North

Yukon College students learn mineral exploration tools of the trade

Yukon College students are in the bush near Whitehorse this week, learning some tools of the trade for jobs in mineral exploration. 'Kind of hoping it will open some doors for me,' says one student.

Pilot project gives students hands-on experience using drilling rigs

An instructor talks about a mineral sample with Yukon College students learning some basic skills for mineral exploration. 'Exploration work's always the first thing,' says another instructor. (CBC)

College students in Whitehorse have been getting their hands dirty this week, learning entry level skills for the mineral exploration industry.     

The students are taking part in a pilot program offered through Yukon College's Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining.

Students are using to learn a lightweight drill rig. After this week, a Vancouver-based junior mining company will take this rig to a newly-acquired property in Nunavut. (CBC)
"This course is covering a lot of basics, from operating equipment to working around drills and compressed air," says Mark Mooney, one of the course's instructors. He says often such basic skills can only be learned on the job. 

The students are learning to operate the type of light-weight drill rigs used in the initial stages of mineral exploration. Successful graduates will be qualified to work to as driller helpers.

Student Shane Schinkel from Tagish, Yukon, is learning to be a driller's helper. He says he knows mineral exploration is down right now, but he's certain it will pick up again.

Student Shane Schinkel of Tagish hopes to launch a career in mining, 'because there's a lot of money in it'.
"I would definitely choose this as a career, because there's a lot of money in it," Schinkel says. He's also interested because it's a career that would keep him outside, and "that's always nice." 

"I'm pretty excited about it, kind of hoping it will open some doors for me," Schinkel says.

Instructor Tao Henderson says mineral exploration is a good way to start a career in the mining industry. 

"Exploration work's always the first thing," he says. "Teaching these people the tools of the trade, and then opening up other doors for them."

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