Francis Bellerose is a stope miner, also called an underground miner. He studied at the Centre de formation professionnelle in Val-d’Or during a period of eight months to obtain his Vocational School Diploma in mining. However, his training did not end there. During his employment at IAMGOLD, he completed a 120-day field training course under the supervision of a more experienced miner. “The course is an introduction to the groundwork, but it is in the mines that we learn the basics of the trade,” he states.
Francis is part of a mining team which initiates the process of extracting the rock and the ore from the earth. Stope miners work underground using sophisticated machines and equipment in order to ensure the ground is secure to drill the rock which contains the minerals and metals sought in preparation for blasting. Other members of the team are in charge of blasting and moving the rock. “To do this type of work, you need good physical endurance, resourcefulness and the ability to work alone for long periods of time. And you definitely cannot be claustrophobic,” says Francis.
Francis enjoys his work because he likes to keep moving and to be physically active. According to Francis, “The 10-hour work shift is over quickly. There is always something to do and I am never bored.” He also realizes that if there ever came a time when he could no longer do this job, there are other opportunities in the mines for work that is less physically demanding. Because of the diverse employment options it offers, Francis foresees a career in the mining industry.