NET NITS – Labour shortage, prospecting

"It is a pity that your survey (81,000 mining jobs go begging, Aug. 24) did not include the hundreds of mining...
"It is a pity that your survey (81,000 mining jobs go begging, Aug. 24) did not include the hundreds of mining professionals in Canada who are unemployed or working overseas," wrote Peter Broad of London, Ont. "Canadian mines have more people than they need, but still seek $10/hour engineers! By 2020 the Greens [environmental activists] may have shut down Canadian mines totally. Canadian universities produce fewer engineers than Asia. We are No.18 in the world for per capita engineering graduates, better than the U.S. but far from ideal. But then we also need people willing to hire engineers, especially to clean up the brownfield sites left by closures."

Mr. Broad knows whereof he speaks. He recently moved south from Northern Ontario where he was unable to find a new job after his previous employer went bankrupt. He now offers contract services on environmental risk reduction at operating mines and cleanup of abandoned sites. Contact him at 519-451-3512 or

Last week's item about prospecting the hard way brought these comments from Daniel V. Ziehlke, president of the Manitoba-Saskatchewan Prospectors and Developers Association:

"I agree ore deposits are getting harder to find, but I believe we must look closer (not farther) and at higher grades (not lower). Modern prospectors must look closer at older, past-producing areas using new, modern techniques, such as geochemistry. The Old Timers never found everything, just like every time geologists remap a property, they learn more.

"The higher costs for fuel, etc., may make higher grade gold and base metal deposits more profitable soon. Mine ounces not tonnes. Those big copper-gold-porphyry type trucks really suck fuel.

"We are indeed having more permitting and special interest groups, such as Richard Desjardins represents, to pacify to put a deposit into production. Maybe it is time for mining to divorce itself from forestry and hydro development, both of which still do devastate large areas of Boreal forest. We the mining industry need to get the message out that mining will never again create messes like Kam Kotia or Lynn Lake. Environmentally friendly closure plans and posted up-front bonds make mine planning a total profitable package today, or the mine doesn't happen."


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