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Skills & Knowledge

Animated film teaches teens about mining

September 1, 2007
by Heidi Ulrichsen
In: Skills & Knowledge with 0 Comments

The Ontario Mining Association (OMA) has produced a short animated film designed to get teenagers thinking about careers in the mining industry.

NickelQuest stars Nick, a strange penguin-like creature sent to find out what “sporks”  – a cross between a spoon and a fork – are made of.

He goes to the nickel mines in Sudbury, where he meets a miner named Nicole. She leads him on a tour of a mine. Nick learns sporks are made of stainless steel, a material containing nickel.

“We didn’t want to do something dry. You’ve got to recognize the audience that it’s appealing to. It’s not directed to mining engineers, it’s directed to 12 to 14-year-olds,” said Peter McBride, the OMA’s manager of communications.

“It’s the old theory of the quest, where somebody goes on an expedition and has encounters and seeks enlightenment.”

NickelQuest was launched in June at Dynamic Earth in Sudbury. About 80 Grade 8 students from two Sudbury schools attended the screening. McBride said the students seemed to enjoy the film.

“The feedback we got from the students was really good. I knew we were on the right track when I heard them laughing. They were engaged with the video and found it entertaining right from the start.”

One message the film tries to convey is that there are many types of jobs available in the mining industry.

NickelQuest also emphasizes that modern mining is safe and environmentally responsible, and that thousands of products are made from the metals produced from mining.

The film is being distributed to schools across Ontario by the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, which already creates and distributes industry-related curriculum through its Mining Matters program.

It is also available for public viewing on the OMA and Nickel Institute websites.

Skills Canada, an organization that promotes careers in the skilled trades and technologies to Canadian youth, will screen the film during presentations to school groups.

The script was written by a panel of mining experts and educators. They made the film appealing to kids while still maintaining technical accuracy.

The animation was done by eSolutions Group, based in Waterloo in southwestern Ontario.

McBride said it was only natural that Sudbury was singled out as the mining community featured in the film.

“It was an easy choice because, value-wise, nickel is the most important metal that’s mined in this province,” he said.


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