Mining Scholarships Support the Industry’s Future Workforce

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.

The mining sector provides hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to university and college students studying in related programs to support tomorrow’s industry.  There are numerous sources of these scholarships but for students willing to do their homework, there is a range of financial assistance available.  

For young people looking for future careers in mining engineering, geology and mine technology areas, a good place to start looking is the Canadian Mining and Metallurgical Foundation (CMMF), which was founded in 1972.  It has information on scholarships and bursaries offered by the national Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, CIM Branches and CMMF worth more than $220,000 annually.

“The mining industry wants you – do you want a scholarship.  The CMMF promotes mining as an enviable career choice and offers scholarships to encourage students to apply for studies in fields related to mining,” said Deborah Smith-Sauve, Manager of  CMMF.  “To maintain its leadership in the mining world, Canada requires he best educated workforce possible to develop new technologies and apply them in the most effective manner.”

The financial support for mining students comes in the form of scholarships offered by a particular CIM branch for a specific geographic area, for specific programs, in honour of a person as a legacy award, in the name of a corporation and other sources.  The money available is for undergraduate and graduate students at universities, students at colleges and students entering trades. 

As an example, the Northern Gateway Branch of the CIM in North Bay alone offers $8,000 annually to local high school students through its Awards Program.  There is a $2,500 scholarship for a local grade 12 graduate pursuing studies in a mining related discipline.  The Branch also provides $500 prizes to 11 North Bay area high school graduates pursuing any area of study at university or college.

Getting a solid number for the mining industry’s total support of post secondary education is difficult.  There are organizations such as the Women’s Association of the Mining Industry in Canada, which offers $9,000 annually in mining related scholarships.  Though WAMIC was founded in 1921, the WAMIC Foundation was established in 1964 to provide annual scholarships, awards and bursaries to undergraduate students enrolled in accredited mining related, or earth science, programs in Canadian universities.

Along with financial support for mining schools and high-profile million-dollar-plus donations to university programs, there is a long list of scholarships offered by mining companies, which are often associated with specific institutions.  In addition, many companies offer financial support for the children of employees pursuing various avenues of post secondary education.

There are also numerous de facto scholarships available.  While the Ontario Mining Association’s high school video competition would not technically be considered a scholarship, it does offer financial support to students.  Many past winners have thanked the OMA for prize money which has helped them follow the college and university course of their choosing.

SYTYKM offers prizes for high school students ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 in different categories.  The total money available for this year’s SYTYKM contest is $25,500.  For further information check out the OMA website for details on the 2010-2011 So You Think You Know Mining video competition, the CMMF at and WAMIC at

The Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR) monitors mineral industry labour markets and hiring requirements.  It forecasts that over the next 10 years – going out to 2020 – the mining industry in Ontario will need between 15,400 and 19,400 new employees.  The industry’s broad support by making scholarships, bursaries and financial assistance available for students is one step taken to make sure qualified and skilled employees are ready to fill those spots.