Saskatchewan mining companies contribute to their communities – by Carol Rogers And Barb Flynn (Regina Leader-Post – May 25, 2013)

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Saskatchewan’s mining corporations are drilling into more than just the earth. Many are becoming involved in and giving back to their communities. They are doing this in a variety of ways including by introducing educational programs, providing employment opportunities, ensuring employee safety both on and after leaving the job, and addressing child hunger as a way of promoting a healthy education and lifestyle. Here is a look at some of the ways that companies are investing in local communities.

AREVA

AREVA Resources Canada is entering an exciting phase of growth in 2013. Not only is AREVA restarting the mill at McClean Lake this summer, they are also upgrading and expanding it so they can process all the ore from the nearby Cigar Lake mine.

The key to their success? Hiring a significant number of employees to ensure they are ready for this growth and development. In 2012, AREVA launched a major recruitment campaign focused on gaining employees from northern Saskatchewan.

Because it is a competitive market with many projects underway in the province, AREVA understands that they need an innovative approach to attract and retain talent.

“Despite the challenges presented by living and working in northern Saskatchewan – including a lack of infrastructure, such as post-secondary institutions and roads – AREVA has successfully operated in the province for nearly 50 years. They continue to employ as many northerners as possible by providing training geared specifically for employment at their mine site,” said AREVA spokesperson Véronique Larlham.

First, they start with the pre-employment skills program, which gives students essential competencies such as reading, math, teamwork and computer skills to start working at McClean Lake.

Next, they created the Mill Operator training program, which provides the students with all the necessary technical and safety competencies to begin working in the mill as a utility operator.

There is also a Trades Helper program to transition employees into the trades apprenticeship program, offering them the opportunity to become certified journeypersons.

Because AREVA needs more northern and Aboriginal supervisors, they launched the onsite supervisor-in-training program. They are also preparing to launch a training program for laboratory technicians in cooperation with a provincial technical institute.

AREVA’s proactive approach to skills training and employment is paying off – among graduates of these training programs, the retention rate is over 90 per cent.

“By investing in young Aboriginal people, AREVA is meeting its operations goals to restart the mill and meet production objectives. But we are also investing in the future of our region by giving young people practical skills that they can use in their communities of residence,” explained Larlham.

Restarting the mill at McClean Lake will allow AREVA to provide uranium to fuel nuclear power plants around the world and continue to contribute to the northern economy not only through jobs, but also through contracting and service opportunities, as well as charitable donations, sponsorships of community events and scholarships for northern youths.

Claude Resources

Understanding that future achievement depends on investment today is part of the commitment of Claude Resources Inc. to their business and the communities they serve. Attracting and maintaining a well-educated and skilled workforce creates a foundation for success for both individuals and business.

Claude Resources has committed $50,000 over a five-year period to the funding of the new Mining Engineering Technology Program at the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) Kelsey Campus in Saskatoon.

That commitment also includes the establishment of the Claude Resources Awards that provide $5,000 each year for the five-year period that will be matched by the Saskatchewan Advantage Opportunity and Innovation program to create four awards of $2,500.

The awards provide bursaries, and decisions are weighted equally between academic achievement and financial need. The Claude Resources Awards are designated for, or preference is given to, students of Aboriginal ancestry.

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