Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


The hall of the parliament building in Ottawa

It does make a difference to your wages if you work on a Canadian metal or diamond or fossil fuel mine.  Here are some numbers to highlight the differences.  I quote from the new CostMine 2014 Survey Results- Canadian Mine Salaries, Wages and Benefits.

Here are some average wages by mined commodity in Canadian dollars per hour.  The first number is for metal mines; the second for diamond mines; and the third for fossil fuel mines.

  • Surface electrician = 38.47/31.43/ 40.50
  • Surface mechanic = 37.05/26.45/40.20
  • Dragline/Shovel operator = 35.08/46.33/39.33
  • Truck driver = 31.32/28.77/34.20
  • Underground laborer = 26.11/29.26/25.84
  • Surface laborer = 26.59/28.28/29.14

Clearly you earn more on the oil sands and coal mines.

The number that jumps out to me is the wage for dragline/shovel operators on diamond mines–$46.33 per hour.  Wonder what the truth is behind this number.  Some insight when you examine the ranges for a dragline/shovel operator;

  • Metal mines = 27.80 to 41.56
  • Diamond mines = 44.61 to 48.04
  • Fossil fuel mines = 32.91 to 58.40

Nearly $60 per hour for at least one shovel operator on an oil sands mine in Alberta!!  Maybe more than my salary as a blogger/consultant.  Sure they deserve it, for I but talk and they work hard in hard circumstances.

And if you are wondering about the difference between those working on union versus non-union mines, it looks like in all categories, in all commodities, that the guy at the non-union mine earns about one to five dollars more per hour than the guy at the union mine.  Is this how it is supposed to be?

Let me know–for these are all averages and maybe the individual story is different.


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This week I have been out eating with friends every night.  Last night, I watched opera.  A way to recover from the intense social pressure of being nice.  A deep glass of cognac, a few cigarettes, and opera.  What better way to relax and get high? The opera that I watched is as obscure as they get:  Gaetano Donizetti’s L’ajo nell’inbarazzo from Teatro Regio Torino.  First performed in 1828,  then performed fifty-five times in the next few years.  Then forgotten and never performed in North America. (more…)

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Panama Graffiti

If you have followed this blog for a while, you will recall that I have a fondness for graffiti.  Here are some photos of graffiti I took today in Panama City.







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One of the advantages of mining travel is the good meals enjoyed in foreign places.  Tonight we ate great food overlooking the Panama Cannel and the ships passing through the locks.

Here for mining matters that I cannot blog about—maybe in five years when all is worked out.

So meanwhile a few pictures. Enjoy and try the food here.






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Summer has arrived when Bard on the Beach is playing.  Last night we saw Hamlet, and a stunning performance by Jonathon Young as Hamlet. (more…)

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Professor Jere Jennings who taught so many of us now-old civil engineers in mining used to say: “When you have read everything there is to read, when you have done all the calculations possible, then drink a bottle of brandy and exercise engineering judgement.” (more…)

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A few random thoughts that I penned (typed) today on the topic of cement amendment of filtered tailings.  The tailings are the result of facts and processes beyond the control of the stack designer.  The ore and its inherent variability dictate the fundamental nature of the tailings particles.  The grind the process engineer dictates to get the most gold, silver, copper, or other valuable material being mined, dictates the size and gradation of the tailings.  The ability of the filter equipment manufacturer to squeeze water out of the fluid-like tailings dictates the moisture content of the tailings as received by the stack operator. (more…)

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Capilano University students have wrapped all art in black plastic.  Seems the university is cutting funding to the arts program and the students have responded by blacking out art on the campus. (more…)

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Not sure how I missed this one: a genuine blog from a major mining company.  Goldcorp has a blog at this link called above GROUND ONLINE; Our World of Community Responsibility.  (I try to reproduce color and capitalization from the blog.) (more…)

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The news wires are alive with reports of a billion dollar estimate for remediating the Giant Mine in Yellowknife, NWT.  Here is an extract from one report: (more…)

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