In 2020 Jared Cheverie attained an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo and faced the daunting prospect of looking for work during the global pandemic.

Cheverie had begun a Master’s program online when he ran across an article titled “Canadian mining companies go begging!” The article chronicled the shortage of employees in Canada’s critical mining sector.

Cheverie decided to explore the possibility of working in the mining industry. He quickly was hired by Teck Resources one of Canada’s leading mining companies as a metallurgist. He now works at the Red Dog Mine, a high-grade zinc deposit in a remote region of Northwest Alaska about 170 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle. Red Dog Mine is one of the world’s largest producers of zinc and the largest critical minerals operations in the U.S.

Zinc ore

Cheverie describes his role as a metallurgist as “someone who takes the chocolate chips out of the chocolate chip cookie.” After crushing and grinding the ore to a fine size, the mill adds various reagents and surfactants to make the minerals hydrophobic, a condition which favours their separation from the ore. As a metallurgist, Cheverie helps set and maintain operating parameters for optimal mill performance and helps troubleshoot issues in the field.

 “I love how much of my chemical engineering fundamentals I’m applying to my work. The knowledge of microscale surface chemistry, fluid mechanics and heat and mass transfer are all concepts that I learned for my undergrad degree and that have been extremely useful for my work in this industry,” says Cheverie.

According to Cheverie the best part of his job is the adventure of living and working in one of the most remote regions on the planet!

He has also had the opportunity to become acquainted with Iñupiat culture. The Iñupiat are the indigenous people of the Northern Alaska region. Many of his coworkers are from Iñupiat communities which have a strong focus on family and community that spills over into work and has created a real sense of belonging for Cheverie!

Cheverie is thriving and enjoying a direct application of his chemical engineering degree that is truly hands-on, working in the field of mineral processing.

Cheverie has advice for current and future chemical engineering undergraduate students.

“Stick with it. Dedicate yourself to the work and your studies and when you graduate you never know what doors will open for you,” says Cheverie.

When Cheverie started studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo, he never imagined his degree would take him to a distant, breathtaking frontier and on the adventure of a lifetime!