Pit Stop No12: The PDAC

If you are in mining, you must have crossed the PDAC at some point. The PDAC stands for Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada; it is the most famous mineral industry convention. It occurs annually at the Metro Toronto Convention centre around the month of March. This four-day congress has an international reputation attracting over 1,000 exhibitors and 20,000 attendees from around the world for networking, deal-making and scientific exchange. It consists of a trade show and a series of technical sessions, short courses as well as social and networking events. The trade-show is the most overwhelming and spectacular part of the PDAC, I think! It is a hub for all junior mining and exploration companies and the world’s biggest investors. Worth mentioning the notorious mining companies’ parties at the Fairmont Royal York hotel every night.

Part of the Trade Show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Part of the Trade Show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Aisle of the PDAC with exhibitors from different country like China

Aisle of the PDAC with exhibitors from different countries like China

As a student, the PDAC can seem overwhelming at first but the organization has planned some events exclusively for students. These include guided tours of the trade show, a PDAC survival skills workshop, and a student-industry networking luncheon. It’s important to understand that the PDAC is not a place to search for jobs or coops; it’s a place to learn about the challenges the industry is facing and, more importantly to connect with industry professionals and leaders. Connecting means approaching other people, interacting with them to learn about their work and experience and develop contacts. You can never have too much of those!

Student booth at the PDAC

Student booth at the PDAC

This year was my second time attending the convention and my first time volunteering for the PDAC. Volunteering is an amazing opportunity to meet professionals while learning more on what the PDAC does as an organization (not to mention that volunteers also attend the convention for free!) My role was to attend to the E3 Plus booth. The E3 Plus is a PDAC initiative to provide a framework for responsible exploration. Its purpose is to encourage the exploration companies to improve on their social, environmental and health and safety performance by providing them with online toolkits and guidelines to do so.

Me and another Volunteer at the E3 Plus Booth

Me and another Volunteer at the E3 Plus Booth

For me, attending the PDAC has been a great experience these past two years! I have had the opportunity to attend a technical session on commodities and market outlook where mining mogul Robert Friedland gave his insight on the minerals of the future. One of my favourite moments of the PDAC occurred at the WIM networking reception. During that event the 2015 WIM trailblazer winner was announced and I had the opportunity to meet winner Betty-Ann Heggie.

Robert Friedland giving his Presentation on the Minerals Outlook

Robert Friedland giving his Presentation on Minerals Outlook

2015 Trailblazer award winner Betty-Ann Heggie accompanied by the WIM Canada Board of Directors

2015 Trailblazer Award Winner Betty-Ann Heggie accompanied by the WIM Canada Board of Directors

Pit Stop No10: The Engineers Without Borders Canada Annual Conference/Mining stream

Every year EWB Canada holds its annual conference; for the first time this year, the conference had a special focus on the mining industry and tackled some of its challenges through a series of workshops and sessions.

The mining stream revolved around the question of how mining could “work” for development; what conditions need to be in place for mining to advance development outcomes? What opportunities exist for private companies to do more for development? How can communities and companies work in local partnerships?

One of my favourite session was the “Making Mining Work for Development: An Interactive Role-Play”. This session, organized by consulting company Hatch was both fun and constructive. We were divided into five groups representing exactly the client, the local businesses, the international businesses and NGOs. The projected consisted in the construction of a nickel mine in a remote location in Africa. Each one of the groups was given a set of contracts that needed to be signed between the groups prior to the construction of the mine. It was really challenging to satisfy the project constraints as well as the expectations of each group. This session gave us a good sense of the complexity of mining projects. It was a privilege to have Kinross Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, Ed Opitz as one of the members of my group. His input was really valuable and he explained to us how in real life those kinds of projects were handled.

Mining is a big player in development. In Africa for example, a mine will hire the local workforce, provide training, education and local procurement. Although the mining industry is far from perfect, there is a progress in corporate social responsibility (CSR). Mining companies are becoming more aware of the importance of CSR and its positive impacts.

Overall, the conference was a real blast! I met with many EWB delegates form all over Canada; I felt inspired by the story of the women and men from the Kumvana delegation who fought for their education, who still fight to better the future of their communities. I was particularly touched by Nafisa Adams’ courage and strong will. After fighting her way to school, Nafisa decided to go back to her community village in Ghana and give hope to the women there. She founded the Beads of Hope Ghana. This business provides the opportunity to the women to bead simple jewelry while becoming more economically independent.

Nafisa Adams and I selling some Bead for Hope at the EWB 2015 conference

Nafisa Adams and I selling some Beads for Hope at the EWB 2015 conference

The conference showed me that there is potential in each one of us to make a positive #change. I am ready to put that positive attitude in action and continue working hard to promote sustainability in mining!

The EWB conference ended with music and a dance floor!

The EWB conference ended with music and a dance floor!

PS: Did you know that EWB Canada has a Mining Shared Value venture! Not sure what it means? Mining shared Value is about helping Canadian mining companies maximize local procurement of goods and services so that the host countries gain economical and social benefits from the mining activities.

PPS: You can follow the Mining shared Value on twitter @ewb_msv

Pit Stop No9: The Intercollegiate Business Convention (IBC)

Not everything about mining has to be technical, does it? Well no! A lot of mining revolves around investing, evaluating a mining company’s worth and consulting for the mining industry.

In this post I have decided to talk business. I have recently attended the Intercollegiate Business Convention (IBC) in Boston and want to share my experience with you!

Organized by the Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business, the IBC brings together over a thousand female delegates from universities around the globe with a common interest in business and leadership. This weekend-long event is composed of social events, learning opportunities, innovation workshops and networking dinners. Its objective changes from year to year; this year’s objective is to build a global support network and community of empowerment for collegiate women interested in business.

This year’s IBC featured some inspiring speakers: Maureen Chiquet, Global CEO of Chanel and one Forbes’ “100 Most Powerful Women” as well as journalist Jill Abramson, who spent the last 17 years in the most senior editorial positions at the New York Times.

This event was not only fun to attend as I met so many people from diverse backgrounds but also very inspiring as I heard many successful female professionals talk about their career path and what got them where they are.  What I have learnt in a nutshell: know and pursue what you love to do and work hard; there will be challenges along the way but be ready to fight back and fight hard. I have also learnt that it is extremely useful to have a mentor to guide you. The most successful people have mentors! It is important to ask for and receive advice from people who have more experience and have already tackled some of the challenges that we haven’t.

Part of the McGill Delegation at IBC 2014

Part of the McGill Delegation at IBC 2014

Pit Stop No5: The Walrus Talks Energy with Suncor

Part of its educational mandate, The Walrus Foundation has organized a national speaker series The Walrus Talks. Each talk brings together eight speakers for a seven minutes presentation each on various subjects relating to a single theme. The Walrus Talks deliver lively, inspiring and riveting new ideas and challenges the way we look at big issues. Each talk is then followed by a reception with both attendees and participants.

Suncor Energy, a Canadian integrated energy company has hosted with The Walrus Foundation a four-part, cross-country speaker series about Canada’s energy future. The Walrus Talks Energy broadens its public understanding on sustainable energy future, collective environmental impact, the challenges of energy production and what lies ahead in terms of energy demand and consumption.

One of The Walrus Talks Energy was held in Montreal at McGill University, on October 1st 2013. The speakers included Vicky Sharpe, the CEO of Sustainable Development Technology Canada; Andrew Heintzman, the president of Investeco Capital, the first Canadian investment company to be exclusively focused on environmental sectors; and Kali Taylor, the founder of Student Energy, an organization that strives to create a movement of students committed to bringing about a sustainable energy future.

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Suncor Presents The Walrus Talks Energy at McGill University

The 2014 Walrus Talks will address numerous themes and feature more than a 100 speakers across Canada. Information on future Talks available at thewalrus.ca/events.

N.B: The walrus Foundation is a non-profitable organization whose mandate is to create dynamic forums to engage Canadians on diverse themes such as water, energy, philanthropy, literature, urban spaces, human rights, climate change etc. The foundation supports writers, artists and provoking ideas by publishing The Walrus magazine, organizing speakers’ event, debates and leadership dinners as well as other events across Canada. To know more about The Walrus, visit www.thewalrus.ca

Pit Stop No4: The World Mining Congress

Mining is not only about mines and digging deeper; it is an exciting world that joins the exploration activities, the environmental services, the mining suppliers and the investment departments. In order for the mining industry to remain global and up to date on the leading edge technologies, an international committee is responsible of organizing the World Mining Congress (WMC).

This international congress brings together thousands of delegates from around the globe. It is a high-level knowledge sharing and networking event that gathers exhibitors in mining as well as in automation, robotics and construction. Each congress has a motto from which revolves its technical program of peer-reviewed papers.

The 23rd WMC was hosted in Montreal by the Canadian Institute of Mining (CIM) in collaboration with five professors from major Canadian universities. This WMC was held in conjunction with the ISARC 2013, the International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in the Construction and Mining Industries. The exhibition hall presented more than 250 mining industry related manufacturers and service providers.

Autochthones  were invited to perform at the 23rd WMC in Montreal

First Nations were invited to perform at the 23rd WMC in Montreal

Prof. Ferri Hassani is one of the five professors to help in organizing the 23rd WMC

Prof. Ferri Hassani is one of the five professors to help in organizing the 23rd WMC

The next WMC will be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and will be organized by the IBRAM, the Brazilian Mining Association. It will be located at the prestigious Sul América Convention Center.

N.B: Polish mining engineer Prof. Boleslaw Krupiński initiated The World Mining Congress when he organized the first congress in 1958 in Warsaw. He remained chairman until 1972. Today, the WMC is a UN-affiliated organization and is run by the permanent secretariat seated in Poland.