A lot has happened since the CIM Saskatoon Branch was established in 1965. From the rapid expansion of potash mining through the 1970s, to the recent breakthrough at Cameco’s Cigar Lake mining project, the region has seen a lot of action – and so has the Saskatoon Branch, which has grown to be 400-members strong and has a jam-packed technical and social program, with special emphasis on attracting students.
“I think the growth and success of Saskatchewan and the Saskatoon area has certainly contributed to the branch being so active and growing,” says past branch chair Michael Castleberry, who is production superintendent at Mosaic Potash Colonsay.
Castleberry and the Saskatoon Branch’s executive and volunteers put a lot of work into organizing activities for branch members. Each year, there are monthly technical presentations, an annual ball in November, a spring social night and a golf tournament in July. Branch members benefit from events by learning from peers and presenters at technical events and by building bonds with industry stakeholders over drinks or a friendly game of golf. “Because our members make up such a large group from the local mining industry there is a great opportunity to network at our meetings and social events,” explains Castleberry. “We are fortunate to have a great group of industry and technical experts and innovation leaders that can deliver top-notch presentations in Saskatoon and the surrounding area.”
According to Castleberry, the branch’s current priority is to involve local university students. “We are working on developing our scholarship and sponsorship committees to distribute and fund future scholarships,” he says. “We are really making strides to prepare and guide the next generation of leaders in the mining industry.”
The branch has strong ties with the academic community: members are closely linked with the University of Saskatchewan, having distributed $5,000 in scholarship funds to its students over the past year, and are focused on building stronger ties with the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST). “Future plans are to build a sustainable CIM scholarship program and to continue to look for ways to increase student involvement in our local branch,” Castleberry explains.