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Top university mining minds compete at 2015 Canadian Mining Games

Watch above: A national competition comes to Saskatoon for the first time in 25 years. Aaron Streck introduces us to the Canadian University Mining games and finds out what is the purpose of the contest.

SASKATOON – It’s the academic Olympics of mining engineering. What started out as four teams of post-secondary engineering students 25 years ago, has evolved into 10 schools competing for Canadian Mining Games gold.

“It’s the closest thing I think to simulating a real life situation,” said 2015 Canadian Mining Games co-chair Tanner Edwards.

“It tests students, how they are able to adapt and react to changing circumstances.”

This is the first year the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) has hosted the games.

Fourth-year geological engineering student Kurtis Pegg is captaining this year’s U of S team. In his second year of the games, he’s hoping to do what no other captain of the program has done before, lead them to victory.

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“Most of the programs are actual mining programs and we’re actually a geological engineering program, so we don’t have the advantages as some of the schools do but we actually are in our school getting a couple programs in, like a mine design program we just got in and a ventilation class,” said Pegg.

READ MORE: Saskatoon-based company hopes to bring unique potash mine to Sask.

Win or lose it gives competitors an idea of where they stack up against the rest.

“Well this definitely gives us a lot of hands on experience, in the classroom its mostly books and text books and things, this really gives us a chance to apply our skills which I think is really beneficial for entering into the mining industry,” said Queen’s University mining engineering student Amanda Lewis.

While competitors flex their mining muscle in 24 events, companies are in the stands scouting prospects.

“In times of mining slow downs we might not be actively looking for talent but we’re always on the lookout for what can come next because things turn fairly quickly so it’s nice to have those connections,” said Mary Goodchild, with J.S. Redpath Ltd.

“There’s only so many answers to a problem and it’s really nice when someone takes a different perspective at it and a different approach,” said Edwards.

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The three days of the games wrap up Saturday when the hardware is handed out.

The 2015 Canadian Mining Games costs over $230,000, which is covered by mining sponsors.