By Fares Nasrallah, 2nd year mining engineering student, and interim president of the McGill CIM Student Chapter.
McGill students have taken a big step forward to tie-in with one of the Canadian mining industry’s top networking and professional development associations. On April 7, the McGill CIM Students’ Chapter was launched, as a special project of the Mining program’s 140th anniversary. The Chapter provides a venue to gather students interested in the extractive industry.
Over 70 people attended the launch event, including staff and students alike, coming from a variety of fields of study (including mining engineering, of course!) and demonstrating a high level of enthusiasm. The consensus: the event was a success.
Two guest speakers engaged the crowd. Jean Vavrek, executive director, Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) and Bryan Coates, vice president finance and CFO, Osisko Mining Corporation talked about the role and positive impact of mining in society, and also about the challenges mining must face.
Students’ feedback indicated Coates’ speech was inspiring. A key point was made about public outreach and awareness: a mine that is dug into an area must be accepted by the regional community, and such an acceptance can only come from an understanding of what the extractive industry is.
The mining and petroleum industries are not industries that merely rip open the ground, take what is valuable, and leave behind a gutted and desolate land. They are, instead, brilliantly facing today’s social, economical, and environmental challenges with proactive leadership. However, only awareness and understanding of the extractive industry will free it from negative bias.
This strong belief, shared by all executive members of the new student chapter, has become the guideline and main goal for this inaugural year of the chapter. We will target people that are not related to the mining industry—and even those that oppose it—and try to help them understand that there is more than just grade and recovery involved in mine planning today.
Over the summer semester, the chapter executive will focus on structuring the governance body with roles and responsibilities, and mapping out a program of ongoing activities, to engage other disciplines at McGill and create awareness. A mission, vision, and values—based on CIM’s blueprint—will guide the chapter.