How To Prospect And Prepare For Careers In mining

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If you’re searching for jobs, the mining industry has them. Lots of them.

The mining labor market faces recruitment challenges, as the industry projects the need to hire roughly 80,000 workers between 2020 and 2030. MiHR expects most job openings in the mining industry over the next 10 years to be in production occupations, yet there may be enough entrants to fill hiring requirements. However, hiring gaps are forecasted for supervisors, coordinators, superintendents, and support workers.

It’s not just about getting a job, though. There is a real push from within the mining industry to train and mentor new grads before current workers retire and take their decades of knowledge and experience with them.

“Most of the industry is preparing for or in the process of retiring, which means that there are opportunities for young people to advance more quickly than ever before.” —William Meyer, Director, Marketing and Communications, Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR)

This means that young, educated workers entering the mining industry are in a very strong position.

Recent graduates are also in a unique position to be among the first to use the innovative technology that has become an integral part of the mining industry in recent years.
“Young people might not realize how exciting a career in mining can be,” says Meyer. “We often conjure a certain image of an individual working underground; however, that is not necessarily the reality of mining careers today.”

Innovative and automation technology are changing the work environment in mining. This technology also means that mining careers are safer and more sustainable than ever before.

The Top 3 ways to prepare for a mining career

Figure out which commodity and region you want to work in

Mining is a national industry, with operations in nearly every part of the country, including the North. However, each region and its commodities can vary in terms of the work environment and career opportunities available. Learn more about occupations in the mining industry.

Canada has historically been a world leader in the production of potash (salts containing potassium that are most commonly used in fertilizers) and uranium, and near the top in nickel production. There are many other commodities to choose from, however, including coal, gold, iron ore, and copper, which occupy the top five minerals by the value of production along with potash, according to the Mining Association of Canada. Diamonds, sand and gravel, and cement are also among the top 10 minerals produced in Canada.

Ask yourself: Which commodity appeals most to you? Which processes are used to produce that mineral and how might that impact your work?

Visit MiHR.ca to learn more about careers in Canada’s mining industry.

Get involved in the industry

As a college or university student, there are plenty of ways to get involved and learn about the mining industry first-hand. Joining organizations like the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC),  the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum’s (CIM) student chapters, Women In Mining (WIM) Canada is one way to get connected.

CIM and constituent organization The Metallurgy and Materials Society (MetSoc) currently have student chapters at universities across Canada, including Queen’s, University of Saskatchewan, McGill, UBC, Laurentian, Memorial University, Université Laval, and University of Windsor.

Student memberships to many of these associations are often affordable or free, and they offer opportunities for networking, field trips, learning and professional development, volunteering and more.

Network with mining industry professionals in person and online

Perhaps even more important is interfacing with people through, by going to events, or through social media.

A good starting point would be to visit MiHR’s website that has a host of information about career options in mining, as well as their Twitter and LinkedInpages. Other groups such as PDAC and CIM offer virtual and in-person networking opportunities.

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About the author

Cassandra Jowett is TalentEgg's Content Manager. She joined the team as a student intern in the summer of 2008, and since then her heart has never really left the Egg Carton. Cassandra is a recent graduate of the Ryerson University School of Journalism, where she earned a Bachelor of Journalism with a focus in writing and editing for newspapers. She has also written and edited for The Globe and Mail, The National Post, t.o.night newspaper and other publications.