August 2009

President's notes

The future is in your hands

By M. J. Allan

Over the past few years, we have heard and read a great deal about the anticipated shortage of people entering the Canadian mining industry. This deficit has been widely attributed to both the commodities boom and our aging demographics.  While the current recession might have temporarily dampened the demand for human resources in many sectors, the demographics of our industry (and CIM) have not changed. We still face a great many staffing challenges in the next few years as the baby boomers retire. It also bears remembering that when the widely predicted economic upswing occurs, we will once again be in competition with other industries fishing from the ever-shrinking labour pool.

The attraction, retention and development of our workforce have always been important issues faced by mining companies wishing to remain sustainable. Many companies have developed specific programs to address this situation, including engineer-in-training programs, leadership development and specific trades and apprenticeship education. This issue of CIM Magazine highlights some of these best practices currently being employed throughout the industry. From Diavik Diamond Mine’s Aboriginal Leadership Development Program to MiHR’s labour market and information forecasting, you’ll read about how organizations are investing in our most valuable assets — our people.

What can we do as CIM members to help with the human resources situation? As some of us get to the latter half of our careers, it is incumbent on us to share our experiences and mentor the next generation of young professionals as they begin their professional journeys. The mining industry is going to lose a lot of know-how in the next few years and it’s up to the more “seasoned” members to pass that expertise on. With its extensive and active networks, CIM can provide the channels and the context to do this, through its conferences, meetings and CIM Magazine (now available in an online version). I encourage every CIM member to invite a younger colleague to the next CIM meeting you attend. Better yet, invite them to join CIM if they are not already a member. The very future of our industry depends on it!

Michael J. Allan, CIM President

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