Diamonds Do Good and Mine Training Society Help Students in Canada’s Northwest Territories
October 19, 2021
If you live in Canada’s frozen Northwest Territories, you probably know more than the average person about diamond mining, through sheer proximity to its trio of major mines.
And mining has been a way of life since the early 1990s in this icy, breathtakingly beautiful region. Geologists Chuck Fipke and Stewart Blusson found 81 small diamonds at Lac de Gras in the Northwest Territories in 1991, kicking off a diamond rush that culminated in the creation of the Ekati diamond mine, Canada’s first. By 2004, “claim posts were placed in the ground at every quarter mile to surround more than 70 million acres in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut,” according to the Government of the Northwest Territories.
Canada is currently the third largest diamond producer (by value) in the world, after Botswana and Russia, largely due to the diamond industry in the Northwest Territories.
Still, working in mining and mine-adjacent industries requires special training, which is where the Mine Training Society comes in. A partnership between Canada’s Aboriginal governments, public government and the diamond industry, the Mine Training Society has been helping to educate and mentor students in Canada’s Northwest Territories in mining and mining-related jobs since its inception in 2003. Its efforts have been so effective, the organization currently facilitates over 5% of the total local labor force in the region.
The Mine Training Society partners with diamond industry nonprofit Diamonds Do Good every year to select a handful of student scholarship recipients, courtesy of Diamonds Go Good—to pursue either trades training in mining or other industries, or post-secondary education in business, management, STEM, health care, or mental health fields.
Last week, the partner organizations announced the 2021 scholarship recipients, Here are the impressive local students who will each receive $5,000 to further their studies:
++ Devin Catholique of Lutsel K’e: The 19-year-old is currently enrolled in a Heavy Equipment Operator training program with Aurora College and hopes to begin a career in the Northwest Territories’ diamond mine industry when he graduates.
++ Lindsey Mailloux of Yellowknife: The 21-year-old nursing student is in her third year at Aurora College. She hopes to work as a nurse in northern communities, mine sites, and correctional complexes, and someday become a nurse practitioner.
++ Trevor Marlowe of Lutsel K’e: The 30-year-old is currently enrolled at the University of Lethbridge studying computer science. He wants to provide training and seminars to local community members in Lutsel K’e “with the hope of sparking joy in others to learn more about problem solving and modern career options available to them,” according to Diamonds Do Good.
Scholarship recipient Nancy Ngo on the job
++ Nancy Ngo of Yellowknife: The 24-year-old recently completed her Bachelor of Science degree with a specialization in Earth Sciences and a minor in Canadian and Indigenous Studies at Carleton University. She’s currently enrolled in Queen’s University’s Certificate in Mining Technologies program, and was recently approved as a member of NAPEG as a Geologist in Training. Her long-term goal “is to achieve professional designation as a Professional Geoscientist and work for the betterment of the North and the northern economy.”
++ Courtney Vital of Deline: The 28-year-old is a graduate of the Bachelor of Child Studies program with a major in Early Learning and Child Care from Mount Royal University. She’s been accepted into the Addictions Counselling program at the University of Lethbridge, and plans to use her education and training to “improve the health of her community by establishing a cultural healing camp in Deline.”