More than one reason to celebrate
Modern Mining and Technology Week – formerly just Mining Week – is an annual opportunity for the people of Sudbury to recognize and celebrate the industry that was responsible for the founding of the city in the late 1800s and continues to power the region’s economy some 125 years later.
The weeklong schedule of events from April 27 to May 4 included several initiatives aimed at giving elementary and high school students in the city a better understanding of the opportunities the industry offers. With the retirement wave of baby boomers in the offing, the industry is counting on the next generation of engineers, geologists, miners and skilled tradespeople to rise to the challenge.
The competition for mindshare is fierce. Bombarded by popular culture, television and social media, our youth are only marginally aware of mining and the career opportunities the industry offers. Modern Mining and Technology Week is one way to get the message across that mining today is technologically advanced, environmentally responsible, challenging and absolutely indispensable.
The 27 Modern Mining Technology Week committee members who volunteer their time to pull off this weeklong celebration reflect the industry’s breadth and impact on Sudbury’s economy. Representatives of the city’s mining companies, suppliers, engineering consulting firms, research organizations, post secondary institutions and the media, they all share a passion for a city that has made its mark as a global centre of mining expertise.
This year’s Mining Week luncheon, which brought a close to the festivities, underlined the growing diversity of the mining industry, and reminded us of the fabulous wealth of the Sudbury Basin.
Samantha Espley, general manager of mines and mill technical services for Vale’s Ontario operations, was presented with Women in Mining Canada’s Trailblazer Award, which recognizes women who have taken personal career risks and helped to advance the careers of other women in the industry.
A mining engineer, Samantha joined Inco in 1990 and has held roles of increasing responsibility over the years, including superintendent of mines research, superintendent of business systems, general foreman at Creighton Mine and manager of capital projects. In her current role as general manager of mines and mills technical services, she leads a multi-disciplinary team of more than 200 mining and mineral processing engineers, geologists, technologists and metallurgists supporting Vale’s mining and milling operations in Sudbury.
More than anything, Samantha’s success demonstrates that mining today is a lot more about brains than brawn and offers great career opportunities for women as well as men.
Following Samantha to the podium was Xstrata Zinc geologist and project director Aline Coté, who provided an overview of the company’s Errington-Vermillion project, a $350 million development of a zinc-copper-lead and precious metal deposit in the Sudbury Basin on which construction is expected to start next year. After 125 years of mining, Sudbury’s bounty continues to amaze.