Thompson, Manitoba, incorporated as a city in 1970, population 12 829 (2011c), 13 446 (2006c). The City of Thompson is located on the south side of the Burntwood River, 740 km north of Winnipeg. In 1956 significant NICKEL deposits were found 32 km southwest of Moak Lake. INCO and the provincial government reached agreement on development of Thompson, and by winter 1957 construction was underway. A rail link with the CNR's Hudson Bay line and a fully serviced new town, named for John F. Thompson, Inco's chairman, had to be built.
Production began in 1961 at what was the first integrated nickel-mining, smelting, concentrating and refining complex in the Western world. Copper, cobalt and precious metal by-products were produced as well. During the 1960s new mines were opened and the population topped 20 000, even though the townsite was designed for 8000 to 12 000.
Thompson's economy is highly dependent on the export demand for nickel. Inco's world position has been challenged in recent years by mines in developing countries and the prospect of deep-sea mining. Unfavourable markets led to reduced operations and decline in Thompson's population in the 1970s. Despite being a retail and service centre, the city has had a limited ability to attract secondary industry.
To avoid the unplanned growth seen in many other new RESOURCE TOWNS, Thompson was created in an orderly manner, with full health, education, water and protection services.