Every year, the national Mining Industry Human Resources Council releases its labour forecasts for the upcoming decade, and the document is a constant reminder that the mineral exploration and mining industry faces a chronic shortage of workers for the industry. Employment in the industry has declined recently, and may continue to do so in the short term. However, based on the current business climate, the industry is expected to require more than 106,000 new workers throughout Canada over the next decade. Even without a recovery in commodity prices and market conditions, more than 85,000 new workers will be required (if the industry recovers faster than predicted, expect to see more than 126,000 positions open up to jobseekers). These numbers need to be our call to action – to encourage our youth to consider a career in mineral exploration, and to continue our own professional development.

This issue of Mineral Exploration is appropriately focused on education and training, and the stories cover the gamut from education in the earth sciences through personal mentoring. In fact, the editorial board uncovered so many important stories that we’ll be looking at the topic again in the winter issue, which will draw its inspiration from the theme of Mineral Exploration Roundup 2016, “Innovation in Exploration.”

Related to the theme of education and training is the increased need for public and stakeholder awareness of our industry. The upcoming federal election on October 19 reinforces the need for a well-informed public as well as a well-informed government at all levels: federal, provincial and local.

To this end, AME BC has been represented at conferences such as the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) Summit and the Energy and Mines Ministers Conference. Our goal in working with PNWER is to deliver a message that B.C. mine development is subject to rigorous regulatory oversight that includes the interests of our Alaskan neighbours. Our goal at the Energy and Mines Ministers Conference was to ensure that the common challenges facing the mineral exploration and development industry throughout Canada – land access, the role of government consultation and industry engagement of Aboriginal peoples, and the capital market crisis – are well communicated to federal, provincial and territorial governments.

Based on the current business climate, the industry is expected to require more than 106,000 new workers throughout Canada over the next decade.

Following the federal election this fall, AME BC will be engaging the newly elected members of Parliament for British Columbia, regardless of party affiliation, as well as the cabinet. We will be soliciting their support for a safe, economically strong and environmentally responsible mineral exploration and development industry based in British Columbia.

Throughout the fall, I look forward to working with our members to steer the B.C.-based mineral exploration and development industry toward success as we emerge from what we hope is the trough of a global downturn in mineral exploration. Modern society will continue to demand the minerals and metals that come from deposits that our members discover, explore and develop, and AME BC and its committees will continue to work on your behalf to ensure that this can be done safely, responsibly and economically with an industry based in B.C.