President & CEO’s Message
Gavin C. Dirom M.Sc., P. Ag. President & CEO, AME
As always, the spring was busy for AME members and staff as we represented the Association at the Kamloops Exploration Group conference, CIM/Mining Week in Vancouver, Minerals North in Vanderhoof and Resources North Association conference in Prince George, in addition to attending local government conferences throughout BC. We also had a booth at Cambridge House International’s Canadian Investor Conference recently held in Vancouver to build awareness of AME’s Mineral Exploration Roundup conference as well as announce the alignment of Roundup conference dates with those of the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference starting in 2016. And we hosted two AME member events in the spring: on May 27 we held our 22nd annual Golf Tournament, which raised $22,000 for the Northwest Community College School of Exploration & Mining, and on May 30, we hosted a sold-out Speaker Series luncheon event featuring Tom Isaac as keynote speaker.
On May 22, AME welcomed the provincial government’s announcement to commit $3 million in new funding for Geoscience BC. The Honourable Bill Bennett, BC Minister of Energy and Mines, made the announcement at the Minerals North 2014 conference in Vanderhoof. Geoscience BC was formed in 2005 following the provincial government’s announcement at AME’s Mineral Exploration Roundup 2005 of $25 million in funding, and was the result of advocacy work led by AME’s Geoscience Committee. The provincial government provided further funding of $11 million for Geoscience BC in May 2011.
AME continues to actively participate in government consultations about proposed application fees for Mines Act permits. AME has held the position that prospecting and exploration activities should be exempt from any such fees because these activities produce no revenue for prospectors and explorers; no other jurisdiction charges exploration permit fees; and such fees would be counter-productive to encouraging more investment in prospecting and exploring for new deposits in BC. To date, permit fees have not been determined, although the government has already indicated that some exploration activities would be exempt. We have also recommended that the BC Government rebuild the Ministry of Energy and Mines, including re-incorporation of First Nation consultation, by allocating an additional $10 million annually to address permitting and regulatory issues in a timely manner.
As well, AME has continued to advocate government that the cost of industry consulting, or engaging, with First Nations be considered a qualifying expense eligible under the BC Mining Exploration Tax Credit, especially given that it is the duty of the Crown to consult First Nations. Related to this recommendation, AME is working with the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada to approach the federal government about clarifying the guidance policy from the Canadian Revenue Agency regarding eligible Canadian Exploration Expenses.
On June 7, construction of the Northwest Transmission Line was completed and members of AME BC are excitedly anticipating it to serve the power needs of communities along the Highway 37 corridor as well as Imperial Metals Corporation’s Red Chris mine, which is scheduled to begin production over the summer. As a reminder, the Northwest Transmission Line was a focus of partnership and advocacy work by AME and the Northwest Power Line Coalition.
As many of you are aware, on June 26, the Supreme Court of Canada released its judgment that Aboriginal title over the land area as requested by the Tsilhqot’in Nation in the William case is granted, but that provincial laws and regulations still apply on the land. While this is a complex and precedent-setting case that will require further review, the path forward is for the federal and provincial governments to continue consulting with the Tsilhqot’in Nation. The outcome of such consultation will enable further investment from the mineral exploration and development industry that will create jobs and shared economic opportunity for all British Columbians, including the people of the Tsilhqot’in Nation.
On June 28, Avanti Mining received environmental approval from the federal government for its Kitsault molybdenum mining project. Avanti said the project, which is located in northwestern British Columbia’s Nass region, would begin construction in 2014 and have a 14-year lifespan, supporting up to 300 full-time jobs. Earlier in June, the company announced it had entered into an agreement with the Nisga’a Nation regarding the project. Less well known, but also noteworthy, the BC Ministry of Energy and Mines issued a Mines Act permit to Banks Island Gold for its Yellow Giant mine in March, which should support 90 full-time jobs.
As I write, staff and committees are preparing for Mineral Exploration Roundup 2015 under the Canada Place sails at the Vancouver Convention Centre East from January 26 to January 29, 2015. We look forward to unveiling the program for the conference over the coming months. We are also looking forward to hosting the Old Timers’ summer luncheon on July 23.
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. 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