May 2007

Student Life

2007 Canadian Mining Games

By M. Jaworski

The 17th Annual Canadian Mining Games took place at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, from February 15 to 18, 2007. The event drew competitors from ten universities across Canada. The three-day competition consisted of numerous physical and practical events including materials handling, mine rescue, and the pivotal mine design competition. McGill University hosted 150 students, the largest Mining Games participation in the competition’s 17-year history. Participating universities included the University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, Dalhousie University, Laurentian University, Université Laval, McGill University, École Polytechnique, Queen’s University, University of Saskatchewan, and the University of Toronto.

The Opening Banquet, sponsored by the Rio Tinto Group, played host to the seminar competition, where a member from each team had one hour of preparation and eight minutes to discuss how employers can make the communities in which they operate more attractive and discuss what employers are overlooking in the recruitment process. Each team looked especially sharp, wearing team uniforms of custom-made hockey jerseys, matching sport coats, rugby jerseys, and the like.

The first night proved to be a sort of initiation, with the GijimaAST Americas Inc. boat race competition taking place at a local pub. After much revelry and catching up with old friends, the late night soon turned into an early morning as the Boart Longyear jackleg competitors travelled to the Lafarge quarry in Boisbriand, Quebec. The rest of the students headed to the McGill campus for the first day of events: equipment selection, blasting (sponsored by Dyno Nobel Inc.), mystery event I (stick welding), mineral separation, AutoCAD design, rock mechanics (sponsored by Golder Associates Ltd.), and mineral identification. Any spare time was spent working on the GijimaAST Americas Inc. mine design event as participants scrambled to investigate the possibility of extending the life of an open pit gold mine. Sponsor Appreciation Night was held that evening at the Molson Brewery Banquet Hall where participants and sponsors alike were impressed with the venue, as well as the food and beverages. With one day of competition under their belts, and first-day nerves subsided, all attendees were able to enjoy the night life that Montreal has to offer.

Day two involved more hands-on events as Kiewit Construction hosted the materials handling and remote equipment handling events. Back at McGill, the surveying event was met with mixed reactions as participants had to measure one angle using a transit from the 1920s. Scattered throughout the day were the environmental, mineral economics, and ventilation events as well as the lengthy problem set. The mine rescue event was held in one of the school’s tunnels and overseen by representatives from Elk Valley Coal and Suncor Energy Inc. The two most crowd-pleasing events took place simultaneously: mechanical design, where student had to design a functional skip and frame out of popsicle sticks; and mystery event II - padded sumo wrestling.

With the competition over, the participants returned to the host hotel with a sense of accomplishment. The mining games were over, but all were still looking forward to the evening’s final banquet and awards ceremony. Golder Associates hosted a superb closing reception, followed by the Teck Cominco Closing Banquet & Awards Presentation at the prestigious Omni Hotel in downtown Montreal. As the individual event winners were announced, the overall champion could not be predicted as each team won at least one event and five schools won as many as three. The intensity of this year’s competition was seen with the top three placing universities finishing within three percentage points of each other. The 2007 Canadian Mining Games Championship went to the University of Alberta, followed by repeat second place finishers Queen’s University, and Laurentian University in third place. The evening concluded with Suncor Energy Inc. and Teck Cominco announcing their commitment to be sustaining sponsors for all ten teams for the next three and five years, respectively. This gives all the universities a head start for the 2008 Games, especially next year’s host, the University of British Columbia, who are already taking pride in bringing the Games back to the West after three consecutive years in the East.

Industry support this year was phenomenal and many company representatives made the voyage to Montreal to witness the Games first-hand. Thank you to the devoted 2007 Canadian Mining Games sponsors, as well as the McGill Mining Faculty and this year’s organizers. Please visit the Canadian Mining Games website for a complete listing of sponsors and their involvement as well as complete results.

Maria Jaworski is a mining engineering student at McGill University and chair of the 2007 Canadian Mining Games.

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