August 2014

CIM news from Canada and beyond

National Mining Competition looking beyond borders

Pressure, deadlines and last-minute surprises are all part of a university student’s life and factor into a unique business case competition held in Saskatoon each year. Organizers of the National Mining Competition (NMC) are accepting registrations for this year’s event, scheduled from October 30 to November 2 and hosted by the Edwards School of Business and the University of Saskatchewan.

Last year’s event featured 14 teams of four from across the country, with the lone non-Canadian team, Michigan Technological University, winning the competition, said Cooper Meadows, event co-chair external. Now in its third year, organizers are thinking globally to grow the contest. “We recently reached out to the U.K., France, Germany, and Chile,” said Meadows, adding that they have set a goal of 20 teams this year.

The NMC includes one main business case problem and an additional surprise challenge. For the main challenge, teams are presented with data and a strategic question to answer for a fictional mining company and they are given 36 hours to provide a business case to a panel of industry experts. “This year, we’re really planning on making it a multidisciplinary case,” said Meadows, noting it would encourage participation from teams made up of engineering and geosciences students along with financing and accounting people on the business side. “The reason why we’re trying to do that is to put together a simulation of industry,” he said.

During the 36-hour period, teams will be able to consult a panel of mining industry professionals to help them solve their case. Teams then submit their results and give an initial 20-minute presentation, which includes a question and answer session with a judging panel made up of sponsors and mining experts. The top teams in each group go on to a final presentation, with the winners announced at an awards gala.

The competition also includes a surprise challenge, which factors into the overall scoring. ”Last year, the surprise challenge was a crisis challenge,” said Meadows, explaining it centred on a simulated incident at a mine and how public relations employees would respond to it.

Meadows said the event provides students with a valuable learning opportunity, as they have to put together a case under a tight deadline and undergo a boardroom-style Q&A from the panel. But there are other important benefits too, like networking with students and industry professionals.

This paid off for one of last year’s winners, Matt Schwalen, who lined up an internship with Cameco following the event. “Overall the competition is meant to be educational, but given NMC’s structure, you are also able to network and it undoubtedly played a part in my ability to get a job at Cigar Lake,” said Schwalen, who is in the last year of his bachelor of sciences in the civil engineering program, with a mining engineering minor at Michigan Technological University.

At last year’s contest, teams were given three fictional gold deposits and instructed to guide the panel to pursue the most economical, and Schwalen’s team was the only one to decide it was not worth considering any of the options for development. “In the final hours when we realized these deposits couldn’t be developed, the team was under a lot of pressure,” he said. “I know I could feel it.”

The registration deadline is September 30.

CIM Foundation: a change in name only

The Canadian Mining and Metallurgical Foundation will now officially be known as the CIM Foundation. The name change is for the sake of clarity, explained foundation manager Deborah Smith-Sauvé: “We were created by members of CIM. We are funded totally by CIM members, and whenever anybody said CMMF, nobody understood the relationship between the foundation and CIM, so we are charting a closer path.”

The not-for-profit charitable foundation was established in 1972 and provides scholarships for students pursuing careers in the mining and metallurgical sectors. It also raises funds for various CIM activities and programs like M4S that promote the benefits and opportunities provided by the industry. The foundation is legally separate and distinct from CIM and is run by its own board, Smith-Suavé said. “But we are aligned with CIM and we are here to continue to support CIM, especially with its new strategic plan,” she added.

Distinguished Lecturers

Now in its 47th year, CIM’s Distinguished Lecturer program is poised to once again provide mining professionals and students at branch, society or university events with informative, engaging and entertaining presentations on relevant and vital subjects. This year’s program features talks on corporate social responsibility, government transparency, project execution, and environmentally conscious mining.

Ben Chalmers, vice-president of sustainable development with MAC, and Ross Gallinger, former executive director of PDAC

Resource revenue transparency
Though mining offers governments around the world the opportunity to generate revenue, it is difficult to know how society benefits from mining operations when there is no means of tracking how tax and royalty revenues are spent. A lack of transparency can lead to the mismanagement, loss or even theft of resource revenues that are critical for development. Chalmers and Gallinger will discuss how their organizations partnered with civil society groups on an initiative that will require Canadian companies to disclose payments derived from resource extraction to governments all over the world.

Joseph Ringwald, president and CEO of Selwyn Resources

The inevitability of CSR
This presentation looks at the origins and the future of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and what aspects of CSR are now making news. This includes the resource revenue transparency initiative that the federal government is currently discussing. Ringwald will also discuss the potential impacts to companies if they decide to ignore CSR, and touch on the rewards for companies that choose to invest in it.

Ken Thomas, project development and metallurgy president, Ken Thomas & Associates Inc.

KenThomas_DLec  Project execution and cost escalation in the mining industry 
In the last 10 years, the mining industry has witnessed an escalation in capital costs, with project costs doubling or tripling in some cases during that time. Meanwhile, operating costs have also increased, affecting the project’s net present value and internal rate of return. Thomas will explain why capital costs have increased and discuss the various components that make up capital estimates. He will also look at why preliminary estimates have been so much lower than the ultimate construction costs and how miners can exercise better discipline during project execution to stay on budget. 

Janice Zinck, mine waste management and processing research program manager, Natural Resources Canada

JaniceZinck_DLec Green mining: an oxymoron or an opportunity? 
In Canada, miners understand that in order to obtain – and retain – their social licence to operate, they must conduct operations responsibly. This includes being environmental stewards. Zinck will illustrate the development and application of technologies and processes that maximize environmental performance while also maintaining competitiveness throughout the entire mining cycle, from exploration to post-closure.

To find out more about CIM’s distinguished lecturers and their presentations in their own words, visit

To book a distinguished lecturer, visit, call (514) 939-2710, or email

One to watch

Faizul MoheeFaizul Mohee, left, is presented with the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) President’s Young Professional Award by Paul Acchione, the society’s CEO, on May 6. The award is presented annually to recognize an outstanding OSPE volunteer who promotes engineering at school and following graduation. Mohee, a CIM student member who has participated in many CIM Toronto Branch events, has a master’s in civil engineering from the University of Toronto and is completing his PhD at the University of Waterloo. “It was a really good feeling,” said Mohee. “OSPE gives this award to one young engineer for all engineering disciplines all over Ontario, so I am feeling encouraged and motivated in my work. It’s a big morale boost.” Mohee has worked with Genivar and Hatch, and is interested in pursuing civil and structural engineering related to mining and nuclear infrastructure projects.

Go to Cover Story: Names to know 2014   Go to Project Profile: Red Chris  Go to Travel: Antofagasta, Chile  Go to Technology: Heavy equipment
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