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2014-05-31 at 6:00 PM

Mining day

By Matt Vis,
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THUNDER BAY -- Mining is expected to become an even bigger part of the regional economy in the next decade.

With that in mind, organizers of the city’s second annual Mining Day believe it is important to give people an introduction to the industry.

Mining Day was celebrated Saturday at the Prince Arthur’s Landing, which was marked full of activities after Mayor Keith Hobbs issued a proclamation earlier in the week.

With the industry expected to expand exponentially over the coming years, Northwestern Ontario Prospectors Association president and Mining Day Committee chair Bob Chataway says now is the time to expose children to mining and demonstrate the vast career opportunities available.

Lakehead University, Confederation College and the Lakehead District School Board were all represented on Saturday, along with officials from many companies that are prominent on the local scene.

Job opportunities in the mining field extend beyond the pit, but also include financing and support roles.

Chataway says many people underestimate the complexity behind most projects and the time it takes to actually begin hauling product from the ground.

“The hardest thing to understand is you make a discovery but it might take 10 years before you say yes, let’s go ahead,” he said.

“Within those 10 years you hit the financial cycles that we are all familiar with and it changes the economics of those deposits quite drastically if you don’t know the whole picture of the process.”

A guided walking tour was also hosted along Red River Road, providing a glimpse in how locally mined stone is an integral part of the city’s most recognizable buildings.

The tour focused on the former Port Arthur Collegiate Institute building, which now hosts the Lakehead University Faculty of Law, as well as the Trinity United Church and the Masonic Hall.

Organizers also had heavy equipment such as diamond drills on hand at the site and offered activities such as gold panning and mineral samples.

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