Careers in Mining

Nicole Tardif

Nicole Tardif

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Program Coordinator, Goodman School of Mines, Laurentian University
MMTS Director & Past Chair

I grew up in Elliot Lake, where my father worked as a hoist man in the Uranium mines. Like many kids, I did not know much about mining. The only careers that I knew about were miners and hoistmen. Miners are an essential part of the mining process and a very respectful and well-paying career, however, I wanted to get out of my hometown and attend university. I always loved being outdoors; my childhood was spent camping, fishing, swimming, walking in the bush, and playing outside. Therefore, I aimed for a career that allowed me to work in this environment: Geology. I did not know what geology was at first, but after taking a course in first year, I knew that I wanted to do this! I loved the opportunity to work outdoors all summer, fly in helicopters, travel, and make great money that could help me pay for school. Eventually, I developed a passion for mining education and I placed myself in a variety of different roles at the university and in our community to help students and professionals advance their knowledge of the modern mining industry, and to gain skills that they need to perform their best in their jobs.

Working at the university provides the right amount of work-life balance that allows me to spend quality time with my family and friends, while also having a professional life that keeps my creative mind working and brings me satisfaction for helping others. I have become passionate about promoting modern mining practices, careers and education, and feel that I am helping the mining industry by playing my part in ensuring that it has a sustainable future.

Even though some book and movie writers may have over predicted the advancement of common technology in 2020 (no personal flying cars, teleporting, or inter-planetary travel...yet), it is certain that the demand for minerals and metals needed to sustain the lifestyles that most of us enjoy today has dramatically increased over that last 100 years!  More than ever, the statement “what you can’t grow has to be mined” holds true. A career in mining is rewarding because you become part of a broader team of passionate people working together to perform their best so that the industry is safer, more environmentally friendly, high tech and sustainable. I gain personal satisfaction because our team at Laurentian works hard and is proud to produce an exceptional future mining industry workforce.

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Brianne Valdes

Brianne Valdes

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Mining Technical Support Lead
Deswik

Geology is a multifaceted subject that combined my love for all sciences, while also drawing on my strength as a creative thinker. A career as a geologist within the mining industry was also very appealing because I had the opportunity to not only work outside, but in other countries as well.

I have continued to work in the mining industry because one of the most rewarding aspects of this career is that it can be an occupation that can grow and change with you.  I have been fortunate to gain valuable experience in different roles within different parts of the industry, and ultimately find and establish a position that drives my passion and motivation.

As someone who works for a technology company, my job is to help deliver and support efficiency focused solutions to the mining industry across all sectors.  I love facing new challenges every day that require me to use quick critical thinking in order to provide great service to our clients' needs.  The mining industry is always evolving, so our solutions to problems have to evolve as well. My job allows me to stay curious and continually grow in the face of new challenges.  There is always something new to learn, and new problems to solve.

I am grateful to have found a place within the industry that has drawn upon my experience while allowing me to maximize my strengths and work to the best of my capabilities.

The mining industry has provided me with countless opportunities and experiences to engage with amazing people, become an active member of a meaningful community, develop cross functional skills and knowledge, and experience travel and adventure opportunities throughout the world.

I also love that our industry is very team-driven, and that we operate in a way that puts collective goals ahead of individual glory.  It is a very collaborative environment, and it is extremely motivating and rewarding to see how everyone within this industry can affect positive change. 

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Bora Ugurgel

Bora Ugurgel

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Investor Relations Manager
Frontier Lithium

Entrepreneurship runs in my family and so in 2009, I jumped at the opportunity to join Symboticware, an information-based technology company. I discovered what it means to be a start-up and how to bring a new product to the mining industry. This led me to an exciting 7 year journey in mining research, development, innovation, and commercialization work across Canada at the Center for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI). I had the opportunity to hone my skills and lead the Ultra-Deep Mining Network, which cemented my career in mining. These days, I am using my past experiences and knowledge and channelling them to help build the next generation Canadian mining company, Frontier Lithium.

1 - I love it because it allows me to draw upon various skills I’ve acquired in management, entrepreneurship, research and development, innovation, commercialization, and building private-public partnerships.

2 - It is an industry with a long history that still has the energy and innovation to satisfy and sustain the needs of today’s society. Mining is essential to our way of life.

3- Above all, mining is an industry that focuses on the absolute safety of its workforce. This kind of responsible safety culture really appeals to me. 

4- I get to play a part in bringing the next Canadian Lithium mine to production - it doesn’t get any cooler than that!

One of the perks of a career in mining is that you get to work with a diverse group of people from different ethnic backgrounds. Mining is international which is great for a guy like me who enjoys connecting with people from around the world. Depending on your specific job, mining can lead to spending plenty of time in the great outdoors and natural environment, thus keeping one grounded and connected to the “The Rock” on which we live on.

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Trang Tran-Valade

Trang Tran-Valade

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President
FORTAI

Put best by the Ontario Mining Association, “Mining is the backbone of the Ontario economy and keeps our society functioning with everyday essentials. The materials and products we deliver help us stay healthy, meet our basic life needs, remain safe and connected, and sustain northern economies. Mining helps us build a better world.” With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, mining is once again highlighted as an essential service. This industry is not only important to our economy, but it also transforms people’s lives and communities for the better.

I’ve been in this industry for over 15 years and still love going to work every day. Aside from being charged with interesting and challenging daily work, my job has taken me around the world and I am grateful for the diverse group of hard-working individuals that have crossed my path. I have learned so much from colleagues and peers within work, volunteer, and industry groups. More specifically, I work in a technology manufacturing company. The work we do exposes me to high tech innovations such as artificial intelligence, autonomous navigation, and battery electric vehicles. Collaborating with other like-minded and intelligent professionals to bring these exciting technologies to mining for the better is truly exhilarating!

There are many benefits to a career in mining including high compensation – mining is one of the highest paying jobs in the market; technological advances – new technologies and innovations are continually changing the industry and how tasks are completed. These advances help make jobs easier, safer, and more interesting; growth and training opportunities - the continued changes of this exciting industry create many opportunities for ongoing staff growth and development; and relocation opportunities – mining is done all over the world.

 

As a professional, you have plenty of opportunities to travel to different countries, work in a variety of environments, and excavate almost any natural resource.

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Puru Kumar

Puru Kumar

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Engineer in Training II, Technology and Innovation Department (Base Metal)
Vale

Since I was a kid, I have believed in doing something different. I always had a fascination for technology and when I saw my elder brother find his calling (mechanical engineering), I knew it was time for me to start discovering a field that best represents me, and hopefully is different (from mechanical engineering). I started to read more about the technological advancement happening all around us and it made me realize that everything around us is a form of natural resource that has been harnessed and transformed for our utility, and thus began my fascination for mining – the art of transforming a natural resource into anything useful.

This field was different, unique and provided me with a sense of belonging. So, I chose to pursue Mining Engineering. Through my courses, research opportunities, internships and work experience, I have been introduced to various facades of mining concepts, processes and innovations that have further reinforced my interest in the field. I could relate my life of growing up in India and then moving to Canada to pursue higher education and career in Canada, as a journey of an ore from the mine all the way to its utility.

I am currently working at Vale as an Engineer in Training II in their Technology and Innovation Department.

  • Learn and witness different mining concepts and processes
  • Be introduced and be a part of various technological advancements and innovations in the field of mining to make it safer, more reliable and sustainable
  • Work with mining professionals and teams to learn and develop as a mining engineer
  • Collaborate with other mining corporations to work towards a common goal
  • Contribute to the culture of safety, learning and innovation
  • Travel to different sites and being exposed to various mining operations and processes
  • Create a sense of belonging to the company and the profession
  • Develop both personally and professionally
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Jennifer Beaudry

Jennifer Beaudry

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Senior Scientist – Dynamic Earth
Science North

Growing up in Sudbury, my childhood and young adulthood was filled with stories from the mining sector as both my parents worked in the industry. The impact of the work that they, and the industry achieved globally was always highlighted. Little did I know that I would end up with a career linked to the mining sector as well, but in such a different realm! I loved all sciences, but the defining moment that brought me to pursue my area of specialty was over coffee with Dr. David Pearson at my alma mater, Laurentian University. His passion and vision for Geology and Environmental Earth Sciences ignited mine. That conversation sparked new ideas and grew my thirst for knowledge about the world around us and below our feet. I started my career in mining as a Risk Management Facilitator and Environmental Technician for inactive mine sites throughout Canada. Communicating effectively was a key part of these roles and was a perfect fit for my personality and skills. It was through these experiences that I saw how important it was to get these inspiring stories out to the everyday public, and to people of all ages. I discovered that at heart I was a science communicator!

I think that I have the best, and most fun, job in all of Sudbury! My role as Senior Scientist leading the development and operations at Dynamic Earth. I meet and interact with so many different people of all ages and from all over the world and get to inspire them to learn more about mining and earth sciences. I lead a team of young people who often start their first job at Dynamic Earth, and often choose a path in the mining sector inspired by their experiences at Dynamic Earth. I enjoy our collaboration with mining industry partners, with the goal of bringing to our visitors a better understanding of the new technology, innovation and advancements emerging in the sector. Together we then develop exhibits and experiences that highlight just how exciting mining and earth sciences really are. I love when I am able to see the spark of understanding in a visitor’s’ eye when I tell them “Everything that we use has either been grown or mined”. I’m proud to be a part of the team at Science North and Dynamic Earth who are building the next generation of STEM leaders who will pursue careers in the mining sector.

For me, the benefit of choosing a career tied to mining was the opportunity to take my passion for science communication and turn this into a creative endeavour that is focused on educating the public, especially about what modern mining really means. For others, the benefit may lie in travelling to different locations all over the world, while others enjoy the opportunity to be leaders, innovate and problem solve in the world of mining initiatives. One thing that I hope everyone will take note of, no matter your career type, is that the mining sector offers a huge variety of exciting opportunities!

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Jennifer Abols

Jennifer Abols

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Executive Director/President and CEO
Goodman School of Mines and MIRARCO – Laurentian University

I fell into Mining accidentally. I started off in Chemical Engineering, but at the time Laurentian University only offered a two-year program. I was enticed to switch over to Metallurgical engineering in my second year with the promise of a co-op placement. I never looked back. Metallurgy was the right fit for me – it was practical, hands on, challenging and fun and I was able to work at four different mines and gain valuable experience before I graduated. It also offered financial benefits – I was able to graduate with money in my pocket and a much higher starting salary than any of my non-mining friends.

I love mining because of the people I have met and worked with during my career. I have worked with lots of really interesting characters over my 24 years in the industry and heard some crazy stories. I even had a boss who had scurvy while working at an isolated gold camp in Australia – he ate nothing but beans on toast for three months. I am lucky to have had some inspiring mentors (who I still count as friends) and worked with some amazing young individuals and this has been the best part of my job. My favourite experiences in mining have involved working with young people and watching them grow and mature into confident professionals and leaders.

Mining offers such a diversity of career paths. You can be anything you want in mining and earn a high salary doing it. I have been very fortunate to work in every stage of the mining cycle – from project planning and development, environmental permitting and community relations, equipment selection and sales, project construction and commissioning, operations (including tailings and water management), closure and decommissioning. I have also been fortunate to study in Sudbury – the best place on earth to study and do research in Mining – and then work all over the world, including Canada, Australia, England, the US, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. With Mining you have choices that you would not have in other fields… and it is never boring.

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Gus Minor

Gus Minor

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Chief Innovation Officer
Sofvie Inc.

I came to mining as a way to expand on my skill-sets learn more on how to be a well rounded human while earning a good wage to support my family. The way that things are these days, create big silos of knowledge and experience. You do what you do and you do not have too many opportunities to try other things because there are only so many hours in a day. In mining, you have access to an unlimited amount of exposure to build a career and life. Coming from a technology background, I came to mining and learned how to work with heavy equipment, perform manual work, plan in different ways to be successful and truly engage in team work. All of this not only allowed me to branch in the areas I excelled in, but also have a global understanding of the big picture which translated to how I do things at home with my family

I love how many areas of expertise come together to learn how to thrive toward common goals. Safe, Quality, Production. We are all required and deserve to be home in one piece for our families, perform quality work to feel fulfilled and proud of what we can accomplish and produce for some-thing that is bigger than ourselves. Being able to be creative and innovative in the ways we take care of each other while overcoming very complex and challenging projects is very fulfilling.

Diversity and the ability to learn from so many different perspectives. The risk management mindset that transforms how you see your work and how you live. The overall impact you have on life by helping to produce the base metals required for the worldwide requirements. It is not only a hard core manual industry, but one that includes all walks of life and skills to create the realities of tomorrow.

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