheon kicking off Modern Mining and Technology Sudbury (MMTS) on April 20. The hall at Bryston's on the Park in Copper Cliff, just outside of Sudbury, was filled with industry executives, as well as members of mining service companies and event sponsors, to get a rundown on the schedule of the weeklong event and hear what Morrison had to say about his experiences and where he sees the industry going.
Starting from his early days working in the mines around Sudbury in the early 1980s, he said in a five-year period they went from using decades-old technology to modern trucks, drillers and improved safety.
“That transition wasn't just a change, it was a disruption,” he said. “It changed the world of mining.”
Back then, he said mining was very regionalized. Now, it has become global, with companies holding properties and doing more business in multiple countries than ever before.
While changes have been gradual over the years, the mining industry was poised for another great disruption. He warned it wouldn't be easy or smooth, but it would propel mining in the region forward.
It is up to the mining companies, schools, and service industries to push the region, and the nation, to the forefront of mining innovation.
He spoke about his experiences with getting the supercluster together, explaining that while the bid didn't get government approval, it did succeed in bringing companies and institutions together.
The growth has been exponential in the last two years.
The focus right now is on western North America and South America, but Sudbury's mining organizations should be focusing on other areas, like Australia, Southeast Asia and central Africa, he said.
“Our industry has been looking inward; it's time to look outward,” he said. “There are many places we can market our products and services, which will make the region the hub of mining for the world for the forseeable future.”
Events for MMTS run until April 28.