Attendees at mining conference 'optimistic' for the next year
“The general feeling at this year’s PDAC is that the worst is over and a sense of cautious optimism,” Stan Sudol, a Toronto-based communications consultant and mining policy analyst, told Northern Life in an email.
But despite the optimism, delays in the Ring of Fire still cast a large shadow over the conference, the largest of its kind in Canada.
“Most of the industry feels that the Ontario government is treading water until the next election and progress is stalled due to no decisions on transportation and power infrastructure, as well as First Nations revenue sharing,” Sudol said.
Federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair attended the PDAC conference, and lent his support to the Ring of Fire project.
“The Ring of Fire project is an important development for families in Northern Ontario today and for generations to come,” Mulcair said. “Unfortunately, Conservative policies have undermined the government’s ability to oversee that all social and environmental regulations are being fully understood and addressed.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper also attended the conference, where he participated in a panel discussion about the importance of the mining industry in Canada. But according to attendees, Harper did not address the Ring of Fire.
Several supply and sector companies said they were excited about the year ahead and the optimism on display.
Greg Baiden, CEO of Sudbury-based mining robotics company Penguin Automated Systems Inc., said he looks forward to larger mining companies purchasing more capital equipment.
“In the supply and service business, when times are not so good there's a lot of maintenance, but when times are good, people buy capital equipment,” Baiden said.
Justin Dignard, operations manager at Canadian Shields Consultants Agency Inc., a company that provides wastewater and water treatment systems for industrial and residential clients, said his company participated in the Northern Ontario Mining Supply Showcase located at the Steam Whistle Brewery in downtown Toronto.
“Everybody seemed really excited,” Dignard said. He added there appeared to be a strong spirit of collaboration among the Northern Ontario companies that participated in the showcase.
Sudbury Mayor Marianne Matichuk, who also attended the conference, said she was approached by people and organizations from around the world, interested in doing business in Sudbury or with local companies.
“People know about Sudbury, and that makes me very proud,” Matichuk said.