I, like most people around the world, find myself in a government enforced quarantine in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Social distancing may become the new normal as our busy lives are put on hold and we patiently wait for the lockdown to be lifted 

To comply with government regulations, many industries have shut down or drastically reduced their personnel, and the mining industry is no exception.  While the newspaper headlines and television news have focused on the thousands of service workers who have lost their jobs, the impact of COVID-19 on the mining industry appears to be just as devastating. Mines around the world have furloughed personnel, reduced exploration activities to a bare minimum, or have placed their mines under temporary care and maintenance. In addition, commodity prices have tumbled, and a great uncertainty, not seen since the financial crisis of 2008, has settled over every part of the mining industry. 

Having worked as a geologist in the mining industry for nearly 15 years, I have experienced the rollercoaster nature of this industry. The advice I can give my fellow geologists and mining engineers is: “do not panic, this is not forever, but make the best use of your free time”.  The circumstances behind the industry’s current downturn differ greatly from previous situations. This is of little comfort to the sting of losing one’s job or the anxiety that comes with watching countless mine sites shut down.  It is not yet clear how and when conditions will go back to normal in the industry, but the best thing for us to do right now is to maximize our free time. There is a plethora of free learning tools being made available online right now.  

 Devoting some of our quarantine time to self-educate makes sense. Learning a new skill can you give a sense of control and help bolster your career during this economic uncertainty. It takes no more than a simple google search to find free classes and free webinars. We, at Promine, are now offering free webinars to our users on a weekly basis so that they can better hone their Promine skills or get to know new modules that will be useful in their operations. Other great resources have popped up for geologists and mining engineers, such as oredepositshub.com, which offers weekly industry related lectures as a means of filling the void left by conferences and meetings cancelled due to COVID-19. Another good source for industry professionals is The American Geoscience Institute, which offers free webinars on a variety of topics from career development to scientific topics of interests. 

Regardless of your interests or current employment status, it is an ideal time to take advantages of all the free resources available for industry professionals. The quest to learn a new skill or discipline is the perfect way to adapt of our new normal. You might just come out of this with a great new skill, or a much better understanding of a software program you already use on your worksite. 

Robin Montufar