August 2006

Mining in Society wrap-up

By R. Montpellier

In a survey released early this year, only 12 per cent of young Canadians said they were likely to consider a career in the mining industry. This number indicates that the chronic shortage of skilled workers in the sector could deepen. The survey of Canadians between the ages of 16 and 35 was commissioned by the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR) and conducted by Ipsos-Reid. 

One of the key reasons for the low interest in the sector could be a lack of understanding and knowledge of the mining industry among young people. Only 17 per cent of respondents said they were familiar with the sector, ranking it dead last among the 12 industry categories tested.

The goals of the Mining in Society exhibition and career fair, which took place in Vancouver from May 14 to 16 as part of CIM Conference and Exhibition 2006, were to increase awareness of career opportunities in the mining industry, change perceptions about the industry, and attract more workers to the sector. MiHR, in conjunction with CIM, hosted the event.

If you attended the CIM conference you undoubtedly noticed some of the 3,600 young people buzzing around the Exhibition Centre over the three-day period. This event gave students, teachers, parents, media, and the public a chance to see what the modern mining industry is all about, the range of opportunities available, and the diversity of education requirements needed to work in this exciting industry. The exhibition was composed of six pavilions that showcased the main areas of the industry—Exploration, Mining, Processing, Sustainability, Transportation and Support Services, and Products/ Fabrication—and allowed visitors to “take a walk” through the mining sequence.

This event helped the public learn about the modern mining industry’s contribution to society and our economy, and helped provide young people with the resources they need to make informed career choices. We are now looking ahead to Montreal 2007 and are once again looking for dedicated volunteers to help make this a success. If you are interested in taking part in this dynamic event, please contact CIM.

Mining in Society would not have been possible without the participation of countless individuals and organizations who offered their time, resources, and money to make this show a success. We thank the event’s major sponsors (PDAC, Teck Cominco, and Goldcorp) who provided financial support. Thanks are also extended to Sheila Stenzel at the Mineral Resources Education Program in BC who helped coordinate the school trips, and to Patty Moore from Wardrop Engineering and Marie-Hélène Émond from CIM, who helped co-manage the event. We give our most heartfelt thanks to Laura Clinton from PDAC Mining Matters and her team who led the “The Amazing Mine Challenge,” a set of inter-pavilion games and engaging activities that challenged youth to learn about mining and think about how mining contributes to our daily lives.

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