Recent announcements have seen major B.C. mineral and coal producers scale back their workforces. At the same time, for example, demand for coal is expected to increase 50 per cent globally over the coming 15 to 20 years.
This is, to me, analogous of our times, and very Dickensian: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness . . .” These famous lines open Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities and make me think of both the current opportunities and challenges we face in the mineral exploration sector. We look forward from a place of rich natural endowment with optimism, anticipating growing markets and global demands, while dealing with resistance from environmental non- government organizations, public opinion and governments. We must address the challenges facing our sector as they are serious and require action. We may not like resistance, but, in all cases, resistance creates energy. While the anti-extractionists and other pressures push against us, they have not succeeded in slowing the ultimate miner – global consumption. They have only restricted the development of supply. This resistance galvanizes our industry and raises the value of our members’ work and products. This is our opportunity to implement our strategic objectives, to help us stay the course and to influence positive change.
We must address the challenges facing our sector as they are serious and require action. We may not like resistance, but, in all cases, resistance creates energy.
Recently, the provincial government proposed fees for issuing Mines Act permits, an issue that affects many of our members. It also has the potential to derail our slow but steady progress in encouraging prospecting and exploring for new deposits in B.C. In an efficient and organized manner, an ad hoc committee solicited members’ views on and reactions to the proposed changes. These proposed changes have united our industry in their opposition with prospectors and explorers, metal and coal producers, suppliers, placer miners and their respective associations expressing their common concern. As a result of the engagement of volunteers, board members and staff, AME BC responded to the government’s proposal with its own recommendations, which are available for viewing on the AME BC website. This was a valuable opportunity to educate our membership, industry and the public about the policy relating to permitting and its impact on exploration in B.C. Our members have given AME BC the clear objectives contained in our Strategic Plan, and these are implemented by our staff and many energetic volunteers. Our association continues to develop with vital networking opportunities such as our golf tournament and Speaker Series, which we hosted this past spring.
Mineral Exploration Roundup 2015 at our new venue promises to be an innovative and exciting event featuring an expanded trade show, showcase sessions, and increased opportunities for social and business networking. I look forward to seeing you under the sails.
In the meantime, I look forward to working with you, as members of AME BC, to continue our work as the lead association for mineral exploration in B.C.