May 2008

Student Life

Canadian Mining Games at UBC a success

By G. Finlay

Testing competitors’ accuracy and safety at the Jackleg drilling event, designed and run by Boart-Longyear


On February 21, the University of British Columbia and Vancouver welcomed over 120 students and over 60 industry representatives to the 18th annual Canadian Mining Games.  Mining Games is an event where mining engineering students across Canada can develop and showcase their problem-solving, teamwork, and communication skills through competition with their peers.  It also provides a unique opportunity for students to network with industry, represent their university and build friendships with students across Canada.

Every year, the Mining Games provide students from across Canada with an unforgettable experience, which has been matched again at UBC. At the end of each competition day, guests were treated to some of the best dining and nightlife that Vancouver has to offer. From banquets at the Pan Pacific, Sheraton Wall Centre and aboard the Queen of Diamonds, to parties that started at the Blarney Stone, Plush and Plaza, and didn’t end until the buses arrived the next morning, friendships were made and rivalries forgotten.

While the games could not exist without the competitiveness of the 10 participating schools, the true value of this annual tradition lies in the experiences we share and the people we meet over these three days. The mining community is a small one, spread across the globe, and the games give students and sponsors from across Canada and the world a unique opportunity to come together in an environment where, quite often, anything goes.

Results and new events

For the second year running, the University of Alberta returned home triumphant, placing in the top three in numerous events after winning the traditional boat race on opening night. Hosts UBC came in second overall, with Laval taking third place, in an order mirroring the boat race finals.

The 2008 games also saw the introduction of a new competitive event, the safety inspection. Event sponsor and designers from Elk Valley Coal ran teams through an interactive, simulated work environment and judged teams’ ability to perform a job safety analysis. We look forward to watching this new event evolve in the coming years.

Another new addition to the games was the Career Fair. Response from our sponsors has been overwhelmingly positive. The Career Fair also presented a unique opportunity for our local companies to gain exposure with our guests from the eastern schools. We are proud to have introduced this new event to the Mining Games and to have given all of our competitors and sponsors a better chance to meet one another.

Student involvement and the future of Mining Games

The games also present the host school with many chances to involve the next generation of miners. Most teams that attend consist of students who have been to several Mining Games, or who are near graduation. As this year’s hosts, we are pleased to have had upwards of half of our second-year class involved as volunteers, either on the organizing committee or at the events themselves.

For all of us, these games have been invaluable, both for the relationships we have built and for the shared experience of being involved in such a large event. Our committee members, volunteers and team captains have learned lessons in leadership, organization, communication and many other skills which are rarely, if ever, taught in a classroom.

On behalf of the committee, I would like to thank our many sponsors for their generous support and express a sincere wish that we will all continue to support the Canadian Mining Games in the coming years. We’ll see you next year in Toronto!


Glenn Finlay is a second-year mining engineering student at the University of British Columbia and the 2008 Mining Games vice president of communications.

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