Mining Matters building capacity in James Bay Communities
After three years of providing a popular educational program in communities close to Victor Mine, an indicator of success is demonstrated by the students beginning to speak about careers in mining.
Mining Matters is an educational program offered through the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) which began in 1994 and since then has provided programs to approximately 600,000 students and teachers across Canada. The organization provides a specialized educational program about rocks, minerals, metals, mining and the diverse career opportunities available. Educational resources used in the program meet provincial curriculum expectations and are created by educators and Earth Science experts.
It was during the 2011 PDAC conference that the Manager for Aboriginal Affairs witnessed the stand out program with the bright shirts wore by students participating in a geo-science camp. The smiles and teamwork were apparent and De Beers wanted to share this informative and energetic program with community partners.
“It is a very successful program that both teachers and students look forward to and the Victor team is proud of. The Mining Matters team is well suited to deliver the program in a format that students really absorb and enjoy. It is one of our most important engagements with the community,” said Shannin Metatawabin, Victor Mine Aboriginal Affairs and Sustainability Manager.
The first program was provided in Attawapiskat in 2011 and 2012 then in 2013 the other communities received a similar program. This year, almost 1,000 students, teachers and community members have gained an increased understanding of mining and the opportunities available in the industry thanks to De Beers’ support of the Mining Matters program. This year De Beers Victor Mine in partnership with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines rolled out one camp in Attawapiskat in July. In November the Mining Matters team provided a condensed program into the communities of Moose Cree, Fort Albany and Kashachewan.
“This year we reached 946 students, teachers and community members,” said Barbara Green Parker, Mining Matters’ Manager of Aboriginal Education and Outreach Programs. “We were asked to return to all communities which we were pleased to receive as an indication that the students found the program educational and enjoyable.”
In addition to the student program, De Beers again hosted its “Window into Victor” trade show in all three communities during the community event portion of the Mining Matters program. “Windows into Victor” brings representatives of each department into the communities to display information, discuss and obtain feedback from community partners.