How should universities introduce more closure training into classrooms? – by Jax Jacobsen (CIM Magazine – May 27, 2019)

Mining engineering grapples with how to integrate more closure and CSR into the curriculum

Following a series of high-profile tailings dam failures, the waste management and closure practices of the mining industry are under increasing scrutiny. Canadian universities for their part are questioning how they should adapt their curriculum to better prepare the next generation of miners to work in this new reality.

Leading mining educators in Canada have mixed feelings about shaking up the curriculum to incorporate more mine closure-focused coursework.
“We cannot [spend] the time on courses related to these fields without having an impact on other fields,” said Bruno Bussière, a professor at the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) and the scientific director of RIME UQAT-Polytechnique (Research Institute for Mines and the Environment).

“We have very dense programs with a lot of courses,” he said, adding that incorporating new course requirements would mean removing something else from the curriculum.

Most programs in Canada, he said, have two to three courses on environmental issues such as mine site reclamation and mine waste management in their programs. “Is this enough? Should this be redefined? It’s a good question,” he said.

Hani Mitri, a professor and director of mining engineering at McGill University underlined that there are limits to what can be added in the space of a bachelor’s degree in engineering. “There is a strong desire amongst academic staff to incorporate more non-technical, yet relevant aspects of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and Indigenous relations into the mining curriculum,” he said, using CSR to include mine closure, waste management and other related topics.

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