Mining 101: Unearthing One of Canada’s Most Valuable Industries


Mining is one of Canada’s oldest industries – in fact, Canada’s mining industry existed well before Canada became a country, some 40,000 years ago!

It’s Mining Week on TalentEgg, and we’ve decided to offer you a glimpse into this fascinating Canadian industry!

Mining: What is it good for?

Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals, metals and other geological from the earth. Most Canadians have a basic idea of what mining is – but most of us do not comprehend the impact these resources have in our everyday lives.

Types of Mining

Mining can be broken down into two main categories: surface mining and underground mining.

Surface Mining

Surface mining involves removing soil and rock (also known as overburden) that lays on top of the targeted mineral deposit.

The practice of surface mining began in the 1500s – although this method is used around the world, most of the surface mining industry happens in North America. It is now the preferred method of mining coal.

Underground Mining

Underground mining is the opposite of surface mining – instead of removing the overburden that lays on top of the mineral deposit, the overburden is left untouched. Instead, workers dig beneath the surface, and extract the mineral deposit through a series of shaft and tunnels.

There are two types of mineral deposits that can be extracted through underground mining: Soft rock deposits are materials that have formed from sedimentary (or soft) rocks, such as oil, shale, or coal. Hard rock deposits refer to hard minerals (such as gold or copper) and gems (such as sapphires and diamonds). Since the targeted materials in underground mining are so diverse, there are different techniques used to extract soft and hard mining deposits.

Working in Canada’s mining industry

Regulated occupations

Many jobs in Canada’s mining industry are considered regulated occupations, including electricians, engineers, geoscientists and land surveyors. If you are interested in pursuing careers in these fields, it means that you must have a Canadian licence or certificate.

Typically, the requirements for these regulated professions are set by the provincial government. For those trained in a regulated occupation, The Working in Canada tool can help you find out whether your specific career choice is regulated, the provincial regulatory requirements, and correct regulatory body to contact.

Non-regulated occupations

Non-regulated career offerings in mining can vary considerably depending on the type of mining operation, the location of the operation and the employer. In 2011, the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR) launched the Canadian Mining Certification Program (CMCP) – a national program to certify the skills of workers in non-regulated occupations in the mining industry such as underground miner, surface miner or diamond driller.

The CMCP provides employees with a professional credential that is recognized throughout Canada’s mining industry. It offers an opportunity for employees to prove their skills and experience – it’s also a meaningful measure to improve employment options throughout Canada.

This certification requires employees to complete a certain number of on-the-job hours, and successfully demonstrate competencies as outlined in the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for each specific position.

Just getting started? Check out TalentEgg’s Mining Guide for top career advice!