A new mining trade show scheduled for September will be the largest in Sudbury's history.
The North America Mining Expo will take place at the Centennial Arena in Hanmer on Wednesday, Sept. 10 and Thursday, Sept. 11.
Canadian Trade-Ex, which has organized the Canadian Mining Expo in Timmins for 12 years, decided to bring a similar event to Sudbury after meetings with the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation.
About two years ago, members with the Sudbury Chamber visited the conference in Timmins and liked what they saw.
“We agreed to partner with them to take on the role of hosting the gala dinner,” said Geoff Jeffery, chair of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce.
The gala dinner will take place at the Caruso Club on Tuesday, Sept. 9.
Three speakers are scheduled to address current issues in the mining sector.
Hans Matthews, president of the Aboriginal Minerals Association, is expected to address First Nations partnerships in Mining.
Paul Semple, the chief operating officer of Noront Resources, which plans to develop its Eagle's Nest and Blackbird deposits in the Ring of Fire, will also speak at the gala.
The Eagle's Nest deposit includes nickel, copper and platinum group elements, and the Blackbird deposit contains high-grade chromite.
Pierre Gratton, president of the Canadian Mining Association, will be the evening's keynote speaker.
“We're hoping to at least get a couple hundred people out,” Jeffery said.
Tickets for the gala are $100 each, and can be bought directly from the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce.
The expo itself will feature more than 220 companies from across North America and 300 booths.
“It makes it the largest show Sudbury has ever hosted for mining,” said Glenn Dredhart, president of Canadian Trade-Ex.
He said almost half of the exhibitors that have signed up for the conference so far are based in Sudbury.
Dredhart said the expo will also take advantage of the space outside the arena.
So far, more than 50 outside displays are planned for the event.
He said a potential lack of space could limit the scope of the conference in its inaugural year.
“We just couldn't find a facility that is large enough with the outdoor grounds that we need,” Dredhart said.
Canadian Trade-Ex wanted an arena with two ice pads instead of just one, but the best option in Sudbury – the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex – could not accommodate the conference due to its year-round ice surface.
“We'll do it for this year and see how it works,” Dredhart said regarding the Centennial Arena.
Despite potential space limitations, Dredhart said he expects the expo to be a “networking frenzy.”
Canadian Trade-Ex will have a phone application developed specifically for the festival, which will allow attendees to schedule meetings with exhibitors before the trade floor doors even open.
The app will also feature background information about all of the exhibitors.
Participants will be able to book helicopter flights over Sudbury to get a bird's-eye view of the city's mining sector.
On a lighter note, the conference will also feature a JackLeg competition where miners from Sudbury, Timmins and other areas will compete for speed and accuracy with the underground drills.
For more information about the expo visit www.northamericaminingexpo.com.