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Letter: Electric vehicles will be a boon for Sudbury's economy

Nickel will be in high demand to power the batteries needed for those vehicles
electric car shutterstock

I’ve been following conversations about the aspirations of our local mining and supply sectors.  

I’m aware that our society needs to move towards the electrification of our transportation and industrial systems – including electric mining equipment. 

It is clear that there will be an increased demand for nickel to satisfy the growing need for batteries that are used in electric vehicles.

Reports from recent mining innovation meetings, including that of the Sudbury Chapter of the Canadian Institute of Mining held at Dynamic Earth on March 21 and the Nevada Mining Association’s meeting between March 11-14th, make it clear that Sudbury has much to offer with respect to mining innovation and mining businesses. 

Sudbury is seen to be a global leader, but to keep our edge, we in turn have the responsibility to acknowledge and support this critical local industrial sector. 

Doug Morrison, CEO of the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI), makes it clear that mining is at a crossroads. The way forward is to lead in mining innovation — otherwise, we’re going to be left behind. His vision of mining includes state-of-the-art thinking that is not only beneficial to the bottom line, but happens to coalesce around much-improved environmental and miner safety issues.  

Among other things, using electric mining vehicles underground reduces ventilation needs as there are no emissions to pump out of the mines. Working mining equipment remotely or utilizing on-board artificial intelligence will greatly improve safety. And if Sudbury and its secondary mining industries and research facilities can ride the wave of leadership in these areas, jobs will move from underground to the surface — and we’ll see more of them come to Sudbury from elsewhere.

Our mining and supply sector is globally respected. It seems to me that Sudbury needs to showcase, and support, our evolving mining sector, not just for the jobs it supports and will attract, but also because we have businesses here that are able to mine while meeting important environmental and safety regulations. That’s not just good for the local economy, but it’s also good for workers around the world.  And it’s good for the natural environment, too.

Nickel will be in high demand as we move to more electric vehicles. Sudbury stands to gain in both supplying this precious metal and in supporting the development of new state-of-the-art mining innovations. These innovation efforts need to be supported from all levels of government, but most importantly from the federal level.

Bill Crumplin