Back to School: Building Opportunities at Lamaque

At Eldorado Gold, we believe strongly in building opportunities in the communities we operate in to enrich lives.

In our 2nd post of the Back to School series, we learn more about two unique initiatives that our team at Lamaque, in Val-d’Or, Quebec, have undertaken, aimed at sharing knowledge and experience with students to equip them with appropriate skills and knowledge for careers in mining.

Stoping School

Each year, Lamaque welcomes approximately 4-8 student-cohorts enrolled in the Diploma of Mineral Extraction program at the local Vocational Training Center in Val-d’Or, to learn about stoping at our underground mine. The diploma program, which spans over six months, includes four months of on-the-job experience, and aims to achieve the following objectives:

  • Learn and develop trade skills;
  • Aid in the integration into the workforce;
  • Foster personal and professional development; and
  • Ensure students are learning skills that can be applied across the industry.

What is stoping?

Stoping is the process of extracting the desired ore or other mineral from an underground mine, leaving behind an open space known as a stope.
Longhole production stoping at Lamaque.
Longhole production stoping at Lamaque
Lamaque, along with other mining companies in the region, host students from the different cohorts throughout the year. Students are assigned to various sites to complete their hands-on training, and also take part in a two to three-week job shadowing, accompanying miners underground to learn hands-on about stoping.

Students are given the opportunity to experience the reality of the profession and what life is like working in an underground mine. During their onsite training, students also benefit from training in occupational health & safety from our onsite expert trainers.

Following the completion of their diploma, most students go on to become production and development miners.

“As an employer, the program is a beneficial recruitment tool, as it allows our team the opportunity to see potential recruits in action and identify the unique skills and attitude that is taken to run a successful mine,” says Sylvain Lehoux, General Manager at Eldorado Gold Lamaque.

Participating students in the 2019 stoping program.
Participating students in the 2019 stoping program

Lac Simon Anishnabe First Nation, Quebec: Pilot Project

In collaboration with the Regional Center for Adult Education (CRÉA) Kitci-Amik Center and the Lac Simon Anishnabe Nation, a neighbouring First Nation community, Eldorado Gold Lamaque welcomed five students onsite for eight weeks this summer.

3 of the 5 students at the production core shack onsite at Lamaque.
3 of the 5 students at the production core shack onsite at Lamaque

The program is a great opportunity to see the different roles and responsibilities there are at each mine site. Students are integrated into the workplace and get an understanding of the operations, health & safety standards, and schedule of an operating mine.

Students in the program are registered for their DEP (professional educational diploma) in either Ore Extraction or Mineral Processing for Ore Treatment at the Vocational Training Center in Val-d’Or. Before starting their hands-on experience, the CRÉA Kitci-Amik Center provides introduction training about entering the workforce, helping to ready each of the students. During their eight-week summer program, student trainees worked at the surface in the geology core shack and the warehouse at the mine site.

In addition to invaluable hands-on training, it is a good employment opportunity as the students earn a salary while training.

 “We intend to continue this program for years to come. These types of programs generate tangible benefits for us, and for the surrounding communities, from improving educational outcomes for youth to increasing the talent pool in the local region and building economic capacity,” says Joël Gauthier, Senior Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility at Lamaque.

This pilot project is an evolution of a training program we developed in 2018 with our community and vendor partners. Learn more about the 2018 program on the blog – check it out here.

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