February 2009

Open Letter

to the Canadian Mining Industry and Government

By M. Scoble and J. Hadjigeorgiou

Investing in Mining People

We write as representatives of the Canadian Mining Education Council (CMEC) and the Canadian Mining Innovation Council (CMIC).

CMEC is a long-established organization that represents the nine university-based mining engineering schools in Canada (The University of Alberta, The University of British Columbia, Dalhousie, Université Laval, École Polytechnique, Laurentian University, McGill University, University of Toronto and Queen’s University). CMIC was formed in 2008 as a pan-Canadian initiative between industry, government and academia. Its aim is to network and collaborate to advance Canada’s capacity for accelerating innovation in mining. Both Councils strive to maintain effective interaction with each other to promote synergies.

These two national councils have both recently identified an urgent need to communicate with the Canadian mining industry and government. This open letter is based on extensive discussions that have taken place between the councils recently, and we urge all parties to carefully consider this message.

The councils are seriously concerned that the onset of the global economic recession will promote a response from industry that may radically reduce the opportunities for mining students to gain employment experience during and after their studies.

In previous recessionary cycles the mining industry dramatically reduced student recruitment, for both undergraduates and graduating students. This strategy not only threatened the survival of several of Canada’s mining schools, but has also contributed significantly to the current human resources crisis affecting the very health of the industry. In recent years, the mining schools have succeeded in raising their recruitment levels to meet industry’s growth, and enrolment across Canada is at record levels.

In the recent past, the Canadian mining industry and mining schools have succeeded in developing a notable degree of collaboration in human resources development. CMEC and CMIC together are requesting that the mining industry, its professional institutions and the respective governments adopt a strategy that nurtures the development of the next generation of mining engineers. If we repeat the mistakes of the past by not placing adequate priority on sustaining the recruitment and education of the next generation of committed mining students, then the Canadian mining industry is at risk of losing its global prominence in the future. The recruitment of students in the future will be dramatically impaired. This current recession provides an opportunity to take innovative measures and demonstrate the value that the Canadian mining industry places on its highly qualified people.

The councils urge industry to join together in ensuring an adequate opportunity for mining students to gain industrial experience through employment this year.

Malcolm Scoble
Chair, Human Resources Group
Canadian Mining Innovation Council


John Hadjigeorgiou
Canadian Mining Education Counci

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