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Mining partnerships a 'win-win': Boissonneault

Mining is an “important part of why Sudbury exists” and that's why it's important to celebrate it, according to Nicole Tardif, Sudbury Mining Week committee member.
Marc Boissonneeault, vice president Xstrata Nickel Sudbury operations, spoke at the business luncheon during Sudbury Mining Week May 13. Photo by Marg Seregelyi.
Mining is an “important part of why Sudbury exists” and that's why it's important to celebrate it, according to Nicole Tardif, Sudbury Mining Week committee member.

Members of the business community gathered at Bryston's on the Park in Copper Cliff on May 13 for a luncheon. The event also included a keynote address by a representative from Xstrata Nickel. The event was part of Sudbury Mining Week that started May 7 and continues until May 14.

Marc Boissonneault, vice president Xstrata Nickel Sudbury operations, highlighted key accomplishments by Xstrata in recent years, including the deal signed between the company and Vale in regards to the Fraser mine.

“It's a partnership involving the mining of a continuous deposit actually that we're currently mining and it spans claims that are owned by Vale and ourselves,” he said. “We're very close to the deposit. We have plans to mine that deposit with our workforce, call back 75 people and extend the life of the mine from three years to 10 years.”

Boissonneault said partnerships between mining companies is not unusual.

“It's exciting because it's so impactful on community benefits,” he said. “For every mining job, we typically see two to three spin-off jobs in the community. It's a win-win all around and we're pretty excited about it.”

The agreement between Vale also includes ventilation capacity. Boissoneeault said Xstrata has “excess ventilation capacity in the area and it's very close to Vale's Coleman mine.”

“We're very pleased to be able to partner with Vale and supply them with ventilation for their Coleman expansion projects,” he said. “That will provide an improved work environment and productive capacity for Coleman.”

The health and safety of employees has also been a focus for Xstrata. Boissonneault said in the past four years, the company has reduced “injury frequency rates at (the) Sudbury operations by 80 per cent.”

“Those performance numbers include the injury frequency rates of the contractors that work for us on our properties,” he said.

Jon Treen, general manager production services with Vale Ontario operation, agreed that safety in mining has improved.

“We've made great strides,” he said. “We're mining safer than we ever have before. We're creating smaller environmental footprints than we ever had before.”

This is the 18th annual Sudbury Mining Week. Tardif said “most people that work in Sudbury work for the mining industry either directly or indirectly or know somebody who works in the mining industry.”

“I think it's very important to celebrate the fact that we are here because of mining and also that we live in a society that uses metals and minerals that have been derived from mining,” she said. “We are very fortunate to be living the way we are because we have mining in our lives.”

May 14 marks the finale of Sudbury Mining Week. A family day will take place at the McClelland Arena in Copper Cliff between 9 and 4 p.m. Activities include equipment displays, a mine rescue display, free pine seedlings, exhibits of rocks and gems, music by Larry Berrio and historic walks featuring the Copper Cliff museum.