International Minerals Innovation Institute

The Digital Transformation in Potash Mining Program 

IMII strongly believes in education and diversity, both key motivations behind the decision to fund the creation of the Digital Transformation in Potash Mining education program. The program, developed by Morris Interactive, is a ten-week course that helps First Nations, Metis, and Inuit students develop the competences to gain meaningful careers in the mining industry. 

This program was launched as a pilot-project in January 2022, on, and in partnership with Cowessess First Nation. The pilot was a great success, so the program continued!

What Is the Digital Transformation in Potash Mining Program? 

Through collaboration between Morris Interactive, Cowessess First Nation, and Mosaic, the Digital Transformation in Potash Mining: Cowessess Edition was tailor-made to meet the needs of the community and the potash mining industry. We funded the establishment of this initiative as it aligned with two of our central tenants; education & training and diversity & inclusion

The program embarked with its first cohort of students, each spending eight weeks in the classroom and two weeks on-site at a Mosaic mine. The classroom portion covered interview skills, foundational automation skills using high-end computers, resume building specific to the mining industry. 

The on-site practicum, hosted by Mosaic’s K2 Esterhazy mine site, gave students real-world experience in mining operations, the importance of safety, and other practical skills. 

Of this first group, nine graduated, and six went on to work in mining-specific careers. We were so pleased to see these bright, capable people enter the mining industry! Success! 

What Are the Goals of the Program?

This program has many goals that all lead back to the pursuit of building a stronger, more innovative mining industry, including: 

Creating opportunities for meaningful, long-term careers. We want to provide the tools and opportunities for young Indigenous individuals to join the mining workforce. Our focus is on careers, not just jobs. We want our graduates to foster their interests, grow their skills, and build a greater quality of life for themselves, their families, and their communities. It’s not just about graduating—it’s about building long-term careers. 

The partnership with Mosaic, combined with the innovative industry sponsorship model of the program truly leads to opportunity for the participants. Mosaic hosts the on-site practicums for the program, providing invaluable experiences in the context of a potash mine. The industry sponsorship model engages mining supply chain organizations who share the same visions and pursuits of the program. The sponsoring organizations range greatly, all with different reasons for supporting the students. These companies visit the students in the classroom and present about their respective fields, and the career opportunities available. Nearing the end of the program a career day is hosted, giving the students the opportunity to interview with them. Some are offered a job that day! And that’s what it’s all about—creating connections and careers. 

Building relationships with Indigenous communities. This program was created with Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action #92, Economic Reconciliation, in mind. The program has run twice, with the pilot held on Cowessess First Nation and a subsequent iteration in Saskatoon later in 2022. The Saskatoon iteration, done in partnership with Gabriel Dumont Institute, graduated ten students in December of 2022—five of whom have already joined the mining industry in different capacities. The program has received applications from individuals residing in Treaties 4, 5, and 6. 

Encouraging an innovative and diverse mining industry. IMII strongly believes in innovation and growth for the mining industry, and the best way to achieve that is by welcoming people with new ideas. Diversity of backgrounds, perspectives, cultures, and education contribute to innovation, new ideas, and a more diversified mining industry.

What’s Next For the Program? 

The program has been such a success in its brief existence that it will continue! Through sustained partnership with Morris Interactive, we are excited to watch the previous graduates prosper and the future students realize their full potential.
The application for the next Saskatoon edition program closed on January 24, 2023 with 298 interested applicants applying from across the province. If you’re interested in a future career in mining, we’d love to see you apply for the August program that will be run on Cowessess First Nation!