Manitoba like many other areas of Canada is experiencing a surge in mineral exploration, with many companies actively planning or conducting exploration projects. This year it is projected that nearly $100 million will be spent on exploration in the province searching for precious metals like Gold and Platinum and base metals such as Copper, Nickel and Zinc.
With this increased activity comes an increased demand for experienced prospectors to stake mineral claims, cut claim grids, conduct ground prospecting and carry out other work that prospectors have traditionally done. This is a high period or boom time in the exploration cycle and as a result it is becoming harder for companies to hire experienced and reliable prospecting crews.
Many companies that offer prospecting services are themselves finding it hard to hire workers that have experience or whom are trainable and exhibit the characteristics suitable to the job. This creates a situation were project operators are booking prospecting crews several weeks if not months in advance in order to help ensure a reliable work crew.
Personnel that rise to the challenge of working in remote areas, staying in bush camps and working in changing weather conditions have always been difficult to find, particularly new people that will make it a career. At this time of high demand they are even harder to find and the experienced ones are already employed and established in life preferring to be more selective where they work.
On the surface there may appear to be more people entering the profession. Many hire on for "training trials" and to try the job out, but the level of new recruits is quite small and most lack formal or on the job training, while others prefer different lines of work in the long term picture. As a result some companies have had to contract out of province crews to meet time frames and retain experienced prospectors.
Fortunately we have recently seen newer prospecting companies started in the province, by experienced owners / operators. These companies have initiated their own training and recruitment programs that provide for good pay rates and benefits in order to attract and retain reliable people.