International Minerals Innovation Institute

Mining Futures Award

The purpose of IMII’s Mining Futures Award is to recognize undergraduate students enrolled in the one of three mining options – chemical, geological and mechanical, in the College of Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan who have developed a plan to succeed in the workplace following graduation.

IMII’s support was instrumental in the establishment of the mining options in the College of Engineering, having providing funding of $1.2 million for the development of new courses and the hiring of new faculty to teach in these three disciplines. The Mining Futures Award recognizes IMII’s minerals company members continued commitment to the options as a path into careers in mining.

About the Award

IMII committed $60,000 for five years for the Award. The $12,000 value ($6,000 per semester) was to provide for tuition, books and fees.

The recipients were determined by the Dean of the College of Engineering on the basis of academic performance and a written submission outlining the skills the applicant has developed in order to be successful in the minerals industry today and in the future.


2023 – 2024 Recipient

Congratulations to this year’s recipient, Mila Szautner!     

My name is Mila Szautner and I have just completed my third year of Geological Engineering with the Mining Option at the University of Saskatchewan and I have recently been settling into my 16-month mine engineering work term at Nutrien Cory Potash. Throughout my time in university, I have competed twice in the Canadian Mining Games on the USask team and had the incredible opportunity to act as a co-captain for the 2024 competition. I am also an active member of the Geological Engineering Student Society at USask and have been an executive member since 2023. I believe engaging with student groups throughout one’s entire university experience is important, as they provide a sense of community, an opportunity to mentor and give back to younger students, and invaluable experiences and development. 

I am very honored and grateful to receive the IMII Mining Futures Award. Receiving this award not only provides valuable financial support for my educational journey but also validates and encourages my efforts in pursuing a career in the mining industry. As a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field, this award’s impact extends beyond my own education; it serves as an example for other women considering careers in mining and engineering and shows that our contributions are valued and supported.

Looking ahead at my future in the mining industry, I am particularly drawn to career opportunities that take me into the field and spending time on site. The interdisciplinary environment of a mine site is one that I feel will develop my competencies and skills in a very well-rounded fashion. I am keen to explore opportunities in all things mine engineering, whether that is ventilation, rock mechanics, planning, and more.

Thank you once again for this incredible honor and for the dedication IMII shows to foster diversity and inclusion in the mining sector. I am more excited than ever for what my future in this industry has in store and to utilize my education and experience to make a meaningful contribution.

Past Winners:

2022 – 2023: Keira Heinbigner, Geological Engineering, University of Saskatchewan – video below

2021 – 2022:  Paige Perras, Chemical Engineering, University of Saskatchewan – News Release

2020 – 2021:  Jodi Boser, Geological Engineering, University of Saskatchewan – News Release

2019 – 2020:  Makayla Scheller, Geological Engineering, University of Saskatchewan – News Release