Sept/Oct 2006

Editor's letter

Exploring the potential

By H. Ednie


This is CIM’s annual coal and oil sands issue, and there’s a real line-up of companies included in these pages - in the articles and the ads - demonstrating how vibrant these industries are.

To prepare for and research this issue of CIM Magazine, I headed to Alberta and British Columbia with two freelance writers, Clayton Chen and Haidee Weldon, for what was a fascinating tour of coal and oil sands operations. We visited the beautiful Rockies to tour a variety of Elk Valley Coal Corporation mine sites and see first-hand how innovation is maintaining the company’s success. Next, we visited Fort McMurray and were majorly impressed with the development in town. Houses are going up at an alarming rate and the urgency is almost palatable in the newness of the residential areas. We visited some oil sands sites and had a blast at Syncrude as we climbed aboard a Bucyrus shovel and had rides in Caterpillar 797s. The positive energy of everyone we met was catching - this community is doing a superb job of making it a great place to live. Finally, we ended up in Edmonton, where I headed to the University of Edmonton campus and the others visited Prairie Coal’s Highvale operation. There is an incredible amount of things to see and learn in these industries.

Upon returning to Montreal, I spoke at a symposium held by Manufacturiers et exportateurs du Québec for Quebec-based companies wanting to export business to Alberta. It’s a great concept - Alberta has too much on its plate to handle and can turn to other Canadian companies for supplies and services. Though many of the companies present were not currently active in our industries, numbers of them were eager to discuss the mine operations and the whole of the oil sands business. The potential for every progressive Canadian company is noteworthy. I’m eager to revisit the area, a year from now, to see how it has grown.

So many people have been incredibly helpful on this issue - our industry really attracts stellar inpiduals. I’d like to thank Tim and Laura Joseph who helped a lot and provided awesome hospitality. Also, thanks to Ken Chekerda and Zoli Lukacs who are great CIM supporters, and the whole crew in Elkview who gave up a lot of their time for us. Alain Moore deserves my personal appreciation for all the help he gives to CIM Magazine. Most of all, thank you to both Elk Valley Coal and Syncrude for making our coal and oil sands tour possible.

Heather Ednie, Editor-in-chief

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