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Greater Sudbury mayor, Brian Bigger and Meredith Armstrong, acting director of economic development see a great future for the nickel-rich city.SUPPLIED

During World War Two, Sudbury’s mines supplied nickel to make armour plating for Allied Forces. Eighty years later, the Ontario city is front and centre in a new war, the one against climate change, and once again nickel is playing a leading role.

As one of only a handful of jurisdictions in the world that produces Class 1 nickel, Sudbury’s mines are crucial suppliers to manufacturers of batteries for electric vehicles (EVs). Some of its mining companies are already leading by example and switching over to EVs in their own operations, and the city’s mining supply and service sector is ramping up the development of zero-emission underground equipment to meet growing global demand.

“We believe Sudbury has not only an opportunity, but also a duty to be part of the transition to the battery/electric carbon economy,” says the Mayor of Greater Sudbury, Brian Bigger. “There is a new chapter in the Sudbury story, and it’s clear that the nickel and other key minerals, coupled with our expertise in innovation and safe and environmentally responsible mining practices, will help win the war on climate change.”

He says Sudbury has become a true global mining hub. In 2019, the city’s economic development team, in partnership with other local organizations, hosted 11 delegations from around the world, with more in the works for 2020.

“Some of the largest companies and countries in the world’s mining sector are looking to Greater Sudbury for its expertise in the industry and our experience in environmental remediation efforts,” adds Mr. Bigger.

While mining is the cornerstone of Sudbury’s economy, he says the city will continue to diversify in a variety of directions including health innovation, green and environmental technologies, and film/arts based on the strength of a strong bilingual community and a growing understanding, healthy engagement and respect for Indigenous communities.

The city also plans to establish a Centre for Mine Waste Biotechnology, and the Sudbury Re-Greening and Atmospheric Emissions Reduction (AER) projects will continue to be an inspiration for winning the war on climate change and serve as a basis for increased tourism, he adds.

“Greater Sudbury is becoming a preferred location for newcomers to Canada as well as internal immigration from other parts of Canada,” says Mr. Bigger. “Newcomers will be increasingly attracted to Sudbury’s affordable lifestyle, connection to the outdoors, and family-oriented services and amenities.”

Part of Sudbury’s attraction is its ability to adapt to changing times, he says, pointing out that while the city has been challenged over the years by economic downturns and the move to mechanization that threatened jobs, it has always managed to bounce back.

“We have seen significant changes in the mining industry, particularly over the past 10 years as the pace of technological innovations accelerated. Many people were worried that technology would replace workers, but that’s not happened,” says Meredith Armstrong, acting director of economic development for the City of Greater Sudbury. “Today we are seeing new investment in our skilled workers, the retraining of employees and a new generation of high-paying careers in the technology sector.”

The city believes its future is bright and it needs to start saying so.

“Perhaps it’s time that we stop being such polite, humble Canadians,” adds Mr. Bigger. “We should be proud of how far we’ve come, and it’s time to do a bit of bragging about what we have accomplished, what we are doing and where we are going.”

Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.