Engineering & Mining Journal

DEC 2018

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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www.e-mj.com E&MJ • DECEMBER 2018 87 MINING IN ONTARIO Mineral exploration expenditures in Ontario are forecast to be C$593 million in 2018 – a projected increase of 13% from 2017, and an indication that Ontario's mining indus- try is at the beginning of an upward curve. However, the necessity to fully embrace new technologies instead of passively awaiting them, and the challenge of attracting and re- taining the requisite talent to support an in- dustry on the rise, will have to be addressed. Recruitment: the scramble for talent and push for diversity Even during the downturn, from the end of the 'super cycle' in 2012 until early 2017, there were over 1,000 unfilled jobs in Canadian mining operations as the sector struggled to attract quality talent regardless of the com- modity cycle, according to Chris Stafford, president of executive search company C.J. Stafford & Associates. Stafford has been re- cruiting for the mining industry since 1981, and warned that the mining sector recovery, in the wake of retiring baby boomers, will pose a new set of challenges: "Mining Industry Hu- man Resources Council (MiHR) predicts that over the next 10 years, 88,000 new workers will be needed to make up for 50,000 retire- ment exits, alongside other shortages." Stafford went on to note that the MiHR prediction was merely the baseline estimate, and considering current industry trends and forecasts, in an expansionary economic sce- Innovation in a traditional industry: how Ontario can lead the way Doug Morrison, CEO of CEMI, Centre for Ex- cellence in Mining Innovation and UDMN, Ultra-Deep Mining Network, believes that, for the industry to fulfill its potential, it must first change its approach: "The most valu- able asset that we have is time and the min- ing industry squanders a great deal of it." he stated. "It is essential that we adopt a systems approach to innovation if we are to make the transition from batch processes to continuous processes." Vic Pakalnis, the CEO of MIRARCO play- ing an integral role in the cross-sector pollina- tion between the nuclear energy and mining industries, expressed a mood of renewed opti- mism: "The last five years in the industry were the worst I have ever witnessed in my 40-year career, but the times are finally turning. The sector is adopting sophisticated new tech- nologies from alternate verticals to increase safety, productivity, and sustainability." Ontario has nurtured a vibrant ecosys- tem of innovation spearheading change. The wheels are in motion as the industry moves towards a more efficient, modern mining cul- ture that breeds greater safety and produc- tivity. As the march towards digitalized and autonomous mining gathers pace, Ontario has positioned itself at the forefront of min- ing innovation. Conclusion: navigating the impending upturn The preeminent tier-one jurisdiction positions itself for success nario, that figure could rise to 130,000: "The shortage is real and will continue to plague the industry unless it broadens its scope for hiring," he said, suggesting that mining com- panies should embrace diversity, and spend more time with schools garnering the interest of students early in their education, as Comin- co had previously practiced to great effect. The Canadian Institute of Mining's (CIM) initiative, Mining 4 Society (M4S), was put in place to enhance awareness of mining and increase mineral literacy. CIM president elect, Roy Slack, emphasized the importance of nurturing a better public understanding of the sector: "Mining is essential for the qual- ity of life we have today and our industry has made advances in terms of safety, environ- mental stewardship and working with Indig- enous peoples." Cambrian College's Mining Engineering Technology (MNTY) program is grooming the next generation of miners. INCO and Falcon- bridge were founding partners of Cambrian College 50 years ago, and the institution continues to work closely with mining in- dustry partners, particularly through its ap- plied research division, Cambrian Innovates. Shawn Poland, vice president of Cambrian College, explained how SMEs can benefit from Cambrian's R&D resources: "The com- panies working with us will still hold their IP, and look to us for real-world, real-time solutions for the challenges they are facing."

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