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Mining Day connects students with industry veterans

By: Jonathan Migneault - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Feb 13, 2014 - 4:02 PM |
Robert Barclay, provincial co-ordinator for the Ontario Ministry of Labour's mining health and safety program, said he hopes mining students understand the importance of health and safety in the sector. Photo by Jonathan Migneault.

Robert Barclay, provincial co-ordinator for the Ontario Ministry of Labour's mining health and safety program, said he hopes mining students understand the importance of health and safety in the sector. Photo by Jonathan Migneault.

Around 250 students from Sudbury's three post-secondary institutions attended the event

Robert Barclay jumped at the chance to share his passion for health and safety in the mining sector with a number of college and university students in Sudbury.

Barclay is the provincial co-ordinator for the Ontario Ministry of Labour's mining health and safety program.

His first job, working for a mining company in the Northwest Territories, instilled his passion for safety.

“We had three fatalities over the five years I was working there,” Barclay told Northern Life. “I knew two of the people personally, and that really resonated with me.”

Barclay was the first keynote speaker at Cambrian College's Mining Day 2014 event.

He informed around 250 mining students from Cambrian, Laurentian University and Collège Boréal about the inherent dangers in their chosen field, and Ontario's regulatory framework to promote health and safety in the sector.

Mining Day started in 2011 as a small session at Cambrian's library, where students got to meet with industry professionals, ask them questions and network before they entered the industry.

“The response was overwhelming in favour of doing it again,” said Kate Bruce, the college's program co-ordinator for mining. “Contact with industry is always valuable. We can never get enough of it.”

Sudbury's three post-secondary institutions now take turns hosting the event each year.

In addition to Barclay, Mining Day 2014 featured seven keynote speakers, and a panel discussion on international opportunities in the mining industry.

The speakers included Rob Assabgui, Vale Canada's general manager of mining and milling, who gave an overview of the company's Sudbury operations, and Alistair Ross, vice-president of the Technica Group of Companies, who discussed the entrepreneurial approach needed to start a mining company in a developing country.

Marco Theriault, a second-year student in Collège Boréal's mining construction engineering technician program, said the Mining Day event was a great opportunity to learn new things about the industry.
Theriault was previously a community worker, and decided to change careers after years in that field. “It was a total 180-degree switch from community worker to engineer,” he said. “It's like learning a whole new language at the age of 50.”

Dominique Pinard, a second-year student in Cambrian's mining engineering technician program, said her favourite part of the event was the networking session at the end of the day. “What it offers the students is a day full of information from guest speakers,” she said.
Jonathan Migneault

Jonathan Migneault

Staff Writer

@jmigneault

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