The New Normal: Returning to Site

Roydon Spence

Webequie First Nation

Job Position:
Geotech/Lead Soil Sampler

What do you do at Noront?

When I first started, I was a Field Assistant and did various jobs around camp and in the field. In 2019, I was promoted to Geotech. Now I help with core logging, which is a detailed process that involves reviewing core, taking readings, entering data and other fun stuff.

It’s great to have more responsibility. We recently completed a soil sampling project and I was the Team Lead. I worked with two other guys and they looked to me for leadership and knowledge about the terrain and the tasks we were assigned.

How has COVID affected you?

I was in Mexico when the lockdown started. That was a bit stressful because we had to come back early and quarantine at home for 2 weeks. I was able to get a bunch of projects done around the house and spend some quality time with my wife, but I was really looking forward to getting back to work so I could tell my co-workers about my trip. I was also disappointed that our long-awaited honeymoon to Paris and Greece had to be cancelled.

Did things seem different when you came back to work after COVID?

Yes, there were a lot of measurements in place to keep us safe. Like splitting going to the kitchen in two shifts for meals and wearing masks inside buildings and on the shuttle, airplane and helicopter where social distancing isn’t possible. But things went well! We finished the gold soil sampling program on schedule and more importantly, we were safe! It was a bit tough the first few days, because we had to get back in shape and we were working in summer temperatures, so we felt the effects of the heat at times. But, we beat the heat by getting started early and getting as much work done as we could during the cool crisp morning.

What’s a typical day for you?

I get up at about 5 or 6am, have breakfast and fill out an FLRA Form while I sip some delicious, hot tea. Then I organize our equipment for the day and head out to work. When I’m finished, I like to hit up the fitness room but with the safety measurements in place only one person can use it at a time…so I try to beat the other guys there in the evening.

What part of your job do you like best?

I really enjoy working in the Core Shack with Geoff and Matt. They both have a wealth of knowledge about geology and I learn something new and exciting from them every day.

How do you see your future as Noront transitions into a mine?

It’s really exciting. I would love to work in a senior role…like Head Geotech or as a heavy equipment operator. Working at Esker really opened my eyes to other roles that I may want to try. Driller’s Helper would also be great… I’m determined to move up to a driller position in a couple years, so I took a driller’s surface & underground course last year. But Noront will always be my first choice.