Mosaic Invests in Potash Digital Skills Training for Indigenous Students

August 18, 2022


This week Mosaic’s senior leaders and board of directors were in Saskatchewan, Canada to meet with stakeholders and tour the company’s Esterhazy potash operations, where innovative technologies move potash cut by autonomous mining machines to surface and across miles of enclosed conveyor belts to two massive processing mills. Most of the process is managed from a digitally powered Integrated Operations Center (IOC). While much of the process now runs with less human intervention, behind the screens and scenes are digital experts – and their skills are in high demand in the mining industry.

Building a Talent Pipeline 

In 2020, Morris Interactive received support from the International Minerals Innovation Institute (IMII), and in consultation with Mosaic, Cowessess First Nation and other Nations, various Indigenous scholars and industry sponsors, developed training program curriculum for driven First Nations, Métis and Inuit individuals to hone their digital skills used in the potash industry.

Supporting the training program aligns with Mosaic’s bold Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) targets. Mosaic’s Esterhazy operations neighbor several First Nations communities. In 2018, Mosaic announced targets to ensure the company reflects and supports the Indigenous communities that surround our operations – aiming to increase Indigenous new hires, procurement spend and community investments by 15% by 2025

Recently, we went a step farther, strengthening their commitment to diversity and inclusion by releasing targets to increase representation of women and underrepresented groups, leadership diversity and community investment focused on diversity and inclusion initiatives globally by 30% by 2030. 

Digital Transformation in Potash Mining Training Program 

Grounded in Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action #92, the ten-week training program is built on Morris Interactive’s ten years of authentic and meaningful relationships with Indigenous and industry clients. The course is designed to be community-specific with an overall training philosophy of student success, long-term fulfilling careers, mutual respect, and shared economic benefit. 

A pilot program was hosted on, and in partnership with Cowessess First Nation and surrounding Nations in early 2022. The pilot included a two-week practicum at Mosaic’s Esterhazy operations and resulted in nine Indigenous graduates, five of which have acquired jobs in mining. Program alumni, Robert Kay Jr. says the program gave him the knowledge he needed to start a career in the potash industry, “The course helped me understand the potash mining process. I now work with Noble, a Mosaic contractor, where I often find myself sharing pieces of knowledge that I learned in the program with my colleagues.” 

An Investment in our Future Workforce 

On August 17, Mosaic held a reception where CEO and President, Joc O’Rourke and Board Chair, Greg Ebel announced a long-term investment of $1 million dollars to further expand the Digital Transformation in Potash Mining training program to more Indigenous students for the next five years. 

“Mosaic’s role in Saskatchewan is far bigger than just the potash we produce. Investing in the community is a cornerstone of how we do business,” said Joc O’Rourke. “We believe it is our responsibility to be true partners to the Indigenous communities near our operations. This is an investment in Saskatchewan, the potash industry and in Indigenous people and the communities they call home.” 

Morris Interactive’s CEO, Mathew Cey shared how this significant investment will support the program’s development, “Over the next five years, Mosaic’s investment will help us deliver collaborative, culturally appropriate, pre-employment training for driven First Nations, Métis, and Inuit individuals to prepare for careers in the potash industry. This includes mentorship, elder support, and post-course career support far beyond the ten weeks.” 

The next Digital Transformation in Potash Mining course will be delivered in partnership with the Gabriel Dumont Institute (GDI) this fall. The course will take place in Saskatoon, Treaty 6 Territory and Homeland of the Métis, with practicums at Mosaic’s Colonsay facility.  

Learn more about the Digital Transformation in Potash program here.