A Growing City in an Invisible Economy
Published in Sudbury Star Special Edition
April 28th 2017
There are significant economic and social happenings every day in Greater Sudbury that fall below the radar that indicate a major shift in the culture and economic direction the City. We all have a tendency to read headlines on mobiles, print and TV for extreme and sometimes alarming events and think that is the world we live in while ignoring more positive news.
In the past months there have been some significant discussions and events launching Sudbury in a new direction. Although many are mining related, others are becoming predominant in helping the City be a “healthy place” in the broadest sense.
I recently attended two Strategic Planning sessions that will shape the future in Sudbury and was impressed with the attendance and ideas emanating from Science North and Laurentian University. The future shaping of these institutions adds to the complex nature of creating a viable village that has multi-dimensional portals of activities attracting top talent and visitors worldwide. These efforts cannot be dismissed as fuzzy statements of intent since they shape the future and investments made in infrastructure and key personnel.
Planning for the future is important but building on existing assets such as our famous Sudbury Mining Cluster is a key factor for growth. Two studies in the past few years have brought the assets to the forefront. A study by PriceWaterhouse/Coopers released in 2012 that was captioned with headline “Mining supplies and services create more jobs than direct mining in Ontario”. The Study indicated that the sector created 40,960 direct and 27,471 indirect jobs in 2011 paying $4.6 billion in salaries of which taxes claimed $1.5 billion. The Ontario Mining Association pointed to more 27,500 direct mining jobs and 50,000 indirect jobs. SAMSSA’s Doyletech Study, commissioned in 2010, revealed the powerful impact the mining supply and service industry had in Northern Ontario and is now available for review. Northern Ontario is fast becoming a global hotbed of technology for underground mining.
There are over 500 companies in Northern Ontario with over 23,000 employees who provided products and services worth $5.3 billion in sales in 2010. Sudbury is the largest centre of activity with over 13,800 employees with $3.9 billion in sales.
Although the indicators have dropped by at least 10% since then, the importance of the Technology Cluster has shifted attention to high paid jobs and a dynamic new culture. It is estimated that there are a billion dollars a year in salaries being paid annually in the mining technology sector in Sudbury and, if mining salaries are added directly, it is estimated that it would be $1.5-1.7 billion on an annual basis. This indicates a sound economic base for families and a growing community.
SAMSSA and the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation have opened up a new horizon by finalizing a Letter of Intent with the State of Guerrero in Mexico as an emerging hotbed of mining. During Mexico Mining Day at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Convention 2017, an historic agreement was reached and signed between the emerging mining State of Guerrero and the highly sophisticated Sudbury Mining Technology Cluster. Over 400 people were in attendance and the majority of SAMSSA‘s Board was present. Tom Palangio, President of SAMSSA, signed the Letter of Intent on behalf of its members. Brian Vaillancourt, Vice Chair of the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation, signed on behalf of the GSDC. The Ministry of Northern Development & Mines also supported the arrangement and agreed to participate and lead events.
There are many positive elements and activities that are shaping the community and we should dismiss doomsday news from false prophets about our future.