With over a century of mining supply expertise in Sudbury, companies and nations are turning to this region to help them develop their mining sectors, particularly Mexico, South America and the American Southwest.
To make it easier to connect, Ontario’s North Economic Development Corporation (ONEDC) played host to the Northern Ontario Exports Forum 2017 on June 22.
The forum at the Holiday Inn allowed mining service supply companies to meet and get a better idea on export marketing, strategic planning, and the sales landscape in their own backyard and beyond.
“It's an opportunity for the supply and service for mining to look at export opportunities,” said forum chair Tom Palangio, president of WipWare, and the Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Services Association.
“So we bought in people from around the world that run organizations to explain what the procurement process is and explain some of the culture in their particular locations. It's a dialogue and a good exchange of ideas, as well as to tell us about the new face of mining.”
For many of the international players, Canada's reputation for quality work precedes them, Palangio said.
The one-day event highlighted where interest and opportunities could be found.
He said many economic development departments and multinational companies trust Canadian service companies due to the high standards they work on.
It's still about being the lowest-cost producer, he said, but in such a way that does the least amount of harm to the environment while having the highest returns for all stakeholders.
“There was a time when companies thought they could go to another jurisdiction and get away with things, but today everyone is a good corporate citizen,” he said. “They are seen as the leaders in the world.”
While there is growing interest in places like Mongolia and India, one pattern that emerged was the demand for mining services from the southern end of the continent and into South America, with Nevada and Mexico among the top places seeking Sudbury-based services to help develop mining projects.
There have been a lot of Canadian suppliers already working in those locations, which Palangio attributed to Canadian companies making inroads on their own. The presence of Canadian companies in the U.S. South has grabbed the attention of many, including Nevada, where several mining service and suppliers have been operating for years.
Sheldon Mudd, mining industry specialist for the Nevada Governor's Office of Economic Development pitched the benefits of setting up in his state in a breakout session and keynote address. He could not say for sure why so many were in Nevada already but said the state has taken notice and is focusing on attracting more.
“I don't really don't know why they have been coming, but one thing we know is you know mining very well and have some very prolific mining jurisdictions in your country, and we have a lot of opportunity,” he said.
“One thing we do see is in the Canadian market, you know how to take advantage of opportunity. You have seen that opportunity in our state and capitalized on it.”
He did credit Nevada's regulatory structure and the ease of which mining supply companies can set up for shop, along with the “business-friendly” atmosphere of the state in general.
As well, he acknowledged that Canadian companies had a reputation for being good corporate citizens which make them attractive to do business with.