March/April 2011

Early exposure to mine turns into inspiring career

By Marlene Eisner


Patricia Dillon, Trustee for the Canadian Mining and Metallurgical Foundation, presented the Caterpillar and its Canadian Dealers Scholarship to Bradley Lecomte, a mining engineering student at the University of British Columbia | Photo credit: Tom Broddy

Bradley Lecomte, the 2010-2011 recipient of the Caterpillar and its Canadian Dealers Scholarship, visited the Huckleberry Mine near Houston, British Columbia, when he was in elementary school. Although fascinated by what he saw, he never imagined that one day he would find himself behind the wheel of a large haul truck. But, for the last two summers, the 21-year-old, fourth-year University of British Columbia mining engineering student has been hauling ore at the very same mine, an experience he says will one day help him as a mine engineer.

In high school, Lecomte enjoyed math, physics, economics and computers. Studying engineering was a natural choice for him, but when he entered university, he knew little about the various fields open to him. “When I saw a presentation put on by the mining department, it sparked an interest I had in mining that started back in elementary school,” he says. “One of the things about mining that I’m really interested in is the way the physical, political, social, economic and environmental challenges all come together when mining engineers work on a job.”

While at Huckleberry Mine, Lecomte was able to gain a good perspective on mining operations from speaking with other employees. “In my future career, if people complain about the haul road being too small, for example, I will be in a better position to understand that,” he says. “These trucks don’t turn on a dime; they do need large roads.”

When he graduates this spring, Lecomte says he wants to work in an engineer-in-training (EIT) program, with a goal of becoming a professional engineer. His current interests lie in uranium and coal. “Uranium mining is so completely different from any other area of mining in terms

of the challenges and uniqueness of the properties,” he adds. “And coal is also really different. I took a class on coal processing, and what I saw on the way coal is mined really interests me.”

But, until that happens, Lecomte is looking forward to the two-week trip to Brazil his fourth-year mining class will take at the end of the semester. “That will be an eye-opening experience for me,” he says. “I can’t wait.”

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