Northern Ont. mining industry to be represented at upcoming international conference
There will be a large contingent of companies and representatives from the northern Ontario mining sector heading to Las Vegas next month once MINExpo gets underway.
The international convention has been described as the "Olympics" of the mining industry.
"It's the biggest mining show that exists, it's around 40,000 participants, it happens every four years. It was scheduled to happen in September 2020 but it was cancelled due to COVID obviously and it was rescheduled to this year," said Elena Zabudskaya, a project manager with the Northern Ontario Export Program.
Zabudskaya has been helping to organize the northern Ontario presence on the convention floor, giving companies and participants from the region a chance to show off their wares.
They're expecting about 50 companies from our region at the convention and the Northern Ontario Exports Program will house 12 of them under its pavilion.
Zabudskaya said this is an important event that gives people in the industry a chance to network and grow.
"This seems to be the first 'coming out' event (since the pandemic) and we really want to support our companies that are getting down there if they're willing to do so. And for us, it's not recognition for us but recognition for these companies," she said.
Work started three years ago to get regional companies ready for next month's big event and funding partners are helping companies with the price of the booth.
Marla Tremblay is the executive director of Mine Connect, northern Ontario's mining supply sector association that employs more than 23,000 people as a whole.
Tremblay has been helping to organize attendance at the event and believes this comes at a time where this is sorely needed for those in the industry.
"It's a big deal and there's a lot to think about," she said. "But yeah, we're excited to talk to people again. Virtual meetings are great and it's been a good learning curve, a good learning experience for companies, it's helped them bridge some international gaps and it's going to save them some money now that they know how to use it and people are accustomed to it, but you can't replace in person."
Tremblay said the continued threat or issue of COVID-19 hasn't escaped them. They've been watching the numbers very closely both in Las Vegas and in Canada.
Strict protocols are in place at the convention and they've cancelled the northern Ontario reception out of an abundance of caution.
"Networking events and things like that, we are conscious of making sure those events are happening outdoors. So, you know, we're avoiding any kind of indoor types of things where people are going to be gathering," Zabudskaya said.
One of the companies that will be heading over the U.S. border to showcase what it has to offer is HARD-LINE.
HARD-LINE has been busy at its facilities in Dowling as it works to get the finishing touches on their exhibit done. They're planning for a large video wall that will include 16 4K screens full of mining content.
"We're super excited for the MINExpo and this is going to be our biggest MINExpo to date. It's going to be our biggest booth, 40 by 50 feet, and we have so much technology that we're going to be showcasing there, some new technology as well, that we're really excited for," said Claude Sharma, the HARD-LINE Public Relations and Communications Specialist.
According to the company, their Auto Rockbreaker will be one of those featured tools that allow companies to break rocks at a more efficient pace. The company's news release said it has many new features that include an auto-deploy, auto park, and more intuitive 3D user interface.
HARD-LINE is planning on sending 17 of its employees to the convention from its facilities in Sudbury, Peru, Chile, and Utah.
"This is the biggest stage to showcase your material and you have to think about it as well where people from all over the world are coming and they're coming to show off their stuff. But there are still a lot of vendors and visitors that want to see your stuff and if you have that technology, that booth, that's very attractive, you can draw people there," Sharma said.
MINExpo runs Sept. 13 to 15.