The funding will support 16 projects and create or maintain 112 jobs in the Sudbury and Algoma districts

Colleen Romaniuk

The provincial government announced more than $7.9 million in funding on Monday to support the forestry and mining sectors in northeastern Ontario.

The money will support 16 different projects and create and maintain 112 jobs in the Sudbury and Algoma districts.

The funding is being delivered through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) and includes significant investments in the mining supply and service sector in Greater Sudbury.

“This is an important infusion of high-tech capacity in the supply chains of forestry and mining. On the precipice of a breakthrough in critical minerals, we want to make sure that companies are armed with the tools they need to respond to that market demand,” said Greg Rickford, the minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Indigenous Affairs.

“It’s important that we stay on the cutting edge of these sectors and make sure our young people have something to look forward to that’s not only high-tech but also in some of our foundational sectors here in Northern Ontario.”

The projects aim to enhance operations by improving safety, productivity, efficiency and revenue potential for local businesses, added Rickford.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to promote a more competitive business environment out here in northeastern Ontario and foster vibrant and resilient communities,” he said.

Black Bird Management Limited in Batchewana Bay will receive $2.65 million to build a new harvesting and processing facility for maple products.

This project will turn Black Bird into the largest maple syrup producer in the province and generate up to 14 new jobs.

“This company is on the move. They learned a lot of lessons during the COVID-19 pandemic that have actually helped them to build a tech platform that can provide better customer service,” said Rickford.

“We’re all coming out of this pandemic in a bit of a fog, but I think we have to take the opportunity to understand some of the things that we learned that our businesses can grow from.”

Sudbury’s supply chain is also receiving a significant funding boost as part of this announcement. More than 10 businesses will receive thousands of dollars to help build infrastructure, develop and launch innovative technology, and purchase new equipment to expand operations.

In particular, McDowell Brothers Industries will receive $1 million to help build a new equipment manufacturing and parts fabrication facility.

Ionic Mechatronics in Lively will receive $500,000 for building expansion, the purchase of new equipment, and prototype and technical labour costs.

It will also enable the company to commercialize an energy isolation system that caters to the needs of mining, steel, and other large-scale industries.

Symboticware in Sudbury will also receive $500,000. This funding will be used to develop, demonstrate and market its innovative data management and analysis technology.

“The Ontario government’s financial support is timely and beneficial for the demonstration and commercialization of our industrial monitoring system,” said Symboticware founder and executive chairman Kirk Petroski.

“Symboticware’s technology and this project will enable remote drilling operators such as our industry sponsor, Major Drilling International, with real-time feedback and analysis on exploration drilling activities with both efficiency and safety, which is so important for our industry.”

The company’s platform allows industrial natural resources companies to connect with their mobile assets and enhance safety, efficiency and productivity.

“This funding will create and maintain up to 18 jobs within our company, and we have some coming announcements, as well,” said Petroski.

“We are looking at doubling that over the next year. Overall, funding like this helps accelerate the projects that otherwise might have taken a little longer to execute. It also enables testing within Northern Ontario, which was so important during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

B&R Rubber Services in Val Caron will receive $400,000 to purchase a new facility to increase its production capability of rubber products, and Salto Heat Treating in Sudbury will receive $400,000 to establish a new division and facility that offers heat treating of metal-fabricated products.

Other companies include Carlyle Forest Products Inc., HLC Hard-Line Solutions in Sudbury and Dowling, Sudbury Lime Limited in Wahnapitae, Lessard Welding in Chelmsford, and City Welding Sudbury Limited.

“Natural resources make up a vast majority of the environment here in Northern Ontario, and key sectors such as forestry and mining have always played a role in maintaining the vitality of our local and our regional economies,” said Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger.

“For years, we have seen the forestry and mining sectors create jobs, develop skills, adapt to innovative technology and enhance the overall quality of life for our residents.”

The NOHFC provides financial assistance to projects that stimulate recovery, growth, job creation, and skill development.

According to the provincial government, since June 2018, it has invested more than $318 million in 3,134 projects in Northern Ontario, leveraging more than $1.3 billion in investment and creating or sustaining more than 4,850 jobs.

The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government.

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