That first co-op job can be a doozy. When Kyle Murray landed his at BHP Billiton Diamonds, he had to leave his cozy Waterloo life and head north – almost 5000 kilometres north, to the EKATI diamond mine.Kyle spent his winter on the isolated tundra, 300 km northeast of Yellowknife, working in EKATI’s environment department. He assisted with a variety of field, lab, and office activities, such as extracting water samples and documenting spills.
While that work may sound routine enough, life in a tundra environment can turn even ordinary activities into new challenges. “The clothing required to venture outside in minus 40°C weather is very bulky,” says Kyle. “Goose down filled parkas, large snow pants, as well as multiple pairs of mitts. Trooping up and down a few flights of stairs wearing all that can tire you out quite quickly.”
The cold takes its toll on equipment, too. Working in the field, Kyle quickly realized this, and conducted independent work on the effects of cold weather on the accuracy of field instrumentation – an effort which allowed him to mesh the practical aspects of his job into a unique research study.
Adapted from a Co-operative Education and Career Services newsletter.