President & CEO’s Message
Gavin C. Dirom M.Sc., P. Ag. President & CEO, AME
We know times are tough for most AME members, but we also know that the mineral exploration and development industry is comprised of smart, strong and innovative people who will not only survive, but will prosper yet again. Even with the downturn, since September 2014, AME corporate membership has grown from 291 to 407 as of October 2015. As an association and as advocates for the industry, we will continue to work hard to protect and promote the interests of our members.
Successful Exploration: Given the very challenging and prolonged investment climate members have been facing, AME has established a Taxation, Securities and Investment Committee to develop expertise and provide fiscal policy recommendations, support and guidance to the industry. For example, see AME’s submission to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services for BC’s provincial 2016 budget: http://bit.ly/1MtL5Tu.
And AME has continued to advocate on our members’ behalf about land access and use issues in all regions of the province. In principle, we believe that a strong mineral exploration and development industry and a healthy environment are not mutually exclusive. However, based on inconsistent government land use decisions over the last few years, access to mineral resources in large areas of the mineral zone is eroding, contrary to earlier policy pronouncements by government and public land use plan commitments.
Recent land access and use challenges include: the north and central coast of BC, south Chilcotin region, areas southeast of Prince George, the south Okanagan, the Sheslay area; and the transboundary area between Alaska and BC. To improve the industry’s engagement with Alaskan communities and build stronger relationships, AME has launched a Transboundary Relations Committee. And we have made it clear that this is not the time to call on Ottawa and Washington, DC, to invoke the International Joint Commission, especially when discussions continue to be productive between neighbouring jurisdictions. In August, we made this known far and wide to audiences both in BC and Alaska; see our widely published op-ed on this issue at http://bit.ly/1Wshipf.
Given Canada’s new federal government, this is a critical time for AME to champion the investment, exploration and mineral development potential of BC and to strengthen and reinforce strategic connections with government, First Nations, business and industry leaders. Following the federal election, AME is engaging the newly elected Members of Parliament for British Columbia and specifically advocating for:
- Ensuring an effective and efficient environmental assessment and permitting process;
- Maintaining mineral exploration tax incentives and improving access to venture capital;
- Clarifying government’s duty to consult and industry’s role in aboriginal engagement;
- Funding of targeted geoscience initiatives in BC and across Canada; and
- Supporting Aboriginal skills training and bridge to employment initiatives.
Aboriginal Relations and Engagement: AME was an early leader in building mutual understanding, respect and trust with Aboriginal communities. And this past quarter, AME signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the BC First Nations Energy & Mining Council to improve communication and collaboration in areas of mutual interest. We also supported the Prince George Exploration Group’s inaugural prospector training program in the community of Tsay Keh Dene.
Public Awareness and Stakeholder Education: As advocates for mineral exploration and development, AME hosted a booth at the annual UBCM convention, presented at the Pacific Northwest Economic Region summit in Montana, and attended the 72nd Energy & Mines Ministers conference held in Halifax. AME staff members will be attending the upcoming Minerals South conference in Cranbrook, the Alaska Miners Association fall convention in Anchorage and the American Exploration & Mining Association convention in Spokane.
Socially Responsible Exploration: We are pleased to report that AME and PDAC received 97 responses – the second-highest number ever – to our annual Environment, Health and Safety Survey. Results will be released at Mineral Exploration Roundup. And recently, the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia (APEGBC) and AME signed a Memorandum of Understanding. Both organizations have a common interest encouraging best practices and ensuring public safety and professional excellence in the mineral exploration and development industry.
Membership Engagement: During the summer, AME hosted its annual Old Timer’s Summer Luncheon, and recently held an inter-committee meeting to improve communications between the many working committees of AME. As well, we hosted Robert Quartermain, Pretium’s chairman and CEO, as our keynote speaker at a sold-out Speaker Series luncheon event. AME’s 104th annual general meeting takes place during Roundup 2016. This is when new elected directors are publicly announced. Consider nominating a candidate for a position on AME’s Board: http://bit.ly/1WuSLud.
Mineral Exploration Roundup: Planning the program for AME’s Mineral Exploration Roundup 2016 conference, to be held January 25 to 28 under the Canada Place sails, is well underway. This coming Roundup will coincide with Cambridge House’s Vancouver Resource Investment Conference, which will allow for respective conference delegates to attend both events. See http://amebc.ca/roundup for more details.
On behalf of the hardworking and dedicated staff and Board at AME, I wish you a successful fall season and I look forward to seeing many of you at upcoming events, including our annual Christmas Open House. I also wish you a safe day, every day, wherever this message finds you!
Gavin C. Dirom, M.Sc., P. Ag.
President & CEOAssociation for Mineral Exploration British Columbia