TD Bank provided $ 150,000 to help Cambrian College in Sudbury train heavy equipment mechanics in the mining industry in the use of electric vehicles.
The funds will support the college’s battery-electric vehicle training program and provide training equipment and resources for industry workers to upgrade their skills.
Like the auto industry, the mining sector has seen a recent shift to more electric vehicles, phasing out diesel vehicles that have been used underground for decades.
Steve Gravel, director of Cambrian’s Center for Smart Mining, said it was the industry that approached the college to offer the new training program.
“They came to us and said, ‘Look, we see a lack of skills developing,” said Gravel.
The eight-day course will be offered to heavy-duty equipment mechanics already working in the mining industry.
Gravel said much of the training focuses on safety.
“We spend a good portion of the course talking about how to interact with high voltage and when to call an electrician,” he said. “There is a greater risk of fire with certain battery technologies, and this is something the industry is coming to terms with.”
Cambrian has partnered with MacLean Engineering, a company that designs and manufactures underground mining equipment, to provide the training. The company has an underground test mine in Sudbury where students can practice on their equipment.
“It’s really critical in the transition, because you can build and craft the equipment, but getting operator adoption and helping mines transition safely is a conversation that didn’t really take place in along with the development and adoption of the technology, ”said Stella Holloway, vice president of northern Ontario operations at MacLean Engineering, in a press release.
While the program is limited to professional development at this time, Gravel said some of the content will end up in Cambrian’s auto and heavy mechanics programs.
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