Depending on your interests, education and training, there are more than 120 different occupations within Canada’s mining industry.
With new mineral deposits being discovered in Canada all the time, the potential for meaningful employment and high pay for students and recent graduates in the mining industry is looking great!
This dynamic and constantly evolving field needs young, educated workers who can achieve the goals set out by the mine, the division and the corporation as well as those set in regards to safety, efficiency and profitability.
“Yes, you require those pillars of engineering and science, but you can’t get at the resources without the foundational people who are opening doors and making sure they stay open.” —Sean Junor, Manager of Workplace Planning, Cameco
With the help of the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR), we’ve compiled some information about just a few of the interesting jobs you might find in the mining industry right now.
Business, communications, sustainability, law and arts graduates
Although engineers and geologists are crucial to the industry, if they can’t access land and resources, or if they don’t have the support of the communities nearby, they can’t do their jobs. That’s where people with backgrounds in business, communications, sustainability and regulatory issues come in.
Sean Junor, Manager of Workplace Planning at Cameco, one of the world’s largest uranium producers, says there are many different kinds of career opportunities within the mining industry for young people outside of science and technology.
“Say you’re sitting in a business class or you’re wondering what to do with a communications program, there are a whole bunch of different usages for credentials within the industry. Say you do your communications degree from Ryerson, or a business degree from Trent, you’d probably think, ‘I couldn’t work in that industry because I’m not a miner, or I’m not an engineer,’ but there is a whole element of support [in the mining industry].”
Grads with these backgrounds are sorely needed because “as the industry expands and as land gets more and more scarce, you get into negotiations for more and more of it, and you need people with those backgrounds to do it,” says Junor.
“So yes, you require those pillars of engineering and science, but you can’t get at the resources without the foundational people who are opening doors and making sure they stay open.”
Community Liaison Officer
Community Liaison Officers (CLOs) work with mining companies as links to the local communities. Specific to the mining industry, CLOs work with Indigenous communities and sometimes with environmental agencies.
This includes representing the community’s best interests, promoting events and services within the community, being an advocate for community members, and building relationships between industry and community groups.
Since many mines are located in northern locations, they are usually found in close proximity to Indigenous communities. As a result, CLOs (sometimes called Aboriginal Liaison Officers (ALOs) or Community Affairs Managers) work to bridge gaps between mining companies and Indigenous communities to create a common understanding between the two groups.
CLOs can come from a wide variety of educational backgrounds, including:
- Indigenous studies
- Social work
Engineers with training in a variety of specializations can find their place in mining. Engineers in training must possess a bachelor of engineering degree and will eventually require their professional engineering (or P.Eng.) designation in order to have a stamp and hold responsibility for major decisions in the field.
“The young engineer’s exposure is rarely limited to one specific area and there is a lot of opportunity to see different disciplines in action at any given time.” —Mark Ashcroft, President and CEO, Stonegate Agricom
The day-to-day work of engineers in mining changes often. Mark Ashcroft, a professional engineer who is also the President and CEO of Stonegate Agricom, says, “The mining industry is a wonderful mix of professions. The young engineer’s exposure is rarely limited to one specific area and there is a lot of opportunity to see different disciplines in action at any given time.”
“Due to the ‘extractive’ nature of mining, a mine is a dynamic environment that changes every day. Nothing is ever exactly the same,” Ashcroft says.
“A young mechanical engineer could find himself in the pit or underground shop looking at maintenance issues on production vehicles. A mining engineer could find herself collaborating with an electrical engineer and a telecommunications vendor as they discuss the management of wireless technologies and mining fleet dispatch software.”
Geologists and Geological Technicians
Geologists play a key role in many different aspects of the mining industry, from surveying locations for mineral and metal deposits, to the discovery, exploration, evaluation and production cycle of mining. Their knowledge of geographical imaging (GIS) and other surveying systems is also valued.
Careers in exploration geology also offer opportunities to travel the world.
Geological Technicians supplement the work of geologists by collecting, preparing and analyzing samples.
This career path requires knowledge of chemistry, biology, environmental science, geology, computers and mathematics, but geological technicians can possess degrees in engineering technology, geology or computer science.
Mineral Processing Technicians and Engineers
Mineral Processing Technicians process the ore extracted by mining crews and prepare it for shipping. Mineral processing technicians usually possess degrees or diplomas in metallurgy, chemical engineering, mineral processing or metallurgical technology.
Mineral Processing Engineers extract and refine raw minerals from ore using a variety of technologies and processes. They also find ways to reuse waste materials to leave less environmental damage on the mine site.
Mining Surveyors revise and arrange mines, developing the direction and extent of underground operations as well as surveying techniques. In order to become a mine Surveyor, a mine technician/technologist diploma is usually required.
From there, they become a junior apprentice Surveyor for the first one to two years of employment. They can eventually progress to an apprentice surveyor and then a surveyor as opportunities and training allow.
For more information about starting your career in the mining industry, check out www.acareerinmining.ca.