July 20, 2016

Mr. Jamison Steeve

Executive Director

Institute of Competiveness and Prosperity

105 St. George Street

Toronto, ON M5S 3E6

Dear Mr. Steeve,

RE: Response to “Clusters in Ontario: Creating an Ecosystem for Prosperity”

The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce appreciates the work that has gone into the Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity’s report, as well as the significance and economic contributions of the clusters outlined within the report. However, we wanted to highlight the importance of the clusters present in Greater Sudbury and Northern Ontario.

As a business organization with over 1,000 members who employ in excess of 45,000 people in Greater Sudbury, we would like to echo the concerns raised by Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré and industry professionals about the report overlooking Sudbury’s globally significant mining cluster.

Greater Sudbury’s mining cluster goes far beyond having long-standing operating mines concentrated in a small geographic area. In addition to our ten operating mines, two mills, two smelters and a nickel refinery, there is an entire infrastructure built in our community around the success of our mining sector. Sudbury’s mining cluster is also represented by leading edge research in academic institutions and by industry, specific mining related educational programs, as well as a world recognized and dense network of mining supply and services firms. Not to mention our mining and supply services sector also employs over 14,000 people in Greater Sudbury and contributes $4 billion in annual activity.

Sudbury is also home to a number of nationally recognized mining research and innovation groups and initiatives, including the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI), the Northern Centre for Advanced Technology (NORCAT), and important mining programs at postsecondary institutions including those offered at Laurentian University’s Goodman School of Mines, Cambrian College and Collège Boréal. Further, Laurentian University’s recently established LMIT (Laurentian Mining Innovation and Technology) promotes all mining-related research conducted at the university through centres such as the Mineral Exploration Research Centre (MERC), the Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH), the Vale Living with Lakes Centre (VLWLC) and the Mining Innovation Rehabilitation and Applied Research Corporation (MIRARCO).

Greater Sudbury is also home to the Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Services Association (SAMSSA) which represents the interests of the largest concentration of expertise in mining supply/products and services worldwide. Above all, Greater Sudbury possesses the skills sets and expertise needed to solve a myriad of challenges associated with underground mining, environmental sustainability and safety.

Our mining cluster is not focused on Sudbury alone however. In addition to Sudbury’s mining presence, there are mines and strong mining supply services as well as mining educational centres across Northern Ontario in regions such as Timmins, North Bay and Thunder Bay. There are over 500 mining supply and services companies concentrated within the boundaries of Northern Ontario that not only service our region but the globe through export. The total value of output by companies in Sudbury, North Bay, Timmins and Thunder Bay is estimated at $ 5.6 billion. Mining operators around the world come to mine sites in Sudbury, Timmins and Thunder Bay as well as other Northern locations to observe and learn from our innovative mining practices. Northern Ontario’s mining cluster has a significant impact on both Ontario’s and Canada’s economic prosperity.

Some view natural resources as a “traditional” economic sector that cannot provide the kind of knowledge intensive and innovative growth that will sustain Ontario’s competitiveness in the future. Greater Sudbury’s mining cluster proves the opposite – our mining sector is technologically intensive and exemplifies innovation in a highly competitive and globalized environment.

Sudbury and Northern Ontario are too often forgotten or sidelined in government decision making and investment. Natural resource clusters, such as Greater Sudbury’s mining supply and services cluster, deserve greater recognition as economic drivers and innovators not only from research institutions but also from government representatives at all levels.

Yours truly,

Debbi M Nicholson


cc: Paul Lefebvre, MP, Sudbury

Marc Serré, MP, Nickel Belt

The Honourable Glenn Thibeault, MPP, Sudbury

France Gélinas, MPP, Nickel Belt

Dick DeStefano, Executive Director, SAMSSA

Brian Bigger, Mayor, City of Greater Sudbury