BAIE VERTE, NL — Allan Cramm has always had a vision of what could be accomplished on his hometown Baie Verte Peninsula, so it is no surprise he wants others to share his goal.
The vice-president of innovation and development with Anaconda Mining has arguably been one of the biggest supporters of Baie Verte and the surrounding area for decades.
Through the fluctuations of the mining industry and correlating with the ups and downs of the region, Cramm has remained steadfast in his belief there is a strong future for both.
“Growing up in Baie Verte, I have an attachment to the town,” he said. “As part of Anaconda, we want to retain every person we have here, and we want to attract the best people available.
“To do that, you have to have a place suitable for people to live and raise a family.”
Cramm recently met with Baie Verte council and staff to present his perspective on a town image, branding and ownership.
He says the town needs a theme, and suggests it should be mining.
“(The meeting) was to … share the opportunities I see going forward — things we are working on, and also our desire to ensure the town continues to grow and become a great place for people to live,” he said.
Areas around the province have become internationally known for such things as their industry, landscape or history. The Baie Verte Peninsula is as rich in mining history as its natural geological formations and variations are in mineral resources.
Many aspects of the region’s history are largely unknown, even among people living there.
Historic mining shafts are located throughout the peninsula — including what is perhaps the oldest in the province in Fleur de Lys — as well as long-forgotten mining operations.
“We have had a strong attachment to mining for many years, and I think we need to capitalize on that,” Cramm said.
The former Advocate Mines was a big town supporter, investing in infrastructure that is now aging and in need of upgrade or replacement. Cramm says everybody needs to work together now to preserve the town.
“We can be the best company in the world, or Rambler can be the best company in the world, but if there’s not a desire for people to live in Baie Verte, for whatever reason, then they are not going to come,” he said.
While Anaconda is not within the municipal boundary of Baie Verte, the company — along with other major industry players Rambler Metals and Mining and Guy J. Bailey Ltd. — has supported the town to improve and expand regional efforts such as recreational and sporting infrastructure.
A significant educational component of the industry also remains relatively untapped. Cramm says a lot of leading-edge research is ongoing within the area’s industry in collaboration with universities, colleges and international students.
He hopes this work will lead to those future professionals wanting to live in the area one day.
“If you want to research Antarctica, you are not going to live in the Bahamas,” he said. “If you are researching mining, you want to be in the mine.”
There is a young workforce on the Baie Verte Peninsula. Cramm says he stresses to them there is no limit to what could happen throughout the region. The town once had a ski hill — a vision of some locals at the time — and he says there is no reason such ideas should be deterred now.
“If people want a squash court or a golf course or they want a racquet ball court, you can do that,” he said. “I constantly try to encourage the younger people within our group here to help and volunteer to make the town the kind of town they want.”
The meeting was the first of what Cramm and town representatives hope will be many on the subject. There appears to be a desire to form a committee to help foster the concept of identifying the town and region as a mining hub.
“It’s an effort to bring the community and business group together,” he said.
Baie Verte Mayor Brandon Philpott said the town is 100 per cent behind the idea.
The key is to promote the history of the industry, perhaps starting with its own people, he said.
“Allan has the vastest amount of knowledge of this peninsula and the mine shafts that are here of anybody I know,” he said.
“It is great to have somebody like that onboard to push such an idea.”
The mayor said a committee to spearhead such a venture is a priority. The town would in turn support initiatives such as beautifying areas of historical significance and working with other towns throughout the peninsula to do the same.
It is not just promoting the history of the industry, according to Philpott – it is ensuring that existing or future companies have what they need to reach their greatest potential in the region.
“They’re the biggest industry that we have here,” he said. “It is something we really hope continues to grow.
“Right now, it is what is attracting people here. We have a lot of younger people in this area due to working at the mines, supporting the mines or a spinoff from the mines.”
Identifying Baie Verte and area as a mining centre would be a significant boost for the tourism industry, says the mayor.
“It’s just a part of living here,” he said. “It is why Baie Verte is where it is.”