Jeff Lafortune

Civil and Mining Technology Diploma


Collège Boréal

Why a career in mining?

I graduated from the Civil and Mining Technology program at Collège Boréal in 1996. That summer, I received a phone call from my father, who was a Construction Miner at the time, telling me there was an opening at the mine. I packed my bags, bought a bus ticket, and headed to Wawa Ontario. I didn’t know what the job would be, however I was just happy to get my foot in the door at the mine.


After working for 7 years with River Gold Mines Ltd, I was responsible for surveying, ventilation and environmental sampling. My experience as a Mine Technologist provided me with the opportunity of being hired within the Mines Technical Service team at Vale and more specifically at both Creighton Mine and Copper Cliff Mines. Working for this company allowed me to grow, learn, and prove myself. I would not be where I am now without the mentorship that I received from some great people at these mines.


During this time, I recall training many mining students, and it was then that I realized that I was developing a passion to teach AutoCAD, underground surveying, and mine ventilation. At the time, my College Professor was retiring, and I decided to leave the mines and become a full time College Professor, for the same program that I graduated from. My experiences and challenges have given me the tools that I need to prepare the Technologists of tomorrow.

Why do I love my job?

I love my job because it allows me to place students in situations that I have been in and give them the tools they need to complete the task or job. I can answer, the what, where, when, why and how of many situations because I have lived them. I can also boast about the successes and I can share the challenges and lessons learnt. I have the unique opportunity to demonstrate, coach, and evaluate students with the use of tools and equipment used in the technical field.  I can also speak to the underground environment as well controls used in the workplace to minimize safety risks. Partnerships with Dynamic Earth, Vale and Glencore (to name a few) allow me to tour, teach, stay connected, and bridge the gap between academics and industry. These partnerships also provide a valuable opportunity for a work placement or a full-time job for some of our graduates. What an awesome feeling it is to help an Alumni land his or her first job!

Benefits to a career in mining:

I have always said that if you like a challenge, an adventure then mining is for you! There are many benefits to a career in mining such being a part of a team, bringing your skill and knowledge to the table, and helping to realise a project from planning to execution bring a very rewarding sensation. As a young surveyor, I had failed to acknowledge the impact that my work had with the mining cycle. In retrospect, I realized that an error, however small it may be, could have severe consequences.


I am proud to be a part of the mining community and to assist wherever I can. I have been a part of the MMTS team, I organize Mining Day with Stantec, Cambrian College and Laurentian University. I am also amongst some great mining folks and represent CIM Sudbury.


People make a difference and therefore that is a great benefit and also why I love mining!