Ontario Teachers take mining lessons back to the classroom

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 Ontario Mining Association has helped 27 Ontario teachers gain a better perspective on the mineral industry through its participation in the second annual Teachers’ Mining Tour.  This educational professional development program was held at the Canadian Ecology Centre (CEC) near Mattawa from August 15 to 19, 2011. 

The program exposed teachers to all phases of the mining cycle, industry professions, Earth science and mineral education specialists, Earth science presentations, educational resources and numerous field trips.  George Flumerfelt, President of North Bay-based mine contractor Redpath and an OMA Director, provided a “Mining 101” presentation for the educators to kick off the intensive week.

Tours included visits to Vale’s smelter complex in Sudbury and Xstrata Nickel’s Nickel Rim South Mine.  In North Bay, the teachers toured Boart Longyear’s drill manufacturing facilities including a highly automated operation featuring robotics.  Also, a representative of consulting engineering firm Knight Piesold made a presentation on the role of environmental assessments in resource development to this group of teachers.  The Ministry of Northern Development Mines and Forestry provided information on the geological origins of the Sudbury Basin and its importance to Canada.

On the first day, Lesley Hymers, OMA Environment and Education Specialist, led an introductory hands-on activity titled “Mining in Ontario.”  During the week, she also made presentations on OMA education and outreach initiatives such as the popular So You Think You Know Mining high school video competition and the OMA’s collaboration with Skills Canada Ontario, which promotes trades and technologies as career options for students.

“The OMA supports the Teachers’ Mining Tour as another way to provide current information about mining, the skills needed by the industry and the opportunities it offers,” said Ms. Hymers.  “The OMA helps teachers and students gain a greater understanding and appreciation of mining and its role as a partner in society.”

Participating educators were introduced to contemporary mineral prospecting, mine development and reclamation practices as well as geology and the broad spectrum of direct and indirect manufacturers and suppliers to the mining industry.  There was also a number of hands-on training workshops including those involving PDAC Mining Matters teaching resources.

Supporters of the Teacher’s Mining Tour include the OMA, CIM Northern Gateway Branch, CIM Sudbury Branch, CIM Mining and Metals Society and EdGeo, an organization of the Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences that supports workshops for Canadian teachers.  The CEC, which is located within Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park, is an environmental education institution delivering high school credits and school programs for students and professional development opportunities for teachers.