The Macleans article I referenced in a previous post had a story about mining engineering, and the many lucrative career opportunities that are opening up in Canada. Part of this is the increased demand for resources (a similar story for petroleum), but part is the well-known demographic wave of upcoming retirements among engineering professionals. This is a challenge in many industries, and not unique to mining. There are a couple of things to say about this article, however.
The story cites a number of examples about mining engineering programs in Canadian universities. Unfortunately it doesn’t mention Waterloo’s Geological Engineering program. Probably because we don’t have “mining” in the title, but the core concepts taught in the program are quite adequate for the same purpose, and a number of co-op students and graduates go to work in the mining industry. It’s probably a little less specific than a mining engineering curriculum, but it allows graduates to work in the geotechnical area, designing foundations and dealing with earthquakes and landslides too, not just mines. A little more general curriculum can be a good thing.
Waterloo’s Geological Engineering program is our smallest one, with typically less than 30 students entering per year. I’ve talked to some of the instructors, and they really get to personally know their students because the classes are small. They also do unique things like field trips (I think one group went to Peru!).
The other thing about the Macleans article, was that it possibly left the impression that you need a mining engineering degree to work in the mining industry. That would be a very wrong impression. Mining, like most industries, needs a variety of engineering disciplines to function. So, we always find chemical, mechanical, civil, and electrical engineers there too (and probably others), especially when you think about the refining of the raw ore that gets brought out of the mine. Those can also be good career paths into the mining industry, if that’s where you might like to go.