By Brandyn Chum, Camp Support
I first wanted to take a heavy equipment course three years ago. When I finally got the go ahead in September 2018, I was excited and nervous. I chose 3-piece Heavy Equipment Training so I could learn how to operate a Rubber Tire Backhoe, a Bulldozer and an Excavator (my favorite). All are machines that help get big jobs done in less time and knowing how to use them will make me more useful in my job at Noront.
The course I took was at Taranis Training on the outskirts of Thunder Bay. It was five weeks long, with half the day spent in the classroom learning safety, maintenance and operating techniques and the other half on the equipment getting hands-on experience. Operating machinery is a lot of fun and really muddy!
For practical training, the instructor had all the students complete tasks with specific pieces of equipment, like digging a trench for pipes with the backhoe. We were taught how to stay safe by always wearing a hard hat, high visibility safety vest and steel toe boots while operating the machines, and to wear safety glasses and gloves when cleaning tracks. We also learned how to maintain the equipment by greasing the fittings, cleaning out tracks of mud and turning off the machine’s master power at the end of the day.
When I started out, the excavator was hard to operate, but the controls got easier with practice. I’m happy that I made the decision to take the Heavy Equipment Course. Now I have it on my resume for future opportunities and general knowledge. I recommend it for anyone who is interested in being a heavy equipment operator. This is a job that will be needed for the upcoming mine development at Noront’s Eagle’s Nest. When the mine opens, I hope to be a heavy equipment operator on the surface.