Chrystine Patoine (She/Her)
I was born/grew up in: Saint-Eustache, Québec
I now live in: Squamish, British Columbia
I completed my training/education at: Polytechnique Montréal, Bachelor of Mining Engineering
What I do at work
Right now, I work in a mining camp north of Yellowknife, in a diamond mine. My schedule is 14 days at camp, and then 14 days at home. I prepare drilling and blasting maps with specialized design software. In other words, I decide where to place the explosives so we can reach the ore safely. I go to the field to evaluate blasting results and to inspect active job sites.
I use my engineering and math background as well as my experience when I plan where blasting can take place. I work with other teams as I do this. I present an initial design to the technical group for review. This group includes such people as geologists, geotechnical engineers, ventilation engineers and mine planners. Each brings special knowledge about mining. They may ask questions or suggest changes. As a team we develop the best plan for where blasting should take place.
I work closely with mining operations and take part in operational meetings on a daily basis. These meetings keep everyone up to date with the mining plan and sequence we are following as we extract the ore.
Each day I meet with the drillers and blasters (people who do the blasting work) before the start of their shift. I do this to explain my designs and to make sure everything is done safely.
My academic background has helped me greatly with the work I do today. I had a lot of teamwork experience at university. Often there was pressure to hand over assignments on short notice. This allowed me to develop my ability to cooperate and my ability to manage my priorities. While French is my first language, for work I use English.
My career path is
I did not know anything about mining engineering when I was in high school. It was during my studies at CEGEP that a friend told me about mining engineering. After doing some research, I saw that the mining field had a very good placement rate after university. I also learned that the average salary was very good.
Mining engineering is an industry that depends on market flows. In some years there will be a lot of work. In other years, there may be less. During my first university years, it was very difficult for me to find an internship. When the market picked up, I was able to find an internship more easily in the following years. I did four internships during my school program. These were all paid positions which helped me pay for my studies.
I am motivated by
I like working in a team to solve technical problems. What is most interesting for me is working with people from all over and being able to reach a consensus. I am also part of the mine rescue team. If an accident occurs on site, I must answer the call to help if needed.
I also love to travel, and the 14 days on/14 days off schedule allows me to go wherever I want during my leave. I can say that I only work half the year!
How I affect peoples’ lives
My job is relevant because it helps keep everyone safe. Since my job involves explosives, I must make sure that my blasting pattern can be carried out without risk to the workers. To do this, I follow the Mine Health and Safety Act – Northwest Territories.
Outside of work I
During my time off, I ski in the winter and hike and climb in the summer.
My advice to others
In Quebec, most mining jobs are located in Val-d'Or, Rouyn-Noranda, or Thetford Mines. If you want to work in the mining industry, you should expect that you will be working far from major urban centres. Most jobs in this sector are located in the Far North of Quebec and Canada, or in the oil sands in Alberta. There are also many positions available outside Canada. If you like to travel and don’t mind having an unusual work schedule, mining engineering is a good option.
- Foreign Languages
- Literature and Language Arts
- Physical Education/Health
- Brought people together
- Always wanted to be outside
- Liked helping people
- Played on a sports team
- Was motivated by success
- Wanted to be in charge
- Liked reading
- Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
- Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades
- Wasn’t sure what I wanted to do
- Liked to take things apart to see how they worked
- Learned best “by doing”
- Liked to design or build things