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Archive for the ‘Money & Mining’ Category

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I have no data to support the opinions I write of in this posting.  So please do your own research before deciding, panicking, or acting on anything said below.

Today I was outside smoking in the damp rain when my smoking companion said that he had just surveyed the salaries of mining geoscientists (geologists and geotechnical engineers).  He noted that it appears that salaries for such folk are, on average, higher in Canada than in the USA.

My first reaction was to note that salaries for geoscientists in the oil sands and related consulting organizations probably skew the averages for Canada.  He promised to look into this.

Then I pointed out that if you look at geoscientists salaries in Orange County (California), Denver, or San Francisco you would find averages much higher than the USA average.  Afterall there are many states where salaries are low.  A geotechnical engineer working for a local authority in Iowa or Mississippi will drag down the average.

I returned to my office to field a call from one such person working in the oil sands.  He noted that Calgary is no longer a place of infinite jobs–most companies serving the oil sands overstaffed in the past in fear, and now find themselves with a surplus of engineers.   He said there simply are few jobs on offer now in Calgary–times have changed significantly.

He conceded that salaries are higher in the oil sands than in the rest of Canada.  He has just hired away from a Vancouver company a bright young engineer and is going to pay him more than the Vancouver consultant.  A good example of the drift of qualified folk from consulting to the mining companies themselves.  No wonder a few Vancouver consultants have laid off many or are considering reduced work weeks!

Yet another phone call told me off an Orange County, California consultant.  Just returned from South Africa, he is planning to lure bright mining geoscientists from South Africa to California.  Apparently, he thinks they are smart and in many ways ahead of USA engineers in innovative practices & solutions in the mining industry.  He thinks the industry can absorb and use them; and he can make money from them.  Good News!

I am not sure how you make sense of or put a common thread to these fleeting discussions.  Maybe the simple fact is that there will always be work for highly skilled people regardless of the state of the industry or economy.  Let me now what you know and how you think on these questions.

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This posting is prompted by things I have seen, heard, and thought on trips to remote mines in the Canadian Northwest Territories, Mexico, Guatemala, and the Atacama Desert of Northern Chile.  Nothing I write is specific to only one mine or generally applicable to all mines.  Each has it own characteristics and issues.  But they are remarkable similar, so let me lump them in one posting. (more…)

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Here from this link, a few observations on the bad & good of mining—at least in Australia: (more…)

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Some years ago a young reader of this blog contacted me and asked the following:

You might remember me; I think I commented on your post  Should I become a mining engineer?  I explained how I had applied to study at the Camborne school of mines but was unsure.  I was reassured on my choice thanks to your post.  Would I be in demand as a mining engineer? I don’t know how easy it is to find work as a mining engineer; are such privileges guaranteed? (more…)

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Here is a comment posted on this blog today.  It is posted to the section on About Me and the Blog.  That is a pretty obscure posting, although some do look at it to check if I am genuine. (more…)

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If you are interested in how mining companies fared in Canadian courts last year, you would do well to download and read the McCarthy Tetrault Mining in the Courts Year in Review Vol IV – March 2014 available at this link.  The volume includes detailed information about the facts leading to 21 court cases and decisions in Canadian courts that involved mining companies.  More important the volume provides clear and concise information about the court decisions and what these decisions mean for mining companies.  (more…)

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In his book The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance, Henry Petroski tells at length of early graphite mining and its impact on the development of the pencil.  From what I recall, for many years there was but one deposit in England that produce graphite of the right quality to produce workable pencils.  As one reviewer of the book writes: (more…)

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What is a blog?  What is an on-line newspaper?  At this link is the EduMine blog/newspaper.  It answers neither question, but poses them with force.  It also provides an interesting resource on ideas, opinions, and news about on-line learning.   Here for example is a recent posting that I find interesting: (more…)

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From that inestimable team, the father-son Obonis of Riskope, here is what I got in today’s email.  I repeat most of it.  I edit to smooth & personal prose as their Italian dialect leads to bumps in easy reading.  I copy here as I think the suggestions they make for finding a job in mining or anywhere else, are worth disseminating.  Let me know what you think. (more…)

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A brief note to point you to a new infographic from the National Mining Association.   Here is the link to their infographic on the Olympics and the role gold plays in our lives.  (more…)

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