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Exploration Project Geologist, Lac des Iles Mine - North American Palladium
I was born/grew up in: Enniskillen, Ontario, Canada
I now live in: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
I completed my training/education at: University of Ottawa
Describe what you do at work.
During any given day, I can find myself doing a variety of activities. This ranges from logging core samples, to planning and targeting for upcoming programs. I may also be found completing interpretations and geological models or assisting other departments at the mine. I regularly use my statistics, chemistry and biochemistry knowledge to analyze or to gather further information from previously recorded data.
On a daily basis I use a suite of software. This includes Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, etc.), MapInfo/Discover/3D, ArcGIS, and Geovia-Gemcom to review drilling results. From this I identify areas that may contain certain indicator minerals (e.g., Chalcopyrite, Pyrrhotite, Pyrite, etc). I’ll also start defining structures which would then indicate the presence of economic minerals (e.g., Palladium, Copper, Gold, Platinum, etc.). I then pass this information and my analysis of the area along to my senior in a report. The report states why I feel it would be a good idea to drill in that certain area and my reasons supporting it.
I often team up with other members of my department in addition to members of other departments. This is part of the problem solving process and helps us develop an understanding of the mineral deposit. My science background helps me understand the types of minerals and structures that are present in an area. This helps me make a decision on whether there is an economic mineral deposit present in a given area. Before we move to the next stage of mine development and exploration we need to know if there are enough minerals there to make it cost effective.
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect people’s lives?
Minerals are a major part of our everyday lives. Minerals are used in many industries. This includes technology, aviation, construction, agriculture, automotive, jewellery and cosmetics to name a few. Basic everyday items are composed of minerals that geologists explore for all around the world. Without these minerals and the geologists who discover the deposits the world may not appear as it is today.
What motivates you in your career?
A career in geology makes a difference in everyday life for those trying to understand the Earth, its processes and history. It also is important for making advancements in industry. What gets me excited is the chance to discover a new economic mineral deposit or a mineral that could change the way we live. The most interesting aspect of my career is that I get to work outside. I enjoy being able to search the Earth for answers about its past and to discover the unknown. I also like to explore where few have been before.
What I enjoy most about my career is the ability to learn new things. I like it when I am exposed to different geological environments and deposits all over the world. I like being able to see something for the first time that no other has observed. I like the fact that I might discover something new that could change the industry. What makes being a geologist right for me is the fact that I am someone who loves exploring, who loves working outside and in remote locations in order to discover something new. My career is personally rewarding when I can impart my knowledge on to the younger generation of geologists and see their excitement burgeoning.
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
From a very young age I had wanted to be a geologist. I have always been interested in this field and set out to complete my studies in a way that would allow me to reach this career through High School and into University.
I attended the University of Ottawa and completed a bachelor of science with honours in geology. In my final years of University my path into exploration geology became more defined as I became more aware of the industry and its potential opportunities. Talking with professors and professionals in the industry lead me to the career I have today. Each discussion had a different influence on me and the choices I made. However, I found it important to listen to their experience.
Like most jobs in the world, as a geologist I have encountered numerous challenges and failures. What helped me get through these times was my understanding of the mining industry; its volatility and its cyclic nature. My desire to become a geologist forced me to understand what measures were needed to succeed and has kept me in this industry and thriving.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
For fun, I enjoy traveling whether it be abroad or just a few hours down the road. I also enjoy relaxing at home, cycling, running, yoga and going out to eat.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
If you are interested in becoming a geologist my advice is to stick to it! You need to focus in high school, follow the hard sciences and attend University in a science curriculum. Once in University you will be able to decide on your particular geological interest as the options present themselves to you.