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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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At this link are details of a new geosynthetic from CETCO. Basically it consists of two geotextiles between which is a reactive material selected to deal with contaminants commonly found in the mining and waste management industry. They describe it thus: (more…)

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Constructing covers over mining wastes at sites in cold climates involves consideration of these factors that are unique to cold climates: (more…)

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Today’s defeat of separationists and essentially racialist nationalists in Quebec is to be welcomed.  Even more so as today at the Cold Covers conference in Whistler two young engineers from Quebec were the bright stars of events.  They will be leaders in the future in all Canada in solving the issues of mine closure. (more…)

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Spent today in a course on Covers in Cold Climates.  The course is part of the seminar to follow tomorrow and Wednesday on the same topics.  Arranged by InfoMine, it is being held in Whistler, which is a nice, but not spectacular place to have a conference—I prefer Banff or Vancouver.   For the Fairmont Chateau Whistler is a pale reflection of those other grand hotels with the Fairmont name: a bland and ugly exterior that replicates in cheap detail the features of the hotel in Vancouver that it tries to emulate. (more…)

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I cannot resist repeating this email.  It is an irresistible call to mining duty.  If only I were younger or less committed to family & work—I would do it immediately.  This is the email I received today: (more…)

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Most engineers have no idea what the strength of a soil or tailings implies.  Let me write a little about the physicality of soil and tailings of a given strength. (more…)

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Here above is a photo taken today by a colleague.  It shows a sky-sculpture above the Vancouver conference center.  Appears the sky phenomena is to advertise the TED conference.  Attendance costs a mere $5,300 or so. (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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Geosynthetica.net is a website that is also a newsletter and a great source of information on geosynthetics.  Here is their latest announcement that may be of interest to all who deal with geosynthetics in mining: (more…)

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