Mining Day looks to attract talent; create jobs

·3 min read

The first ever Mining Day was held virtually at legislature last week.

On Monday, March 15, senior mining representatives met with B.C. government leaders to discuss the industry and how to create employment opportunities while the economy recovers from the downturn sparked by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“With high commodity prices for minerals and metals, now is the time to seize the opportunity to grow B.C.’s mining sector and create good jobs to support communities across the province,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation in a recent press release. “Mining has always been a key industry in B.C. We’re working in partnership with industry, labour and First Nations to ensure the sector remains strong as we transition to a low-carbon economy.

“We have taken steps to strengthen health, safety and environmental compliance, to improve permitting and to advance reconciliation, distinguishing us as leaders in the growing global environmental, social and governance investment movement.”

According to the Government of B.C., there are currently 30,000 people employed in the mining industry and a strong desire to create more jobs throughout the province when daily life normalizes in spite of the Novel Coronavirus.

“Mining is critical to our economic recovery. New mines and mine extensions will deliver thousands of new jobs, more revenue for public services and advance economic reconciliation with Indigenous Nations,” said Michael Goehring, president and CEO, Mining Association of B.C., in a recent press release. “B.C. has some of the lowest greenhouse gas emission-intensive mines and smelters in the world, providing the minerals and metals the world needs for a low carbon future.”

In an effort to prepare prospective labourers for the field, which is constantly growing in technology, the province has recently created and publicly released The Mining Innovation Roadmap to communicate how to proceed in an innovative approach to attract investment from environmental, social governance and technology sectors.

“The International Union of Operating Engineers – Local 115 believes it is essential that all of our members working in British Columbia’s mining industry are best prepared for the path forward, while fully recognizing the importance of keeping up to date with the ever-changing world of mining,” said Rob Foskett, business representative, International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 115 in a recent press release. “We have been proud to have participated in the creation of this roadmap for our province.”

The roadmap was designed to focus on the B.C. Mining Innovation Hub and the focus on networking to create a collaborative culture.

In addition, government officials are optimistic about leveraging B.C.’s ESG, building the workforce of mines and improving existing regulatory rules to expand the potential usage of technology.

The B.C. Mining Innovation Hub was mandated by the ministry and hopes to train workers in new technologies, regulatory excellence, environmental management and low-carbon approaches.

“Building on B.C.’s Mining Jobs Task Force, the Mining Innovation Roadmap provides comprehensive recommendations to achieve a sustainable and thriving mining sector in B.C.,” said Alan Winter, former B.C. innovation commissioner in a recent press release. “This requires a modern regulatory framework, investment in innovation by all stakeholders, a talented workforce and value for Indigenous and local communities. With over 280 participants in the roadmap process, the recommendations give an excellent context for the B.C. Mining Innovation Hub and the ability to attract investment into the B.C. mining sector nationally and internationally. The roadmap examines the whole life cycle of mining from exploration to reclamation and focuses on innovation to achieve smart mining with exportable higher-value products and services, such that B.C. can be an integral part of supply chains worldwide.”

To learn more about the Mining Innovation Roadmap, visit: www.mining.bc.ca/innovation

Breanne Massey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Columbia Valley Pioneer