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What happens in Vegas may boost Sudbury's economy

A Sudbury company is mining business opportunities in Nevada's metals industry, thanks to a burgeoning partnership with Canada and a business group from the U.S. State.
David La Rue, left, and Bob MacInnis, of Dura 21, pose with Bob Groesbeck, vice-president of the Canada-Nevada Business Council, Greater Sudbury Mayor Marianne Matichuk, Frank Spady, CEO of CNBC, and Larry Scheffler, chief operating officer, pose at NORCAT on Maley Driver last week. Photo by Darren MacDonald.
A Sudbury company is mining business opportunities in Nevada's metals industry, thanks to a burgeoning partnership with Canada and a business group from the U.S. State.

While most people associate Nevada with Las Vegas, the area has much more to offer than gambling, says Bob Groesbeck, vice-president of the Canada-Nevada Business Council. Nevada his home to a billion-dollar mining industry that's enjoying a resurgence, even as the rest of the state tries to recover from the recession.

“We're just blown away by what's going on in this community,” Groesbeck said at an Oct. 10 news conference at NORACT on Maley Drive. “It didn't take us long to figure out that this is a good fit.”

The event included Mayor Marianne Matichuk, who connected with the CNBC last year while in Las Vegas for MINEExpo. Canada is Nevada’s largest trading partner, exporting $1.3 billion in goods to us and importing $813 million in goods from Canada. The largest percentages of goods from Canada are equipment and machinery, making up 20 per cent.

Thursday's event unveiled a partnership between the council and Dura21, a Sudbury business that has developed technology – including cryogenics -- to make heavy equipment last longer.

“The technology coming out of this community is ideally suited for what we're doing in Nevada,” Groesbeck said.

Dura21 co-founder Bob MacInnis said the company's products can help businesses improve productivity and save money. In particular, heavy industries like mining, where parts and equipment must be replaced continually, the implications are huge.

“If we can increase productivity by decreasing downtime caused by wear ... we can really make an impact,” MacInnis said.

He cited the example of a piece of mining equipment that had to be replaced every six weeks. After Dura21 transformed the product, it now lasts 130 weeks.

“And in a pretty critical area, as well,” he said.

The company is protective of the technology it uses, and instead try to focus on the benefits of what they can do.

“People always ask us what we do to the parts,” he said. “What people really want to know is, does it last longer? And will it save me money?”

Frank Spady, who who heads the council, said despite popular perception, there's much more to Nevada than “men in Elvis suits.” And if a company like Dura21 can help a mine in Nevada, everybody wins.

“And it's not just the mining industry,” Spady said. “This product has implications way beyond the mining industry ... That's what's so great about this technology.”
Matichuk agreed, saying Dura21's technology can potentially help almost every mine.

“At the end of the day, that's the type of technology the mining industry is looking for,” she said. “And if you look at the synergies with Nevada – Nevada has a huge mining cluster.
“There's a huge opportunity here to grow, and it's because of the relationships.”

MacInnis said joining the business council give the company access to that market in a whole new way. It's a conduit for Dura21 to access decision-makers in the industry, so they avoid “going down the rabbit hole,” which has happened to them in past attempts at making connections in unfamiliar markets.

But many mining CEOs in Nevada are already members of the council, giving them easier access “to the decision-makers,” he said. And the more Dura21 grows, the more Sudbury will benefit through taxes and jobs.

“Our goal is to make Sudbury our manufacturing hub,” MacInnis said.

“The technology is going to stay in Sudbury,” Matichuk added. “And just because the technology is being used in mining, doesn't mean it can't be used in construction.”


Darren MacDonald

About the Author: Darren MacDonald

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