|UBC students at Highland Valley Copper Mine
The Vancouver Branch of CIM enjoys a prime location. Vancouver is host to the head offices of many major mining corporations as well as a centre for numerous junior mining companies. Suppliers and consultants have a strong presence. The city is a recognized centre of activity and expertise in the global mining industry.
The branch has a strong membership and is very active. Monthly meetings gather a crowd of normally between 80 and 120 people. The branch recognizes the potential to be tapped in a city such as Vancouver, and works to reach its full potential.
The membership is very diverse. Meetings are attended by people from every field, from geologists to engineers, suppliers, retirees and students. “We respond to the broad cross-section of members,” said 1998 Branch chairman Dwayne Gingrich. “By offering the best topics for our luncheons, we offer a potpourri of education and the broadest pool of information.”
Meetings are held as luncheons on the last Thursday of every month. Speakers are invited, usually to discuss mining projects. “The speeches on mining projects give a broad technical overview which covers all aspects of mining and the various technical fields,” said Jim Taylor, 1997 Branch chairman. “This encourages the largest attendance, attracting a broad cross-section of members.” If the speeches focused on only one aspect, many members would be less inclined to attend. Speakers are usually from around the Vancouver area, most often owners and managers, though the projects discussed are often happening abroad.
In Vancouver, the branch’s focus on education receives significant attention. There are a number of ways that the branch supports students. Scholarships, or “Book Prizes,” are awarded to students at the University of British Columbia, (UBC) Simon Fraser University (SFU) and the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), totaling about $6,000 per year. The scholarships are awarded in the fields of geology, metallurgy and mining, but the branch plans to expand their interests to include other disciplines that lead to careers in the mining industry, such as mechanical and electrical engineering. The branch has also supported, from its inception, the BC mining industry’s K-12 education program, MineralsEd, which provides teachers with the necessary information, materials and professional development experiences to assist their teaching about Earth’s mineral resources and mining in school.
A Student Night is held every year in the end of November, the only monthly meeting that takes place in the evening. This encourages student attendance, as they don’t have to worry about rushing back to class when the meeting ends. An annual photography competition awards the best mining related picture submitted to the branch from earth and mineral science undergraduate students in B.C.
The Vancouver Branch plans to continue its focus on the technical program and educational initiatives. In a city host to many groups and events, the CIM Branch has found its niche in the luncheon meetings. The branch provides a forum for all technical people to gather and network. It’s the one place where you can get everyone together and profit from the diversity of the local companies.