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Bryan Wilson

General Manager, North American Palladium, Lac Des Iles Mine

I was born/grew up in: I was born in Guelph and grew up in Regina

I now live in: Sudbury

I completed my training/education at: I started my career as a labourer in the mining industry, literally breaking rock with a hammer. Then moving into learning how to mine, into supervision and the rest is history

Describe what you do at work.

The mines we work in, start off with a good engineered plan, the Mine Engineers use the data from the Geologists to form a mine plan and design. The engineers calculate the ventilation required for the personal and equipment required to mine the Ore Body. Once the mine design is made the Ground Control Engineers help determine the best design, shapes and support for the mine as well, design the Micro Seismic system to monitor the movement of the rock. The technical team works on the detailed design and then hands the plans over to the operations.

The miners and tradesman then execute the mining plan, building, mining and breaking the rock, sending it to surface to begin the milling and smelting process. The future of mining is moving more towards automation and information tracking, this requires a fibre backbone to be installed and then a WiFi system that runs off of the fibre. Operating a safe mine is a constant calculation of cost per ton, tons delivered to the mill, ore recoveries and return on investment.

When I was a student I enjoyed:

How does your job affect people’s lives?

My job affects people's lives in a number of ways:

  • 450 jobs for people in Northwestern Ontario in many different disciplines (spin off jobs from that)
  • We mine Palladium that is used in the production of Catalytic converters on automobiles
  • The product we produce helps clean the air we breathe
  • We work with the First Nations Communities within the region

What motivates you in your career?

I have been working in the mining industry for a long time, I love working with people. I have work with amazing men and women from all over Canada and they are still teaching me about mining after 28 years. I can honestly say, I still enjoy getting up and going to work, Mining is challenging, driving safety to new levels, meeting production goals and looking for innovative ways to improve, make this job interesting. But with all of that being said, blasting rock and feeling the ground tremor beneath your feet gets my blood pumping!

When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:

Describe your career path to this career.

After high school, I drove truck for a few years, it taught me how to operate and look after equipment. I entered into a mining program called common core and received training for the basic mining skills that allowed me to get into mining. I began mining in a small gold mine in North Western Ontario, and stayed in the Red Lake area for 14 years. From Red Lake, I moved to Sudbury and started mining in Nickel/Copper, this is where I began supervising. I worked in different mining zones gaining experience in many types of mining. Spending time in Human Resources helped further educate me, I then moved to a brand new world class mine in the Sudbury Basin as a General Foreman.

Being involved with setting up and building a new mine was absolutely a fabulous experience! After the Sudbury Basin, I moved onto Lac Des Iles mine which is where we are today. Life has been full of ups and downs, but for every down there is an up right around the corner. This career path has been challenging, but staying positive and continuing to learn has made it possible for me to be where I am today.

What activities do you like to do outside of work?

Outside of work, I like to work with my hands, I burn stress by keeping active biking, kayaking, snowshoeing etc. I love reading and traveling to new destinations to hike (visited Machu Pichu in Peru), next trip, bike the Cabot Trail!

What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?

My words of advice to anyone wanted to get into the mining field would be, to stay in school, focus on sciences and maths

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