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CIM gives thousands to support next generation of members.

Sudbury -- It is a little-known fact that the Sudbury branch of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) is a major sponsor of area events, students and schools.

The organization, chaired this year by NorRoc Industrial Sales Inc. owner and president Don Croteau, and dedicated to promoting mining education, has donated over a quarter-million dollars - $277,137.59 to be exact - since 1997 to mining-related institutions, events and activities.

The sudbury branch disburses $15,000 every year to educational institutions in the Greater Sudbury area, including $8,200 in varied commitments, an $800 Cambrian College scholarship and $6,000 in bursary monies.

The sudbury branch also funds in part the educational component of Sudbury Mining Week, an annual event dedicated to build community awareness about the importance of mining to the region's future.

The support handed out by CIM officials may be no surprise given the magnitude of the mine supply and service sector in the city. This branch of the CIM, that is to say, has a lot of supporters of its own.

"We're very fortunate in Sudbury that there are a lot of mining service and supply companies here," Croteau says. "Almost everybody has supported us at one time."

That said, there is always room for more.

The CIM is always looking for new members, especially from sectors outside their usual clientele of mines and their suppliers.

Without the membership and the support of their many sponsors, the group wouldn't be as successful as it is, according to Croteau.

The CIM executive plans to step up advertising to college students in an effort to get more of them out to the meetings.

Part of their mission, according to Croteau, is to create more awareness of the importance of base and precious metal mining in Northern Ontario to the movement of the economy in southern Ontario.

"One of the reasons we have the conference in Toronto is many people don't realize where things come from," he says, pointing to everything under the stars from kitchen sinks to cars.

Croteau says the plan for the future is to spread donations out more smoothly over the four or five years between the moneymaking conferences.

In 2001, the CIM Sudbury branch donated $104,800 to local academic institutions and mining-related events and groups.

The lion's share of that came out of the CIM M/E (Maintenance and Engineering) conference, where the branch committed to a $30,000 bursary for Laurentian University and $20,000 each for Lo-Ellen Secondary School's Int. Baccalaureate program and Cambrian College's Skytech project.

Croteau has been involved with the CIM for 15 years. In his professional years of visiting mine sites, Croteau has seen first hand the urgent need for skilled miners to take over for retiring baby boomers.

"As an agent, I visit a lot of mine sites," he says. "It's the same story everywhere. They have trouble finding expert, skilled tradespeople, so the more we can promote mining, the better."

The mines are trying to hire more people, but the skill isn't always there, he says.

"They have to hire contractors that can move from job to job."

In the 1990s, a lull in exploration and a dip in metal prices gave way to a slowdown in mine expansions and hiring.

Employers are feeling the pinch from that gap today, he says.

The CIM is doing its part by trying to dispel the stigma attached to underground work and mining in general, which in general society has improved, but remains predominantly negative.

Careers in mining, which aren't what they used to be when it comes to the need for brute force or the perception of a dark, dirty mine, must be promoted to children, and the younger the better.

For more information on the many careers and jobs in the mining and mining-related industries, visit, the homepage of the new Rock On! magazine published by Northern Ontario Business in conjunction with the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), the Mining Industry Training and Advisory Council (MITAC) and with the support of mining companies, government, and industry associations.

The magazine is geared toward high school students preparing to decide where they want to spend their working lives.

It was to be distributed to every high school student in Northern Ontario and to every guidance counsellor in southern Ontario.

The Mining Industry Training and Adjustment Council-Canada (MITAC) is disseminating the magazine south of parry sound as well.


Northern Ontario Business
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Title Annotation:Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum
Author:Gilbert, Craig
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Dec 1, 2005
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