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Sudbury wants to become centre for mining technology excellence.

Sudbury Region officials want to harness the area's mining expertise in order to transform the region into a centre for mining technology excellence.

It is not a big step for the region, but it is a logical and potentially lucrative move.

"Sudbury is already known world wide as a mining centre," notes Frank Hess, the general manager of the Sudbury Regional Development Corporation (SRDC). "Now we want to put our mining knowledge to work in a way that is exportable."

The multi-level plan outlines the need to attract new manufacturing and research and development operations to the area, as well as to expand the current base of mining knowledge through both public- and private-sector investment.

Hess believes that the foundation for the plan is already in place.

Several Sudbury firms such as El-Equip Ltd. (mine communications systems) have entered off-shore markets.

POTENTIAL BOOST

Ironically, recent downsizings by both Inco Ltd. and Falconbridge Ltd. could indirectly benefit the initiative. Some of the 1,300 people who recently took early retirement from the two mining firms are expected to establish new businesses.

"Certainly there is going to be an impact from the loss of money (wages) going into the economy," admits Hess. "But when there is that much expertise returning to the workforce, there is a potential for many new businesses.

"Many of the people who have taken early retirement are in the prime of life, and they are going to look for other ways to apply their talents."

ENVIRONMENT

Increased concern for the environment could also benefit the region's efforts to establish Sudbury as a centre of mining technology excellence.

Local officials are formulating plans to host a national conference dealing with mining and the environment. It is hoped that the conference will help attract environment-related firms to the area.

Meanwhile, the SRDC is negotiating with a Scandinavian company which manufactures environmental products.

Hess anticipates that the region will be forced to undertake most of the initiative itself because both the federal and provincial governments are strapped for cash.

However, he notes that during the past decade much of the growth in the base of mining knowledge was funded by the two senior levels of government.

Hess says the relocation of the Ontario Geological Survey (OGS) to Sudbury later this year is one example of how the base of mining knowledge in the region is being expanded.

A branch of the Ministry of Labour will also be conducting mining-related tests at the new OGS facility located near Ramsey Lake.
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Title Annotation:Sudbury Report
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Feb 1, 1992
Words:418
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