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Industry support brings new Exploration & Mining Programming to NWCC

The Northwest Community College's (NWCC) School of Exploration and Mining is offering three new mining and exploration programs this year thanks to the support and involvement of industry. Driller's Helper, Core Technician, and the Basic Concepts of Glacial Till Sampling are all new offerings that have all been developed with input and equipment donations from mining, exploration and drilling companies as well as industry professionals. The first new offering for 2008 is Driller's Helper. NWCC developed the program to meet BC and Alberta industry demands and the accepted industry standards, with input from many drilling companies, as well as the Western Safety Group, Canadian Diamond Drilling Association. Industry cites a lack of drillers as a severe limiting factor in expanded exploration in the Province. Graduates of this program will be trained in the competencies necessary to assist the driller on a diamond drill and because of their training often move up to become Drillers over a fairly short period of time. The program has received extensive industry co-operation, input and contributions with equipment being donated from all over Canada. Equipment suppliers have included: Hy-tech Drilling Ltd., (Smithers); Fordia (Vancouver); Boart Longyear (Ontario); Cyr Drilling (Winnipeg); Beaupre (Princeton); and West Coast Drilling (Delta). Teaching materials and course development support was provided by Bill McIntyre of Ridgeline Diamond Drilling. The second new offering is Core Technician. The program develops the hands-on practical skills that enable students to observe, measure, and record information from diamond drill cores. The quality of the information that 'Core Techs' provide plays an important role in the prediction and definition of ore reserves. The skills acquired are transferable to other engineering and construction projects requiring subsurface geotechnical investigations. Upon graduation students will have the knowledge and skills necessary to competently perform the steps required to process and safely handle core boxes, operate and maintain a splitter, and follow the correct procedures for handling samples. The program is being designing with the help of training materials donated to the College by Golder Associates and by Hungry Hill Geological. The equipment for the Core Tech program was donated by Barrick Gold from the Eskay Creek mine. The Geological Survey of Canada will help the College offer a third new course this summer: The Basic Concepts of Glacial Till Sampling. This course is in response to industry requests for improved soil sampling techniques as they try to unravel the complex geology of northwestern BC. The one-day course is divided between the classroom and field. Students will review basic glacial concepts before moving into the field to learn how to identify glacial sediments and collect samples. The course will be taught by Alain Plouffe with the Geological Survey of Canada and Travis Ferbey with BC's Geological Survey Branch. "These new programs will go a long way in helping address the critical shortage of skilled labour in the exploration and mining industry," states NWCC Dean of Continuing Education and Industry Training, Margo Van der Touw. "They have been developed by the industry, for the industry, and will produce graduates with the requisite skills and hands-on experience required to begin work in the field." "NWCC's School of Exploration and Mining was established to directly meet the labour force needs of the exploration and mining industry," explains NWCC President, Stephanie Forsyth. "The support and input of industry has been key to the development of our programming and success of our graduates. We are very grateful for the extensive assistance they have provided in the development and delivery of these three new programs." Driller's Helper will be offered in Smithers from May 12 - 29, with other locations currently under development. Core Technician and Basic Concepts of Glacial Till Sampling will be offered later this summer.

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