Canada Makes a Significant Investment in Geoscience – by Paul Stothart

 Paul Stothart is vice president, economic affairs of the Mining Association of Canada. He is responsible for advancing the industry’s interests regarding federal tax, trade, investment, transport and energy issues.

During the past five years of strong growth in mineral prices, the mineral exploration community in Canada has been facing an increasingly difficult challenge — namely, how to find resources in promising northern regions where underlying mineral data is either weak or non-existent.

The federal government has been under-investing in its geological mapping responsibilities for some 20 years, with annual spending declining from $98 million in 1988 to $50 million in 2007. This decline has been equally dramatic at the provincial and territorial government levels. One interesting consequence of this neglect is that some 73 per cent of Nunavut, for example, is unmapped or poorly mapped and, at present investment levels, the first full mapping of the territory would not be finished for 80 years.

Given such a weak foundation of data, private companies are less able to undertake effective exploration programs. While exploring for minerals is, to some extent, akin to “searching for a needle in a haystack,” it is the public policy investment in basic geological survey work that allows those accessing the data to at least find where the haystacks are. In view of the high level of interest in diamonds, uranium, base metals and other northern resources, one must question the public good served by this pattern.

Questions of national sovereignty in the North are also raised by this under-investment.

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Institute of Northern Ontario Research and Development (INORD)

The Institute of Northern Ontario Research and Development (INORD) was established in 1986 by Laurentian University to promote research in the social sciences and related disciplines on a broad range of issues facing Northern Ontario. It has become a “think-tank” for Northern Ontario issues. The Institute has three main activities: 1. INORD Facilitates independent academic research …

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Four Laurentian University Groups Create Mining Research Expertise in Sudbury – by Janet Gibson

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of permission to post Janet Gibson’s article.


Four groups have joined forces to form a world-class mining research centre on the fourth floor of the Willet Green Miller Centre at Laurentian University.

Late last month, staff from CEMI, MASHA, CAMIRO and MIRARCO explained their acronyms and described their projects to more than 100 invited guests from the university, mining companies, city and provincial government.

“Our biggest challenge is to make this work for those who invest,” said the CEO of CEMI, Dr. Peter Kaiser, noting his organization has received $50 million in the last five years, half of which is being devoted to problems associated with deep mining.

Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI):

Some projects Kaiser and his staff are working on this year are mining footwall and offset deposits, reducing the risks of deep mining and restoring peatlands and uplands in the Hudson Bay lowlands.

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CEMI: The High Cost of Split Jurisdictions – By Michael Atkins

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of permission to post Michael Atkin’s column.

Michael Atkins

If you have even a passing interest in the politics of northern Ontario, and Sudbury in particular, you will take note of last week’s refusal by FedNor to support the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) at Laurentian University and weep.

The message came from a PR flake in Toronto or Ottawa (it doesn’t really matter where) who was kind enough to point out that it “would not serve to maximize FedNor’s priorities of promoting growth, economic diversification, job creating and sustainable, self-reliant communities in northern Ontario.

Of course, and the tooth fairy henceforth is declining visits to our children on the grounds it no longer fits her mandate.

You will note this piffle did not come from the Sudbury office. It didn’t come from the Sudbury office because the Sudbury office was involved in helping to imagine this project from the beginning and has supported it strongly.

In fact this decision has nothing to do with the merits of the project, pro or con.

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Sudbury Can Become a Global Centre for Mining Education – Stan Sudol

Stan Sudol - Executive Speech Writer and Mining ColumnistIn 2008, for the first time in human history, more than half of the global population will be living in cities. The planet is undergoing the largest wave of urban growth ever, spearheaded by the massive migration of Chinese farmers to their cities.

Access to mineral commodities is critical if this trend of urbanization and industrialization in China, India and much of the rest of the lesser developed nations are to continue. This is no ordinary boom-bust cycle. We have entered a “once-in-a-generation,” long-term commodity boom that will ensure that Sudbury remains prosperous for decades to come.

However, an explosive demand for skilled mining geologists and engineers to find and develop the future mineral deposits as well as keep the present ones running will be one of the most significant global challenges the mining industry faces. Especially since a large number of the current generation are close to retirement.

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Sudbury’s Cambrian College Closes Desperately Needed Geology Programs – John Filo

I am a Mineral Exploration Geophysicist and very disappointed with Cambrian College’s decision to suspend the Geological Engineering Technology program.

The mining industry is booming. There will be a shortfall of 92,000 workers in Canada alone, during the next decade as industry expands and wages significantly increase. Australia, Chile, Brazil and all other mineral producing countries are also facing the same labour shortages as us.

Cambrian has had an ample number of years to pursue an aggressive Geology marketing program when it felt it had to suspend the Geological Engineering Technician Program a few years ago.

One need not be a rocket scientist to realize that these symptoms should have provided notice to senior management that the publicizing of a unique program in Ontario had been inadequate.

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High-School Mining Education in Sudbury – Sofia Gallagher

Students from Rainbow District School Board at a Vale Inco facility in Sudbury - Photo SuppliedImagine yourself in Grade 12 again. What do you remember? Did part of your schooling include visiting an underground mine and witnessing the various career opportunities available there? Do you remember receiving certification awareness training at a local employer, alongside other workers in the plant? Upon graduation, were you able to say that you had the skills and knowledge to pursue your postsecondary destination of choice, had spent time shadowing the types of jobs you were interested in, and had acquired a number of certifications that made you more appealing to employers?

These opportunities are now being provided to our youth thanks to a new Ministry of Education initiative – the Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM). This program, launched in September 2006, is part of the Student Success Initiative, a province-wide strategy to expand learning opportunities for students and support success for all.

Students enrolled in a SHSM focus their learning on a specific economic sector while meeting the requirements for their secondary school diploma (OSSD).

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PDAC – Mining Matters: Educating the Next Generation about the Mineral Industry – Stan Sudol

Laura Clinton - Project Coordinator - PDAC Mining MattersAccording to a comprehensive study by the Mining Industry Training and Adjustment Council (MITAC), the Canadian mining industry needs to fill 81,000 high-paying, highly skilled new positions in the next 10 years. 

Considering that the industry has a terrible image problem among urban populations and a rapidly aging workforce, the issue of attracting the next generation of mine workers has become a significant problem or even a crisis to some.

One small solution is Mining Matters, the educational outreach initiative run by the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC).

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Educating the Next Generation for the Mining Sector – Sylvia Barnard (Part 2)

Onaping Mine ClassroomThe Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR), is undertaking a National Occupational Standards Project which will provide detailed essential skills profiles, core competencies and occupational standards for workers in underground mining, surface mining, and minerals processing.  

The Mining Companies and its stakeholders are moving forward together at unprecedented levels of collaboration in order to address the skilled workforce shortages.  In 2008 we will see national standards start to emerge.  Greater marketing and branding activities for mining as a high tech, dynamic industry will be launched.

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Educating the Next Generation for the Mining Sector – Sylvia Barnard (Part 1)

Cambrian Geology Students in the FieldThe Canadian mining industry is growing, mainly due to the expansion of the global economy.  This global expansion, however, is placing increased pressure on mining companies to recruit workers from around the world.  

The 2005 report of the Mining Industry Training and Adjustment Council (MITAC) identified the need for over 80,000 workers in the mining industry over the next 20 years.  That number has now risen to 92,000.

The industry doesn’t operate in a human resources vacuum.  Foreign mining companies are aggressively recruiting Canadian workers at a much greater rate than the global recruitment activity of Canadian companies. And in addition there are skills shortages throughout Canada not just in mining, but also in petroleum, electricity, construction, etc.

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Cambrian College President Sylvia Barnard – An Introduction

Sylvia Barnard - President Cambrian CollegeSylvia Barnard is President of Cambrian College which is located in Sudbury, Canada. The college has an enrolment of over 4,400 full-time students and approximately 8,000 part-time personal, professional and human resources development courses and seminars.

Cambrian College offers Mining, Geology, and Civil Engineering diploma programs as well as apprenticeship and skilled trades training, graduating over 1,000 students annually for entry into the mining industry. Cambrian College has also been providing research for the mining industry for about 40 years. There is a very close, cohesive relationship between this institution and the local mining sector.

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