Engagement at the Minerals North Conference
April 25 – Houston, British Columbia
Representatives from Natural Resources Canada and the British Columbia Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources welcomed over 40 participants to a public engagement session on the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan at the Minerals North Conference.
After presenting the Plan, the representatives asked the participants to identify challenges they face in the mining industry in Northern British Columbia. These challenges included:
- A lack of awareness of mineral development projects and the negative perception of mining
There is a need to educate the public on the mineral development process, including the importance of mining in their daily lives. In addition, the perception of mining is focused on negative outcomes and not the successes of the industry.
- An increasing need for skills training for professions that contribute to mining
There needs to be an emphasis placed on developing skills in trades that contribute to the mineral development process. A pipeline of young, skilled workers needs to be built to ensure we are replacing an aging workforce.
- Keep Canadian products local
There should be increased processing (e.g., smelting, refining) within Canada so minerals and metals extracted here can be processed domestically, rather than exported.
Participants expanded on the conversations around challenges and suggested actions governments could take, including:
- A national mining awareness campaign
Highlight successes of the industry and communicate the importance of minerals and metals in everyday life.
- Successful apprenticeship programs
Expand and replicate effective apprenticeship programs to increase the number of future skilled workers. Successful programs are often isolated or found in "silos".
- A toolkit for the industry to recruit new employees
Develop a pan-Canadian toolkit to help industry organizations recruit young Canadians into the mining industry.