March/April 2006

Editor's letter

The changing face of mining

By H. Ednie

What will be the face of mining tomorrow? Do you stop to think about it? I do. I’m anxiously curious to meet the new workers and drivers of the industry, as the impending shift change hits and we see our operations populated by a myriad of new faces.

I began working with CIM just shy of a decade ago, at which time I was one of the youngest folk onsite, no matter what conference or operation I was visiting. In my early 20s at the time, I was, sometimes, hard pressed to find anyone within 20 years of my age. That’s already changing - and not only because I’ve hightailed it out of my youthful years and am firmly ensconced in my ‘adult 30s.’ But will the operations of the future become the opposite of my past experiences in this industry—will the youth become the norm and finding a grey hair onsite become the proverbial needle in a haystack?

The demographic change is happening already. It’s obvious in places like Fort McMurray, and at some other operations. It’s noticeable at the CIM conferences, where a new sea of faces bring less experience, but lots of dedication, to the table. And as industry and its associations are focusing more keenly on the need to recruit and retain today’s youth, the change will continue.

In this issue, an article covers the GO Eng Girl! Program held at universities across Ontario, aiming to recruit young women to engineering. It’s one of many programs being created to reach out to a new talent pool. The articles covering the Iron Ore Company of Canada and Quebec Cartier Mining also demonstrate the industry’s determination to maintain a high-level workforce. And the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR) is helping to guide the industry recruitment strategy, through such programs as Mining in Society, to be held at the CIM Conference and Exhibition.

How will this new face of mining affect the industry? At the CIM national office, we’re striving to understand the role CIM will play to encourage these new members of our industry, and assist them to view the minerals industry as a life-long career opportunity. And I can’t wait—it promises to be a challenging, and yet invigorating time for CIM and the industry as our new peers and coworkers get on board.

Heather Ednie, Editor-in-chief

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