Iowa spring warmth made for a perfect weekend: I took the grandkids to the Belle Plaine park where we played on the weir as I tried to explain hydraulic jump. They thought I was crazy going on about energy changes in flowing water. So I lapsed into silence as they played on the swings and slides, and instead I thought about the formulae for tile drains. The local fields are replete with tile drains that are needed to keep the lands from flooding when three and a half inches of precipitation falls in twenty four hours. I wondered about the applicability of tile drain formula to the analysis of the regional water table drawdown by a series of deep underground mines. But I did not complete the mind evaluation for they got hungry and we repaired to the local fried chicken shack and ate over-cooked meat and mashed potatoes.
That evening we watched Happy Feet, a seemingly silly movie about a dancing penguin. Again I got the kids wondering at my sanity as I tried to expound on the social, religious, and environmental commentary that is strong a theme of this otherwise kids’ movie. My son-in-law was pushed to remark that I had better blog about resource exploitation and leave the kids to enjoy the movie for Hollywood’s sake. So I had another brandy instead.
I suspect they were almost glad to drop me at the airport to fly to Montreal where I will report on the CIM conference. I have always imagined this city would somehow be magic. Maybe the influence of an early tourist’s brochure. But it is just ordinary: an ugly landscape of dull overpasses, graffiti, and dreary apartment block from the airport. Then long stretches of gray buildings and a hotel foyer where the flowers are dropping and dying. I did find a hole of a restaurant where locals chattered in French and the omelet and beer were perfect. I will return there tomorrow.
I took a look at the CIM proceedings to plan session attendance. I will avoid those sessions on sustainable development, the benefits of using consultants, and impending staff shortages. Is there really any thing new to say on those topics? I mean: I read in the latest CIM magazine that some company has just been given a large sum on government money to increase staff in the mining industry by putting together presentation packages to school kids and to mount a new web site listing jobs in the mining industry. This company also seems to have drummed up government money to encourage people to become miners by mounting more courses on mining topics. I hope it is not self advertising to note that InfoMine lists many jobs and has many courses relevant to mining. I cannot believe any of this vast amount of material on InfoMine has actually helped recruit people to the industry. I hope it has made people happier and more effective in the industry. But recruit school-kids and laid of chocolate factory workers to the mining industry? I profoundly doubt it.
Surely the answer is right here before our eyes as we walk the downtown area of Montreal near McGill University. I have never seen so many young people of so great a cross section of nations as on these streets on an early Sunday evening. Surely it is Canada’s ability to attract skilled and intelligent people from all over the world that is the way to staff our mines and national development? That is the way the country has grown and that is, I submit, the way it can and should continue to grow. Look at the success of southern California where the racial mix is almost as great as the mix I saw on my evening walk in Montreal. People of ability come and are welcomed in southern California from everywhere and the best and brightest come and the place is, as the local classical radio station tells it “the creative capital of the world.” Canada can do the same and better.
Or maybe we can recruit from Iran. A young man from Iran recently emailed me asking for help in relocating to Australia: He wrote: “I am a mining engineer (and mineral processor) living in Iran and I am thinking of immigration to Australia because this country has a huge mining investment and activity. I wonder if I can consult with you about this subject, especially about sponsorship for migrants and finding suitable jobs there?” I replied to him that he should also consider coming to Canada. I am sure there are more like him in Iran, for have you seen that astounding abstract in the CIM magazine on the overproduction of mining engineers in Iran?
So instead I will go to the CIM sessions on innovative technology. Stay tuned.