The elements of mining
Science, technology, engineering and math. Inclusion and diversity. A sustainable and green future. Adventure. A legacy of community building in Ontario.
These are the Elements of Mining.
The past 100 years have been fruitful for the mining industry in Ontario and its success has driven the Ontario economy forward. It has also enabled progressive change, with an important focus on continually evolving to meet society’s changing needs and expectations. Where we are today – leaders in sustainability and responsible mining – will energize our next 100 years. And, in turn, we are energizing the next 100 years of progress in Ontario. Our vision is to be the safest, cleanest, most productive, technologically advanced, and socially responsive mining jurisdiction – supplying the world with the responsibly sourced minerals and metals people need to make modern life and innovation possible.
But what are the elements that make up our industry? Is it the drilling and the digging, the machinery and the essential resources we pull from the Earth? Or has it become something greater?
This is mining
To celebrate its 100th Anniversary in 2020, the Ontario Mining Association has created #ThisIsMining, a campaign that takes a fresh look at the role of mining in our lives and in our province: the achievements, the people, the progress, and the legacy. The campaign encourages all Ontarians, but especially Millennials and Gen Xers, to join us in discovering everything mining in Ontario has become, and all it has to offer. It is about digging beneath the surface to cultivate people’s curiosity and facilitate engagement.
When someone asks, “what is mining?” we know that it is: today’s technology; inclusiveness and diversity; care for our planet; a life of adventure; a legacy of community building in Ontario. We want people across Ontario to discover that mining is all of this and more. The OMA is sharing stories about our industry that are a source of pride and excitement for our members. They may be unexpected, but crucial for Ontarians to know. Many of these stories centre around individuals, communities and companies that the mining industry has enabled to grow and flourish.
The transformative effects of mining can be seen in the following areas:
Diversity and inclusion: Mining companies in Ontario value different perspectives, skill sets, leadership styles and approaches. The campaign is celebrating inclusion – how women and men, Indigenous Canadians and new Canadians, and all Canadians are driving success in our industry.
Adventure: Ontario miners operate on our Northern frontier, embracing the elements and remoteness, and venturing where many would not. Their careers open up opportunities for personal growth and exciting lifestyles.
Science, technology, engineering and math: Our industry is pushing the boundaries of what we can accomplish with technology and learn from science.
Sustainable mining and a green future: As an industry, we literally pull the minerals and metals from the Earth that make our modern world possible. We are the stewards of this physical world and of our planet –it’s a responsibility we take seriously. It drives our efforts to improve every day.
Legacy: We are builders of communities, and our contributions to the cities and towns where we work create important legacies that will live on, far into the future.
These elements are the building blocks of our industry and the formula for our future success. The formula would be nothing without the people who implement it. This is why we launched the campaign by focusing on the element of diversity and inclusion.
Respectful, mutually-beneficial relationships with Indigenous communities are crucial to the Ontario mining industry. Mining is the largest private sector employer of Indigenous peoples in Canada, accounting for about 6 per cent of the total mining labour force, while Indigenous people make up 3 per cent of the Canadian population. In Ontario, Indigenous employment accounts for 11.2 per cent of total mining jobs. In creating employment and business opportunities for Indigenous communities, mining companies seek to help enable economic independence and entrepreneurship, while remaining sensitive to local cultural and social practices.
This is a message we wanted to bring to the millennial plus audience in southern Ontario, as we launched the campaign with an event at the Canadian National Exhibition.
The CNE and “Bannock Dogs!”
Chef Marcel Boucher made his first trip to Toronto to serve up his “bannock dogs” at the Canadian National Exhibition over the August 23-25 weekend. Think deep fried hot dogs wrapped in bannock. Marcel is a Head Chef with Windigo Catering, a solely Indigenous-owned catering company, and feeds 500 people every day at Newmont Goldcorp’s Musselwhite Mine in north-western Ontario. He started as a breakfast cook and has worked tirelessly to build his career and become Head Chef. Marcel’s creations are infused with his Lac Seul First Nations heritage and his love of taking traditional family recipes and making them his own.
The CNE crowds loved the bannock and they heard our message about the importance of industry and communities working together, as well as the diverse collective that makes up Ontario’s mining industry. We estimate that the #ThisIsMining team served around 75 thousand individuals! People were intrigued by Marcel and his story – many asked to meet him, shake his hand, take a photo with him, and thank him for the work he does feeding miners in northern Ontario.
Inclusion in Ontario mining
Not only does the industry hire and promote diverse talent, but it also recognizes the importance of giving back to the communities in which we operate. In 2015, Ontario mining companies contributed more than $90 million to local Indigenous governments and communities. Many of these contributions come as part of the Indigenous mining agreements that cover a range of provisions related to financial payments, employment and training programs, community and social programs, donations and/or contributions.
Mining companies also collaborate to improve the integration of new Canadians into communities and the industry, building networks that include members from immigrant-serving organizations, mining companies, educators, Indigenous communities, and women’s and diversity organizations. These include M-PIN – The Mining Professional Immigrant Network.
Encouraging gender balance
Another way we are thinking about our future success is by making efforts to increase our female employment rate. The industry is a huge supporter of initiatives that promote STEM education among women and other under-represented groups. Ontario mining companies provide educational bursaries, internship opportunities, vocational and technical training programs to female, as well as to male participants from local communities. A great example of this is the De Beers Group scholarships for women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields.
Mining organizations such as the OMA are championing initiatives to help companies eliminate barriers limiting the recruitment and retention of female workers and to foster more gender-inclusive workplaces. Many mining companies are developing gender equity strategies, creating professional development opportunities for female employees and promoting women’s mobility into leadership roles. Newmont Goldcorp, for example, runs a comprehensive training, development and mentorship programme that enable female employees to focus on their professional and personal growth.
Ontario companies are also updating policies and introducing strong measures to ensure that female employees are working in a safe and positive environment. These include providing secure toilet and changing room facilities, personal protective equipment designed to specifically fit women, as well as gender-awareness training for workers and incentives for managers to increase the gender diversity of their teams. These tactics help current employees love their work and set an example for future generations.
With #ThisIsMining, we want to bring these stories of empowerment to life. Mining is such an important industry to the Ontario (and Canadian) economy and to modern society. Yet, there are Canadians (specifically Millennials) who do not know much about the industry that supplies the building blocks of most products they use every day. Our goal is to increase awareness, introduce the public to some of the people that make us global mining leaders, and strengthen our connection with or local and global communities.
About this Author
The Ontario Mining Association (OMA) was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province and is one of the longest serving trade organizations in Canada. OMA has a long history of working constructively with governments and communities of interest to build consensus on issues that matter to our industry and to the people of this province. OMA’s goal is to overcome challenges that impede the competitiveness of responsible operations and to foster an environment that bolsters mining’s potential to be the cornerstone of Ontario’s new, innovation-oriented green economy.
The Elements of Mining: