This summer, Women in Mining and Spotlight Mining launched the Canadian edition of their Women in Mining Adventure Competition. The event was organised with support from several organisations, including AME, and was open to women in geology or related science graduates, near graduates or post-graduates with an interest in mining and exploration. The prize was a four-week, all expenses paid training experience with two companies in BC’s famous Golden Triangle region.

Spotlight Mining’s Liam Hardy explains that they first set up the competition as a small fun project in 2018, sending the first winner, Anna from Oxford University, to Finland, “The energy around the trip was so positive that we couldn’t resist doing it again! This year we were dreaming big. We went international and tripled the sponsorship budget. We had applications from 15 countries on 6 continents and we received amazing support from the Crystal Lake and Auramex teams to make it happen.”

AME’s CEO Kendra Johnston was one of the judges of this year’s competition. For her, AME’s support for the competition was a no-brainer, “I feel very strongly that it is important to support the next generation in mineral exploration. Through mentoring, we can help give them training, knowledge, and a footing to hopefully gain some job security.”

To enter, contestants posted on Twitter about what they think the most exciting development in mining will be in the next ten years. When asked about how they chose the winner, Kendra said, “We were looking for someone who showed they were keenly aware of not just geology and geological models, but also social and environmental practices, an interest in the full story of exploration, a holistic answer of what the industry is all about.”

This year’s winner, Aliyah Rodominski, graduated from UBC Okanagan in 2017. Her winning tweet highlighted the potential for more collaboration between mining proponents and First Nations, something she is actively involved in through her work in the Territorial Stewardship Department at the Citxw Nlaka’pamux Assembly in Merritt, BC.

“Part of why I entered is because of my work right now. I deal with a lot of reports about exploration and the different aspects of mining, but I hadn’t had the opportunity to see the other side of it—field work. I thought it would help to get a better understanding of what I’m reading about when I’m reviewing paperwork.”

Aliyah spent the first part of her adventure competition training with Crystal Lake Mining at their Newmont Lake project working with the core shack team. There, Aliyah worked with the drill core and trained as a geotechnician. During the second part of the trip, she visited Auramex’s Georgie River project and had more opportunity to get out into the field, collecting rock samples and visiting various prospects and sites on the property. Aliyah really enjoyed seeing the different exploration camps and getting to experience different stages of exploration. Before heading up to the field, she also got to tour the MSA lab in Langley.

As well as learning about various exploration jobs, Aliyah was impressed by the focus on environment and First Nations partnerships, “At the Crystal Lake core shack they showed me how they set up the drainage from the core cutters so that they weren’t just putting the water straight back into the stream, they had set up a filtration system. Also, a lot of the drill crew and camp staff working there are Tahltan. It’s good to see that they’re honouring their commitments, even though they’re such a remote camp.”

Because of her mineral exploration adventure this summer, Aliyah feels she has a much better understanding of exploration and what’s involved. She explains that her experience highlighted how important it is for AME and other groups to continue organising training and mentoring events like this one. For Aliyah, they help to “show that working in mining in Canada is a viable career. It’s not something we ever hear about in university aside from going to school for geology specifically, but it’s not really something you hear about as a career path.

“I didn’t really know a lot about mineral exploration when I went into it. Probably the biggest thing I learned is how uncertain the industry is, how everything is riding on the next several years, the next funding, and everything that depends on the weather. It’s not something that’s planned over a long period. It’s all dependent on so many different factors.”

Hopefully through exciting training, knowledge sharing and mentoring initiatives like the Women in Mining Adventure Competition, we can help make a career in mining and exploration seem like an appealing and viable option for more young people, even with all the industry uncertainty.

AME was thrilled to be involved in the WIM Adventure Competition. We look forward to working with Spotlight Mining and the other sponsors again next year for the 2020 competition!

AME helps to facilitate career advancement for graduates through the AME mentorship program that matches graduates with exploration and development industry professionals as their mentors for a 1 year collaboration. Learn more.

The 2019 Women in Mining Adventure Competition was created by Spotlight Mining and supported by WIM Europe, WIM Canada, WIM BC, AME, CTEM, HEG Exploration Services & SGDS Hive.