Mining Matters Rocks On
Celebrating 25 Years of Educating the Next Generation of Geoscientists
“I never knew minerals were used in so many things,” is among the many comments that Mining Matters hears on a regular basis.
The charitable organization educates young people to develop knowledge and awareness of Earth sciences, the minerals industry, and their roles in society. Those who work in the industry or hold a bachelor in Earth science or related field don’t need an introduction to the many applications that mining and minerals have in our lives. Still, many Canadians are not privy to the fact that mining is core to advancing our economy and improving our standard of living.
In 2019, Mining Matters is celebrating 25 years of supporting teachers with classroom resources and training in mineral resources education. Over the past two and half decades, the Toronto-based organization has reached 700,000 students, teachers and members of the public with their innovative materials and curriculum-linked activities.
“Mining does matter, without mining there would be no electricity, phones, planes, Internet, TV, cars, shopping malls,” affirmed James Gill at the 2019 Canadian Mining Hall of Fame dinner.
Growing Mining Awareness
Through hands-on workshops, Mining Matters equips students and teachers – in cities, towns and Indigenous communities – with the knowledge to connect rocks and minerals to their everyday lives.
The organization has travelled to every province and territory, including 15Ring of Fire communities in northern Ontario. Activities, such as one that asks students to match minerals to the product in which it is found and another that teaches students about the physical properties of minerals, help students connect what’s found in the ground to the objects they interact with every day.
From learning that gold is used in technologies that connect them on social media to seeing how gypsum helps provide them with a home, students begin to understand the value that mining brings to our individual lives and to the world at large.
The education programs that Mining Matters provides are not only helpful in generating awareness of the uses of rocks, minerals and metals, they also play a role in responding to hiring needs in the industry. According to the Mining Industry Human Resources Council, “in 2019, about 217,040 workers are projected to be employed in the mining industry” and 228,970 workers are projected to be employed in 2029.
Engagement Through Education
Engaging students in activities and discussions related to careers in mining is the first step to introducing the next generation to the many opportunities in the industry. The organization views education as an important agent for driving change and addressing needs. Through education we learn about the environmental impacts of mining so that we can appropriately respond to create a more sustainable future; through education we can improve health and safety procedures in our jobs; and through education, others will come to know about the relevance of mining and the employment opportunities the industry provides.
Alicia Woods, founder and CEO of Covergalls Workwear, tweeted, “Supporting and getting involved with organizations like Mining Matters is key to educating and raising awareness of mining’s contribution to society.”
Outside the classroom, Mining Matters has partnered with IBM engaging girls in a STEM workshop and participated in events, such as Les Filles et les Sciences (Girls and Science) in an effort to expose more females – who account for only 16 per cent of the mining labour force according to the 2016 census – to science and engineering-related careers.
Cindy Li, 19, was first introduced to Earth science three years ago when her class participated in a student program. Today, she studies Environmental science at the University of Waterloo and is completing her co-op placement at Mining Matters. “Being a part of the Mining Matters programming allowed me to see clearly where I can start my education and exactly how I can make it into a career,” recalls Li. “That day exposed me to the mining industry, a world in which I was completely ignorant of.”
To learn how you can support or get involved with Mining Matters, please visit MiningMatters.ca.