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Retired Gammon to consult on Sudbury mining.

Having reached the magic age for retirement, Dr. John Gammon is not slowing down in his pursuit to make Greater Sudbury the mining mecca of the world.

"What we want to do is get Sudbury recognized as a true centre of excellence in mining and have some of the facilities here reflecting that, so my company has agreed to work with (the ministry) on that."

The former Ontario deputy minister of Northern Development and Mines will use his experience (that of 21 years in the private sector and 17 with government), connections and expertise to bring Laurentian University into the international spotlight to be recognized as a Centre of Excellence and Innovation in mining. His company, John Gammon Associates Inc., intends to provide a channel to make this possible.

Sudbury can make a good case for being called the mining capital of the world, Gammon says. In the last 110 years, companies have extracted $100 billion worth of nickel and $150 billion worth of platinum, palladium, copper and cobalt from the ground. That money has stayed in the community to a large extent, when one calculates mining companies alone have paid in the neighborhood of $35 billion in salaries over the years and $38 billion has been spent on supplies and services in the community.

These 350 service and supply companies have listened to the challenges facing Inco Ltd. and Falconbridge Ltd. as they strive to find new ways to deep mine and provide a greater profit for their stakeholders. Educational facilities have also heeded the call of mining companies, creating programs and degrees specific to industry needs.

"We have a world class exploration group stationed here ... students are coming from all over."

From deep mining and rock mechanics to mine claiming and environmental issues, the university's board of directors has recognized mining as part of the long-term plan.

"There is no other university in Ontario or Canada that has committed itself to such a large extent to develop such a large international reputation for excellence in mining," he says.

Both the federal and provincial governments have been supportive of the decree. The province has developed an industry cluster council with the help of related mining professionals who have a vested interest in advancing the sector. Further refinement to the business plan is expected to attract funds from Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp. and FedNor to make Sudbury the country's Centre of Excellence and Innovation in mining.

"This is coming together, I would guess, over the next four to five months. We will see something fairly concrete."

Through the process Gammon would like to be seen as the spokesperson boosting Laurentian University and Greater Sudbury's profile to new heights.

Training is at the core of the excellence centre.

The industry is desperate for good employees, and the shortage is only going to get worse, he says. When one looks at the baby boomers' retirement profile, companies are going to need "way more employees at all levels than are visible in the pipeline at the moment."

Therefore, part of the strategy is to get colleges and universities in the North and throughout Ontario ready to meet this demand.

The other thrust is commercialization. Selling the inventions and ideas that come out of making the process in Sudbury's mines more efficient could represent a significant source of revenue. That branch could grow into an industry, he says.

Gammon is also working with the ministry helping them process mining information. He also took on a contract with the World Bank to focus on jurisdictions around Africa and the former Soviet Union's Eastern Block, where mining is becoming important. Government traditions in regard to land tenure, geological surveys as seen in Ontario are being used as a template for other international government departments.


Northern Ontario Business
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Title Annotation:GREATER SUDBURY
Author:Louiseize, Kelly
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Oct 1, 2005
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