President & CEO’s Message
Gavin C. Dirom M.Sc., P. Ag. President & CEO, AME
We certainly had a very busy spring filled with everything from local government meetings, and our community fair and golf tournament, to an exciting provincial election! I am very proud to report that the Vote Mining 2013 campaign, industry’s non-partisan approach to the provincial election, successfully took much of the politics out of discussions about the industry. This campaign was a joint effort by AME, the Mining Association of BC, the Mining Suppliers Association of BC and the Coal Association of Canada. After completing the final count of all absentee ballots, Elections BC determined the final results of British Columbia’s May 14 general election were the BC Liberals winning 49 seats, the NDP 34 seats, the Green Party of BC one seat and an independent taking one seat. Clearly, the B.C. election was won under the umbrella of the Liberal platform “Strong Economy, Secure Tomorrow.”
Following the election, AME sent out congratulation letters to all new and returning MLAs as well as our top issues and recommendation paper for 2013. This paper outlines how successful and socially responsible exploration can be encouraged by government policy in British Columbia, especially under tough economic and competitive conditions. We know that some explorers will be very successful, many not – but the mere act of prospecting and mineral exploration improves everyone’s understanding of geology and helps people better appreciate where most of the things they use on a daily basis actually come from. The industry also injects wealth into local economies, engages community and aboriginal members in economic development opportunities, and builds long-term capacity for generations throughout every region of the province.
On June 5, Premier Christy Clark officially called a by-election for Ben Stewart’s riding of Westside-Kelowna. Clark won the by-election by a commanding margin and will now have a seat in the Legislature. The Premier announced her Cabinet in Vancouver on June 7 and Bill Bennett was appointed Minister of Energy and Mines (and responsible for Core Review). Other key appointments for the industry include Mary Polak as Minister of Environment; Steve Thomson as Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations; John Rustad as Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation; and Shirley Bond as Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training. Mike De Jong remains Minister of Finance.
AME will be closely monitoring the dynamic political scene in B.C., and we will arrange meetings with key government officials and new cabinet ministers over the next three months leading up to the busy fall period. And federally, AME will be participating in the 70th Energy & Mines Ministers Conference that will be held in late August this year in Yellowknife, NWT.
Along with a healthy dose of nostalgia, planning for AME’s Mineral Exploration Roundup 2014 conference to be held at the Westin Bayshore is well underway. The year 2014 will mark the 30th anniversary of Roundup and the last to be held at the Bayshore. As such, AME has established an ad-hoc committee to provide strategic oversight and a working level plan for the successful transition of Roundup from the Bayshore to the Vancouver Convention Centre East Facility in 2015.
As members of AME can fully appreciate, aboriginal relations and engagement continues to be a top priority area for AME, and we are preparing to host another Aboriginal Engagement Forum and Gathering Place Pavilion at Roundup. As well, the completion of AME’s new Aboriginal Engagement Guidebook will be a key deliverable for our membership this fall. Members should also be aware that AME is preparing to intervene in the Ross River Dena Council v Government of Yukon and the William v British Columbia cases, both of which are moving toward the Supreme Court of Canada. Communications on these legal issues will reflect the industry’s need for legislative and regulatory clarity, while recognizing the constitutionally enshrined rights of aboriginal peoples in Canada and the importance of developing early and respectful relationships with aboriginal communities.
Other key strategic focus areas for AME include membership engagement, public awareness and stakeholder education. During B.C. Mining Week 2013, for instance, another successful Community Fair was organized and co-hosted at Creekside Community Centre in False Creek by AME and MineralsEd. Over 400 elementary school students and members of the public enjoyed the 30 exhibits that mixed interactive educational activities with fun. Also during Mining Week, the industry celebrated the $1 million+ raised as part of Teck’s celebrity pie throw event in support of the Mining for Miracles campaign for the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.
On May 10, AME’s well-regarded Speaker Series luncheon event featured keynote speaker Ned Goodman, President and CEO of the Dundee Corporation. This sold out event with 160 registrants was AME’s final installment of the 2012/2013 Speaker Series. Then on a wet and cool May 21, AME hosted the 21st Annual Charity Golf Tournament at Mayfair Lakes Golf and Country Club in Richmond. On behalf of the AME Golf Committee, I would like to thank all 140 golfers and over 50 sponsors for their participation and support. We were very pleased to announce that just under $17,000 was raised for MineralsEd and over $1,800 was raised for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.
On behalf of the staff and board of AME, I thank the hundreds of volunteers and thousands of members of the Association for their valuable support and contributions in making AME one of the best industry advocacy associations for mineral exploration and development in the world. Finally, please remember to have a safe day, every day, wherever this quarterly message finds you!
Gavin C. Dirom, M.Sc., P. Ag.
President & CEO
Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia