Students in Vanderhoof will now have an educational hands-on mining experience to look forward to every year.
The Careers and Trades Program in School District No. 91 received $24,975 from the 2014 Mineral North legacy fund to put towards the future of mining education.
“It’s to build capacity in the community around exploration and mining,” said Brian Frenkel, Vanderhoof chair for Minerals North. “A certain percentage could be used to hold bigger events but a lot of good things have already come with the new training programs.”
This year was the first time Minerals North was held in Vanderhoof and hosted an extensive education component including three unique programs delivered to 175 local students. It was also the first time they did something of this magnitude, said Darren Carpenter, career and trades program co-ordinator.
“And the idea, instead of making this a one time shot, is to have the programs run annually. It generates an interest and we hope to have the same scope and scale every year.”
Project Mini Mining had approximately 100 grade one and two students from four elementary schools learn about rocks and minerals with a mining workshop provided by the BC Mineral Education Program.
Project Junior Mining allowed 60 grade six and seven students to explore five hands-on stations sponsored by New Gold with the use of their Heavy Equipment Operator simulator. The simulator allows users to experience the operation of backhoes, bulldozers, rock grades, rock trucks, loaders and excavators.
Project Mining gave grade ten and twelve students the opportunity to listen to a ‘Career Opportunities in Mining’ presentation. Students learned about career opportunities in the mining sector and what makes for a good employee. (The programs were made possible by the Omineca Beetle Action Coalition and School District No.91 who both put $5,000 towards the day.)
In some communities kids get a passport to mining companies for a chance to experience the job but may not learn as much as when it’s brought to the kids with hands-on experience, said Mr. Frenkel.
“The day included all of the age groups, elementary and secondary students, and to me thats key. They need to start knowing what mining is at a young age,” he said.
The total surplus of the Minerals North 2014 conference was $36,028 with $9,000 given to the District of Vanderhoof towards building up their event-hosting capacity. This includes the purchase of a dishwasher and more dishes to support ‘green events’. The remaining $2,046 went towards the educational River Walk Interpretive Display that will be placed behind the Vanderhoof Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Centre.