Blog - The Raven Speaks

Canadian Mining Games: The New Faces of Exploration

The Canadian University Mining Games present an annual opportunity for Mining and Exploration students to test their skills in a practical setting.  2019’s competition was hosted by the University of Alberta, and students began to prepare months before the February event.

Over the past four years, Raven has provided sponsorship funding to the team from University of British Columbia (read all about our first year of supporting the UBC Mining Games Team here on our blog).  We welcomed some of UBC’s team to our booth at AME RoundUp in Vancouver in January, and waited with fingers crossed when competition weekend arrived.  

After the dust settled, UBC’s team came out in 2nd place overall, behind University of Alberta.  Not bad for playing on someone else’s home turf!

We caught up with Lance Yang and Kaden McLeod of the UBC team for their post-game thoughts.  Don’t miss what the next generation of mining and exploration workers have to say – these folks are the future of our environment.

Thanks to UBC's Mining Games students for providing the photos in this post!


What drew you to the mining and exploration field?

Lance: Both my grandfather and father were mining engineers and they exposed me to the mining industry at a very young age.  I visited my first open pit coal mine when I was only ten years old.  I was really amazed by what people can accomplish when they work together, and I wanted to be a part of it. I am very proud to be a third-generation mining engineer.

Kaden After attending an information session with a well-known mining consultant in Vancouver, I knew that mining was the career I had been looking for.  Since joining the NBK Mining Institute at UBC, I have been fortunate enough to be part of a 16-month co-op at Mount Milligan, and to be a part of an amazing family of engineers. The mining and exploration field has been amazing, and I am grateful to be a part of one of Canada’s backbone industries. I never hesitate to share with others how great it is to be in this industry. 

How do you hope to see the mining and exploration industry grow and change in the next 10 years?

Lance: Today, the mining and exploration industry uses technology that would have been unimaginable to my grandfather’s generation. In the next ten years, I hope the mining industry will adapt more digital technology to improve the safety of the operators and reduce energy use in operations. I believe with the implementation of more digital technology, operators can work remotely and be removed from the hazardous environment. In addition, battery technology will continue to improve, making equipment much more efficient. 

Kaden: I hope to see the industry continue to grow in the areas of safety standards, indigenous and community involvement, autonomous operations and environmental stewardship. We are entering a time of huge technological transformation in the mining industry and I see that being a key driver to improve the above-mentioned areas. 

What is one great thing you learned by training for the University Mining and Exploration Games?

Lance:  One of the greatest things I learned during training for the University Mining and Explorations Games was how to work collectively under pressure. Some challenges require the team to deliverer a detailed assessment and presentation in a short amount of time. I found that clear communication and knowing my responsibilities provided a tactical advantage during these types of challenges. 

Kaden: I learned that you must be prepared for everything - we never know what our exact challenge is going to be during the competition. I also learned that being self-directed is important.  You must be able to learn on your own if you want to grow and succeed.

What did you learn about the industry?

Kaden: I learned that the industry is really looking for the younger generation to come in and take on important roles. All the sponsors at the Mining Games were interested to hear and see what knowledge students had and what our ideas for the future of mining were. Many of the competitions were surrounding safety and environmental problems within industry, and often addressed how new technology can improve upon existing practices. 

Overall, industry is very inviting of us younger engineers. Companies are really looking to grow with the future. The speeches on opening night showcased what the mood from industry is right now - the topic was “What does it mean to be a social miner?” and most of the speeches were about social licenses, community engagement and the mental well-being of employees. 


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