What’s next Tom Palangio? President of SAMSSA

What’s next Tom Palangio?

Special Series to SAMSSA

Hugh Kruzel

Tom Palangio has taken some leaps. Definitely some were strategic – this next for certain is – and others serendipitous. All of it suggests a plan and path.

When asked what he was like as a kid, and asked to recall what his plans were as a teen, Palangio offered the following: “I was always drawn to art, mechanical, electrical and scientific topics at a time when space was in the news. I’m a real boomer. I liked to build things and take them apart and was resourceful, but never thought I’d earn a living playing with the stuff that interested me. Leonardo da Vinci would be my history hero. My teachers said I was “disruptive” and it took me many years to realize that’s a good thing”.

“Wipware gets its Mojo working at iCamp”

September 2013 Tom Palangio and son Thomas demonstrate a 3D printed “prototype” of the then new Wipware “Solo” unit. Wipware donated the 3D printer and the room it occupies to Canadore College’s iCamp where local businesses develop products using the latest technology. The Mojo printer is great for rapid prototyping to see how things fit, and save time and money on custom machining. Thomas will be the new “Mr. Wipware” when his father steps down from day-to-day operations.

Studying architecture in Ottawa, with design and construction in mind, instead the flipside of building caught his imagination. “I tried Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC), Ontario Hydro and then got into dismantling with Dominion Bridge.” Demolitions? “Yes, I was enthralled with possibilities in the explosives industry. Seeing a building or structure come down made me think about how we fabricate things, but also how we can extract and unlock the riches of the treasure-chest of Northern Ontario and elsewhere.”

This passion provided Tom with employment, encouragement, and incentives. He remained current and contemporary, keeping up with change in applications and product. More than 2 and half decades with DuPont and Explosives Technologies International (ETI) delivered him into the midst of gargantuan projects. “My first stop was into Panama for the widening of the Canal. The broad International market plus the patents I held meant I stayed and played in a work environment of mutual respect and agreement.”

Born in Northeastern Ontario it seems mining, minerals, and big industry naturally is part of who he is. “I made my way into the nuclear business. I did a lot of interesting travel… South Africa, as an example, is a land of such contrasts. I was on the Crocodile River (Pelindaba) – the cradle of humankind – and then you look past the shoreline and see the technology (nuclear cooling towers) of the 20th century. I still have a lot of friends in that (nuclear) industry. Great work!”

Tom Palangio believes this is “…one of the better ways to get to work”!

In 1995 Palangio started Topex Inc. – his own explosives consulting firm – and then formed another limited company called Wipware Inc. to commercially market and sell image analysis technology that improves blast fragmentation results. “The explosives business was ‘booming’ and I worked in Peru, Chile, South Africa, Australia and Hong Kong in the next few years providing training, troubleshooting, blast designs, vibration control, high speed camera work and other specialized services.”

With now 11 employees – many virtual – and 16 distributors, Wipware automates process optimization, increasing efficiency and reduces electrical, mechanical, chemical and environmental costs. The equipment is assembled right here: “we’ve been innovative and successful in creating new products to support the mining, aggregate and forestry industry and have received recognition and awards for business development, export trade and outstanding technical achievement… It was quickly adopted by allied industries such as mineral processing and aggregate production as an important tool. Since that time, the company has built a global reputation for excellence in software innovation and design, earning it the trust and loyalty of hundreds of users worldwide.”

“If you can blast to the right size it will save all kinds of expense downstream” – Tom Palangio

Chair, Northern Gateway Branch of the CIM; Director, North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce; Board Chairman, Canadore College; President SAMSSA; Vice Chair, Nipissing University; after 6 years of exceptional leadership Tom Palangio just recently stepped down as Board Chair, NORCAT. “It’s satisfying to know that you’ve helped others realize their dreams and get started in business and it’s good to know that you’ve helped build organizations that will continue to provide support… nice to know you’ve created jobs and made work easier and safer for many. I believe in mentoring newcomers to the world of business because this creates new jobs and I try to participate in organizations that support this.”

What is the next step for Tom Palangio?

“It’s time to ‘pass the torch’ to a younger generation and spend some time enjoying grandchildren, hobbies, travel and friends. I’ll continue to advocate for small business and participate on boards or councils where my experience and network contacts might be useful.”

SAMSSA wishes Tom Palangio success in this next phase of his life!


Canadian Mining Sector’s Clean Resources Proposal Shortlisted in Innovation Supercluster Initiative 

For immediate release 

Canadian Mining Sector’s Clean Resources Proposal Shortlisted in Innovation Supercluster Initiative 

October 11, 2017 – Today the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced that the mining sector’s clean resources proposal made the shortlist for the superclusters initiative in recognition of the project’s potential to generate significant environmental benefits, energize regional economies and create jobs. 

CLEER (Clean, Low-energy, Effective, Engaged and Remediated), a clean resources supercluster, is jointly led by the Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC) and the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI). Together with their industry members, comprising some of Canada’s largest mining companies, CMIC and CEMI will advance the project through the next phase of the application process. 

The objectives of the CLEER supercluster are shared priorities with government and the communities where the mining sector operates. This initiative will focus on water use, energy intensity and environmental footprint, with aggressive targets of a 50% reduction in each area by 2027. 

Carl Weatherell, Executive Director and CEO, Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC), states that “True innovation is about transformation and working collaboratively across an entire ecosystem inside and outside of mining. Technology roadmaps already in place will help focus efforts and create new technology platforms that will position Canada as the leader in clean resources and clean technology.” 

Bora Ugurgel, Chief Operating Officer, Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation, states that “The CLEER Supercluster has the potential to become Canada’s largest investment in advancing the CLEAN mineral and metal resource extraction industry. The global transition into a low carbon economy will require a more technologically advanced mining industry and CLEER offers the opportunity to engage mine operators, supply and service companies and other stakeholders in the development, demonstration, and adoption of leading clean innovations. CLEER will introduce tangible solutions that enable operating mines to address challenges associated with energy, water, and their environmental footprint.” 

Pierre Gratton, President and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada, states that “We are thrilled that the CLEER project is advancing to the next stage and appreciate the government’s recognition of its significant potential. We believe that this project can help Canada become the leading supplier of the sustainably-sourced minerals and metals the world needs in a low carbon future, as well as the technologies the world needs to best extract them.” 

About CEMI 

CEMI – is a not-for-profit organization that helps solve mining industry challenges by delivering commercially viable innovations to improve heat & rock stress issues, mine productivity and safety, ore discovery and environmental performance. www.cemi.ca 

About CMIC 

CMIC is a national non-profit organization that is driving to fundamentally transform the mining industry to a zero-waste industry. http://cmic-ccim.org/ 


Charles Nyabeze
Director Government Affairs
Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation
1.705.673.6568 x 62 (w)
1.705.562.6264 (m)
Carl Weatherell
Executive Director and CEO
Canada Mining Innovation Council
The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announces Ontario’s successful Supercluster applicants in Toronto, October 11, 2017.

U.S. firm acquires Sudbury-based DiBrina Group SAMSSA Member




Arthur J. Gallagher & Co announced the acquisition in news release Oct. 5



Late last week, a U.S. firm announced the purchase of Sudbury-based DiBrina Group. (Supplied)



In a news release, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. said it had acquired the firm for an undisclosed amount, including the Sudbury, Toronto and New Liskeard offices.

Founded by Sudbury native Michael DiBrina in 1989 and incorporated in 1997, DiBrina Group provides human resources, employee benefits, wealth management and life insurance consulting and brokerage services to clients throughout Ontario. Michael DiBrina, Tim Lychy, Diego Favero, Aurel Malo, Ehren Baldauf, Jeff St. Cyr and their associates will continue to operate from their current locations under the direction of Leslie Lemenager, head of Gallagher’s international employee benefit consulting and brokerage operations.

“The DiBrina Group brings a unique mix of benefits and HR consulting capabilities to our existing Canadian operations by combining group benefits, group retirement, HR consulting and individual wealth management into one practice,” J. Patrick Gallagher Jr., chairman, president and CEO, is quoted as saying in the release.

“I am very pleased to welcome Michael, Tim, Diego, Aurel, Ehren and their associates to our growing Gallagher family of professionals.”

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., an international insurance brokerage and risk management services firm, is headquartered in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, has operations in 34 countries and offers client service capabilities in more than 150 countries around the world through a network of correspondent brokers and consultants.



New tax Unfair to Business Perrin Beatty

Financial Post September 1 2017

Perrin Beatty, a former federal minister, is the president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.


Canada’s minister of finance wants to tax business savings. He wants to clamp down on people setting up companies in order not to pay tax. He says that his proposed tax changes, the most radical in 50 years, are all about “fairness.” As a former minister of national revenue, I fully agree that fairness is fundamental. The problem is that the changes he’s proposing simply aren’t fair.

Imagine two individuals, both earning $80,000 per year. One has a comfortable salary with four-weeks’ vacation. He has a generous pension and he knows he’ll get a raise next year. The other had to invest $250,000 of her own money to start a business. She needed to pledge her personal assets, her house and her car as collateral for an operating loan. She has five employees whose livelihoods depend on her, and if nobody wants her services next month, she doesn’t earn a cent.

Who would begrudge a business owner the ability to invest her profits and earn a decent return after paying corporate income taxes, especially when her savings may be needed to sustain her business through a dry spell? After all, she’ll be taxed at the same personal rate as everyone else when she withdraws the money from her business.

Who would begrudge a business owner the ability to invest her profits and earn a decent return?


Ottawa says it’s unfair to defer income like that, and it is proposing a 70-per-cent effective tax rate on profits not reinvested in the business. The Finance department has also coined a new term, income “sprinkling.” It evokes an image of a Marie Antoinette type, sprinkling vast sums of money upon the heads of her over-privileged family members. The reality could not be further from the truth.

There is hardly a farm or restaurant in the country that doesn’t have family members working there. These farms and businesses can now expect the Canada Revenue Agency to assess their family members’ labour contributions to determine the “reasonableness” of salary and dividend income. In a small business, it’s often the spouse who answers the phone, helps write marketing material, meets customers, pays bills, solves problems, cleans up and does any of the 50 other things that are needed. What is the appropriate salary or dividend such an indispensable person deserves?


The Finance department expects to pull in an extra $250 million by imposing higher tax rates on “unreasonable” payments in family businesses. That means that CRA will have to tax a billion dollars of income and audit hundreds of thousands of businesses. Imagine the administrative nightmare for government and business owners alike, diverting valuable resources away from things that really matter — like economic growth.


No other country in the world has tried to impose such punitive tax measures on small business. Most want to encourage business formation, reinvestment and entrepreneurship. The tax changes the minister is proposing will hurt hard-working Canadians who take significant risks investing money to create legitimate businesses and the jobs, incomes — and taxes — they support.

No one wants to see individuals scam the tax system, but that is no reason to scapegoat legitimate business owners.

The government needs to rethink its tax proposals. If it does, it will have the support of business in designing measures to clamp down on tax evasion without sideswiping entrepreneurs and discouraging job growth.

That is why we urge the minister to shelve his hasty proposals. Let’s have a frank and open discussion about how Canadians are taxed and how to support business growth. And the best way for the government to start a dialogue on tax fairness is to demonstrate that its own actions are fair.

Perrin Beatty, a former federal minister, is the president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.


Laurentian University’s Goodman School of Mines is a Jewel


Laurentian University’s Goodman School of Mines is a Jewel

By Jenny Lamothe on behalf of SAMSSA.CA

Special Legacy Series


Having an employee, CEO or exploration specialist who has the knowledge and expertise to move through the entirety of the mining cycle is an attractive prospect. One that, thanks to Laurentian University’s Goodman School of Mines (GSM), is becoming a reality.

Dr. Bruce Jago, P.Geo, and Founding Executive Director of the school, describes GSM as an administrative unit at Laurentian: “We operate in parallel and in collaboration with the six disciplines that comprise the mining cycle,” he says. These six disciplines: Earth Sciences, Engineering, Indigenous Relations and Studies, Occupational Health and Safety, Environment and Ecology, and Management, make up the key facets of the industry, and in essence, “they’ll get you from one end of the mining cycle – which is discovery – all the way through to closure.”

Their support of these disciplines includes, amongst other funding, financial support for the purchase of new computers and design software for Engineering; access to a new mining equipment simulator at NORCAT for researchers at the Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH); “For Earth Science, GSM bought a number of new microscopes for their microscopy lab. These can be used not only for teaching but research purposes too;” and “for both (Earth Science and Engineering) we’ve provided funding to help out with the cost of field trips, field schools and competitions.”

One of these competitions, with the early signs of an industry following, is the Goodman Gold Challenge. Now attracting teams from Toronto, Montreal – even Kentucky – students have a chance to meet with industry leaders, interview CEOs, and potentially head home with a cash prize and a quarter ounce gold coin.

Additionally, GSM has hosted 18 lectures over the last four years, drawing approximately 1800 students and community members. “The last lecture featured two women from the mining industry who have done incredibly well and we had a fireside chat format for that lecture,” says Jago. “The event was moderated by Jonathan Goodman of the Goodman family; he’s also the Executive in Residence in Management and it was fabulous.”

Offering these learning opportunities is what GSM is focused on, whether it is for an entry level position, or for those looking to move higher. In an industry such as this, each person is required to be a lifelong learner, and develop the necessary skills to move to a position that suits them and their potential. But how to secure those skills can be more difficult as one climbs the ladder, and in some situations, the continuing education pursued is not one that ends up helping.

Through consultations with experienced professionals, mining and HR companies, as well as other experts, GSM is in the early stages of developing a Career Path Mapping Program. Starting with four career path maps, and based on current program offerings at Laurentian, GSM will eventually offer training to help mining companies meet their needs for highly qualified personnel and support for professionals in having the right skills, competencies and behaviours necessary to excel throughout their career, making the best decisions for their career, whether they are at the entry level hoping to secure a position or at mid-level hoping to move higher.  There will be a focus on various types of skills, from commercial, to technical, to social.  

In the educational crown that is Laurentian University, there are many jewels. The Goodman School of Mines is but one of them, but it has a shine that will only grow with time.  


Thibeault: Money for Hwy. 69 is still there



Thibeault: Money for Hwy. 69 is still there

But negotiations with First Nations, environmental assessments taking more time than expected

Highway 69 2016

In in the 2014 election campaign, it seemed the Liberals and NDP were outdoing themselves in promising to complete the four-laning of Highway 69.

In in the 2014 election campaign, it seemed the Liberals and NDP were outdoing themselves in promising to complete the four-laning of Highway 69.

When the Liberals promised to complete it by 2017, the NDP said they could do it by 2016. Last week, the Liberals admitted that 2017 was too optimistic, and now say 2021 is the soft target date.

Energy Minister and Sudbury MPP Glenn Thibeault said Thursday he heard from a lot of people concerned about what was going on with the project.

“There are some people in the community concerned about what was going on,” Thibeault said. “And rightfully so.”

So he said he checked with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines and the Ministry of Transportation to fund out what was going on.

Thibeault says the money is still there for the four-laning project, and will stay there regardless of who wins next year’s provincial election.


“It still is a fully funded program,” he said. “We’ve made sure that no matter what government is in place, the money for this is there and this still a commitment.

“So it still is something that we’re fully committed to completing. But there are ongoing negotiations with our First Nations that will need to continue. And with that negotiation with the First Nations come federal environmental assessments.”

Since the Liberals came to power in 2003, he said they have spent about $850 million to four-lane 132 kilometres. There’s between 68-70 kilometres left between Sudbury and Parry Sound. But environmental assessments and agreements with First Nations must come first.

“All of those components will need to be completed to ensure we can continue to move forward on those specific segments,” Thibeault said. “But there still are other segments of the highway that can continue to move forward and those will be, at some point, announced in the future, with the goal of getting this done as quickly as possible. 

“The goal has always been to try and see if we can get this done by 2021. But making sure we get it done right will be important.”

Because of our geography, the highway expansion is more difficult and costly than other parts of the province. Thibeault said a 15-kilometre section announced last year cost $173 million and included 10 new bridges and two interchanges.

“This isn’t just like plowing and paving, as they can do in other parts of our province, there’s a lot that needs to go into that,” he said. “But it is a fully funded commitment of this government. There is nothing changed on that. I’m going to continue to fight for this and to push for this as hard as I can to see it get done.”

The final 70 kilometres includes five segments, and Thibeault said he’s working to determining which ones can be started and which are still in negotiations.

“We in Northern Ontario understand the importance of getting this done, not only for safety but for the economic benefits,” he said. “So I want to see which (segments) we can continue to move on.”

SAMSSA Member Wabi supplies shaft components for Bell Creek mine



August 18, 2017
by Walter Franczyk

No shortage of work for New Liskeard manufacturer

Two 32-tonne capacity double bogie flat deck mine cars fabricated by Wabi Iron & Steel were used to assist in moving equipment during a tunneling project in Venezuela.

Wabi Iron & Steel Corp. is helping to double gold production at the Tahoe Resources Bell Creek mine northeast of Timmins.

The New Liskeard company is supplying the hoisting infrastructure for an $80-million project to deepen the Bell Creek shaft from 300 metres to about 1,080 metres. Slated for completion in 2018, the project will access a deeper mineral resource that’s expected to double annual gold production from the Bell Creek Mine to 80,000 ounces and provide the opportunity to extend the mine life.

A more-than-century-old mining manufacturer and foundry, Wabi is fabricating the shaft steel, guides, skips, cage, loading system and sheave wheels for the project. “It’s a comprehensive package,” said Wabi president Stan Gorzalczynski, who credits Wabi’s expertise for its selection as Tahoe’s project supplier. “They were looking to partner with a supplier that had experience and engineering capability and we were the competitive choice.”

A shaft communication system with a slack rope monitoring system is part of the equipment package for Bell Creek. The enhanced safety device has become mandatory on new mine cages in Ontario, said Steve Hill, Wabi’s vice-president of business development. “It’s one of the first slack rope monitoring systems going into Ontario under the new requirements,” he said. The system will warn the hoist room of any slack rope condition. “If the cage is lowered and something happens to cause it to jam up in the shaft and the rope goes a little bit slack as a result, it would provide the warning or even trip the hoist so you don’t have the rope paying out onto the top of the cage,” Hill said.

If a slack rope condition was caused by a jammed conveyance, the conveyance could dislodge and all that slack rope would allow a free fall, ending with a sudden stop that could break the hoist rope, Gorzalczynski explained. “It’s not a common issue in the mine shaft, but it’s one of those situations that would be catastrophic if it did occur,” he said. “You need to have the safety features there just in case.” The shaft construction represents about 18 months of work for Wabi, he estimates.

While the Bell Creek project mirrors much of the work Wabi has been doing since 1907, the company is also involved in some cutting edge technology projects.

At Agnico Eagle’s Goldex Mine in Val-d’Or, Wabi designed equipment for testing synthetic hoist ropes for the Canadian Mining Industry Research Organization (CAMIRO). As mines dig deeper, lighter and more flexible synthetic hoist ropes may eventually replace heavy steel wire ropes for mine hoisting.

CAMIRO wanted to assess the ability of the synthetic hoist ropes to withstand cyclic loading, Gorzalczynski said. “They didn’t have muck to hoist, so they needed some kind of method of mimicking the loading and unloading of skips,” he said. Wabi converted existing skips in the shaft to a cargo deck with a ballast car that could be moved on and off. “That gave the cyclic loading to the rope.”

Deep below Sudbury, in Vale’s Creighton mine, Wabi helped SNOLAB, the underground physics and neutrino laboratory, to redesign a rail-based instrument carrier. “The neutrino lab has to live with moving its equipment along the same tracks as production haulage for the mine,” said Gorzalczynski. “They’re transporting very expensive pieces of equipment.”

SNOLAB enlisted Wabi for its expertise, knowledge and engineering capabilities to design bogies that are ultra light-weight and strong. Wabi supplied a relatively conventional bogie system for the instrument carrier. “But it’s much tighter than the old flat cars that they had,” Gorzalczynski said. “I think we can pretty well guarantee that this new equipment will track quite nicely.”

The rail carrier project was familiar terrain for Wabi. “One things we’ve been doing for over 100 years is building mine cars, so it was a good fit,” said Hill.

These three recent projects attest to Wabi’s diversity and expertise in mine manufacturing and metallurgy.

Wabi employs about 60 people, including mechanical and metallurgical engineers, welders, machinists, pattern makers and tool and die makers. The company is also finishing off an order of skips and cages for a mine in Peru.

SAMSSA Member Boart Longyear’s TruScan revolutionizes exploration


August 21, 2017
by Norm Tollinsky

Drill core analysis within hours instead of weeks

Dr. Kirk Ross, Boart Longyear XRF engineer with TruScan trailer at NORCAT Underground Centre, 55 kilometres north of Sudbury.

TruScan, an XRF technology developed by Boart Longyear and undergoing testing at the NORCAT Underground Centre north of Sudbury, is about to revolutionize mineral exploration.

Housed in a trailer that can be mobilized to a drill site, TruScan provides geologists with drill core analysis in hours.

“It also analyzes the drill core for every element between sodium and uranium on the periodic table simultaneously,” said Dr. Kirk Ross, Boart Longyear XRF engineer. “Normally, you’d have to ask for specific packages from the lab. Each lab package includes a certain number of elements, so you’d have to ask for several packages to get all the elements of interest. This could end up costing well over $100 per metre of core.

“Finally, TruScan can sample on any scale you desire – anything from a millimetre to a one-metre scale. A lab homogenizes a metre of core, takes a small representative sample of it, analyzes it and gives you the average composition over a metre. TruScan gives you the composition on any scale you want.”

Ross has put thousands of metres of drill core through the TruScan unit since it arrived in Sudbury in March, and the results, he said, are within one per cent of the results obtained from lab assays.

TruScan is designed to be operated by a driller. “There is no need for additional personnel,” said Ross. “You don’t need an XRF tech onsite. A box of core is loaded into the unit. A picture is taken, you tag the image and tell it what areas of the core are acceptable for analyzing. The box then moves into the second station where it undergoes XRF analysis.

When it’s done, the box is washed, another picture is taken and it’s ejected out the far side.”

Hand-held XRF technology has been around for several years, but the devices are poorly calibrated, said Ross.

“For every drill site we go to, we send a couple dozen rocks from the site away for chemical analysis. We get the chemistry back and we use that analysis to calibrate the XRF. The hand-held XRFs are not calibrated nearly as precisely. In fact, a lot of them use what’s called fundamental parameters, which is inaccurate to say the least.”

Near real-time results will allow mining and exploration companies to make quicker decisions.

“It gives the geologists the power to make immediate decisions to extend the hole, turn the hole to the right, or to the left,” said Lori Martin, Boart Longyear business development manager, geological data services. “It gives them a lot more in the moment control.”

Using TruScan, geologists can also look at trace, or pathfinder elements for clues to mineralization.

If one sample of quartz-rich core has economic gold values and another sample is barren, geologists can look at the pathfinder elements to determine if they’re “getting on to a hot zone, or not,” said Ross.

The trailer requires 110 or 220-volt power and an Internet connection to send data to Boart Longyear for QA/QC analysis.

The unit in Sudbury is on wheels, but is designed to accommodate skids and be dragged through the bush, or mobilized by helicopter to a remote drill site. The sensitive X-ray equipment would be removed and taken to the drill site separately.

Boart Longyear is in the final stages of testing TruScan and is currently looking for clients willing to participate in beta testing.

TruScan won’t eliminate assaying completely – at least in the near to medium term.

“It’s a progression and we’ll eventually get there,” said Martin. “Assaying will continue to be done in parallel, but TruScan will tell you exactly where you need to be doing assaying, instead of assaying the whole thing.”

The Boart Longyear R&D compound outside the NORCAT Underground Centre also includes an SC9 prototype drill rig used for testing the company’s latest tools.

The SC9 was designed for maximum safety and automation. Computer controlled, it features a rod handling system that minimizes manual interference.

“Typically, the driller and helper are right in there with their hands working on the rods, breaking them apart,” said site manager Sylvain Perreault. “This eliminates all that.”

Among the tools being tested at the site is TruCore, Boart Longyear’s core orientation tool. Already on the market but undergoing further testing, TruCore “tells the geologist the direction of the structure – for example, the joint sets, veins, alteration directions and the contacts between the different lithologies,” said Martin. “It’s important for building a 3D model.”

Boart Longyear announced its selection of Sudbury and the NORCAT Underground Centre as its North American R&D site in September 2016 at MINExpo in Las Vegas.



Sudbury to get first crack at Ring of Fire nickel


Sudbury to get first crack at Ring of Fire nickel

Bruce Jago, director of Goodman School of Mines, weighs in on Noront’s decision to start processing in Sudbury

CBC News Posted: Aug 22, 2017 2:47 PM ETLast Updated: Aug 22, 2017 2:51 PM ET



Four northern Ontario cities —  Sudbury, Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay —  are in the running to be home to a ferrochrome smelter which will process chromite from the Ring of Fire mineral deposit.

But Noront Resources Ltd. CEO Alan Coutts says the first minerals out of the ground will be nickel concentrate, to be processed in Sudbury.

Now that the provincial government has committed to funding the road infrastructure to the Ring of Fire, Coutts told CBC’s Morning North that his company plans to develop a mine at its Eagle’s Nest project first. The site — 530 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay —  is rich in high-grade nickel, copper, platinum and palladium.

“The reason we selected that to be the first mine is because there is already existing smelting capacities for those minerals in Sudbury,” Coutts said.

alan coutts and vic fedeli

Noront Resources CEO Alan Coutts, shown here with MPP Vic Fedeli, says the first batch of minerals from Eagle’s Nest will be processed in Sudbury. (Supplied)

Plenty of benefits to go around

But bringing the first batch of ore to Sudbury doesn’t necessarily mean it will be given preferential treatment when the time comes to decide the location of the ferrochrome smelter, said Bruce Jago, director of the Goodman School of Mines at Laurentian University.

“Relationships do get built and positive relationships, they bode well for the future,” Jago said. “But there’s a railroad track to all four candidates for chromite smelters.”

Jago said Sudburians shouldn’t be disappointed if Noront decides to put the smelter in another location. The Ring of Fire project stands to benefit the entire northern part of the province.

“There’s lots of benefit,” Jago said. “[Noront Resources] has to build a mine, a processing facility, and roads. All of this is good for Ontario.”

“There are goods and services utilized to build it,” he added. “And we know Sudbury is the capital in Ontario of mining supply and services.”

Bruce Jago

Bruce Jago, executive director of Goodman School of Mines in Sudbury, Ont., says news of the province’s commitment to the Ring of Fire demonstrates that discussions with Indigenous communities went well. (Goodman School of Mines)

Indigenous support key to Ring of Fire

One of the encouraging elements to the province’s decision to start the project are the communities involved with the deposit. Jago said there’s obviously been a “bit of conversation” with Indigenous communities who stand to benefit from the project.

“That demonstrates that Indigenous negotiations have gone well, and it’s nice that it has happened,” Jago said.

Noront is expected to decide the location of its ferrochrome smelter by the end of this year.

Eagle's Nest

The Eagle’s Nest mineral deposit is located approximately 530 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay. (http://www.ceaa.gc.ca)


With files from Martha Dillman