Welcome to the winter 2013 edition of Mineral Exploration magazine.
I’m not sure about you, but although I look forward to the winter every year – especially the activities that come with the season – somehow it seems to come around a lot quicker as I get older. And that seemingly rapid advance of time applies to my last two years as chair of AME BC as well. I will be passing on that responsibility in January 2014 at our Annual General Meeting when both a new chair and a new executive committee of the Association will be named, and the newly elected and appointed directors for 2014 welcomed. It has been a privilege to serve as chair of such a great organization and to work with such an extraordinary group of people on the board, in the committees and on the staff. I am proud to be associated with AME BC and very much believe the Association is making a positive contribution to the health and prosperity of the mineral exploration and development industry in the province.
Of course, it has been a tough year for many of our member companies and individuals. Equity markets in North America for mineral exploration and mining companies remain very weak, and many companies have had to make some significant cuts in exploration programs and business activities just to stay alive. When this bear market will end is a popular topic of conversation at every gathering. And none of us really knows the answer – although there are some signs that 2014 will be better. Cycles are just that – there is a beginning and an end. The secret is to understand where we are in the cycle right now.
Over the past months we have seen significant write-downs of projects and investments by a number of major mining companies; capital projects put on hold; and exploration spending significantly reduced. That’s a natural response when times are tough, and the result is that those same companies should be in a very good position to capitalize on opportunities when the market improves – which it will.
I had the good fortune to attend a set of meetings at the Vatican in Rome in September and then in Chicago at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwest University that were held to discuss the “Mine of the Future.” I was there on behalf of AME BC and was asked to represent the perspective of the junior mining sector. At these meetings were representatives of major mining companies, non- governmental organizations (such as Oxfam), faith-based groups, industry associations and academia. The purpose of this initiative was to try to define the essential elements of a modern and sustainable mining industry – one that operates in harmony with communities, provides economic opportunities and sustains healthy ecosystems.
Our industry’s efforts to promote a safe, environmentally sustainable mineral exploration and mining industry are always a work in progress, but I believe these efforts are making a difference.
These discussions covered a wide array of topics, and the perspectives of such a diverse group of people was a good reflection of how our industry interacts with many different people, organizations and cultures around the world. The perspective was global, with a significant focus on Africa and Latin America. Despite this, what struck me was just how many of the topics covered were relevant to what we are trying to do here in British Columbia and how our industry is a leader in so many areas. However, as is the case beyond our province as well, a number of challenges remain, many of them relating to gaining community acceptance of mining projects.
Our industry’s efforts to promote a safe, environmentally sustainable mineral exploration and mining industry are always a work in progress, but I believe these efforts are making a difference. These discussions showed me that B.C. is advancing the state of practice in many of these areas.
I wish you and yours a good end to this year and I hope you have a safe and prosperous 2014. See you all at Roundup 2014!