Course provides educators with a first-hand look at modern mining

Posted on Wednesday August 06, 2014

Twenty three educators from across Ontario and Quebec gained an up-close and personal look at all facets of mining from geology and exploration through to production and mine site reclamation on the first 2014 Teachers’ Mining Tour.  Secondary and elementary school science and social studies teachers completed the course, which was based at the Canadian Ecology Centre near Mattawa, from July 28 to August 1, 2014.

This is the fifth year for this teach-the-teachers program and the second year for holding two camps to support the demand.  Approximately, 24 educators will be in the second 2014 camp, which is being held from August 18 to 22.  Those teachers are scheduled to visit mining sites in the Timmins area. 

“The group of teachers who were at the CEC last week were an extremely dedicated collection of educators who willingly gave up a portion of their summer holidays to learn more and explore in person the importance of mining,” said Lesley Hymers, Ontario Mining Association Environment and Education Specialist. “They asked good questions and were fully engaged in all aspects of the program. They were a great group.”

Teachers were kept extremely busy throughout the course.  The content includes a combination of classroom time, presentations and specially arranged site visits to mines, environmental projects and equipment manufacturers. 

Included in this group’s itinerary were visits to Atlas Copco’s manufacturing facility in North Bay, Glencore’s Nickel Rim South Mine and Smelter in Sudbury and Vale’s Copper Cliff Complex, including environmental operations.  For many of the teachers the opportunity to see an underground nickel mining operation first-hand was a highlight of the week.

“A major contributor to the success of these educational tours is the support of OMA member companies,” said OMA President Chris Hodgson.  “These companies not only make their high-tech facilities available to the teachers but they provide the expertise of their miners, technicians, geologists and other professionals, which shows educators the broad range of career opportunities mining offers.”

Sponsors of the Teacher’s Mining Tour include the OMA and several of its member companies, the Canadian Institute of Mining’s Underground Mining Society, CIM Sudbury Branch, CIM North Bay (Gateway) Branch and Ed Geo, an organization of the Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences that supports workshops for teachers.

The CEC, which is located in Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park, is an environmental education institution delivering high school credits and school programs for students and teachers. The OMA is pleased to play a role in this important program and has been involved in it since it started.  The OMA believes this program helps teachers and students gain a greater understanding and appreciation of mining and its role as a responsible partner in society.