At AME’s Roundup 2018 conference, we welcomed a renewed sense of optimism in B.C.’s mineral exploration and development industry, supported by recovering commodity prices. The past few months, however, have generally not been favourable for these prices. Since reaching their peak in 2011-12, volatile and generally depressed commodity prices have forced B.C.’s mineral exploration and development industry to find unique ways of cutting costs and, in some cases, putting projects and job creation on hold until markets improve. Securing funding for exploration programs remains the biggest challenge in our industry. However, as described in this winter issue of Mineral Exploration, there is activity in all regions of the province, showing that B.C. does have strengths in attracting mineral exploration investment in challenging times. A full accounting of 2018 statistics as compiled by AME, EY (Ernst & Young) and the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources will be released in March 2019.
Over the past year, AME has been hard at work supporting our members and preparing for opportunities in the market. Examples of our work include:
- Collaborating with the Government of B.C., the Tahltan Central Government, Nisga’a Nation and several exploration companies on the B.C. Regional Mining Alliance pilot initiative promoting B.C.’s competitive advantages to potential investors, with a focus on the Golden Triangle;
- Taking a prominent role in providing comment on and input to the B.C. government’s Environmental Assessment Revitalization to ensure that explorers’ and developers’ perspectives are brought to the forefront in any new legislation;
- Continuing to work with B.C. government staff on identifying opportunities to improve and further communicate the Notice of Work process for exploration permits;
- Building greater AME connections and outreach in B.C.’s regions, including holding both the Gathering Place and safety workshop at Minerals North in Houston; and
- Continuing to support taxation incentives that enhance B.C.’s attractiveness for investors and other initiatives to promote investment in mineral exploration through the B.C. Mining Jobs Task Force.
As an association, we represent the interests of our members and stakeholders, so we need to hear from you. Please take a moment at Roundup 2019 to participate in our survey so your needs and views can be considered in the development of AME’s future annual Work Plans.
AME Funding at Work in the Regions
We are very pleased to continue this program for the eighth consecutive year, and in September we launched the annual regional exploration group funding program. This program aims to support the local community’s and the public’s awareness of the importance of minerals and metals in society.
The priorities of the regional group outreach program are to:
- Increase awareness and understanding of the contribution of the mineral exploration and development sector to the economic health of B.C. and Canada;
- Grow public support through informed and collaborative dialogue;
- Create and leverage partnerships and to build on marketing and communications expertise of industry members; and
- Expand the audience to those outside the industry.
The 2018-19 projects aim to develop a closer collaboration between the regional exploration groups and AME, and audiences not traditionally included such as Indigenous groups and communities, environmental non-government organizations and wildlife preservation organizations. Some initiatives for the upcoming year include attending First Nation career fairs, hosting lunches with relevant provincial ministries at the local level and attending chamber of commerce meetings. As well, the regional exploration groups continue to connect with local schools and post-secondary institutions.
We support and acknowledge the efforts of the regional groups as they represent the industry and provide information to their local, government and business communities about mineral exploration and development in their areas. We thank the groups of passionate and dedicated volunteers from the industry and their local support services. The regional exploration groups are (in alphabetical order): Below BC through the Vancouver Mining Exploration Group, Boundary Mining Association, Chamber of Mines of Eastern BC, East Kootenay Chamber of Mines, Kamloops Exploration Group, Prince George Exploration Group, Smithers Exploration Group and Yukon Dan Gold Panning in the Classroom via the Vancouver Island Exploration Group.
Over the past year, I have had the privilege to serve as chair of AME’s board of directors and work with AME staff and industry colleagues to advance the initiatives described above and others on behalf of you, our members. I am proud of the work we’ve done together.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my executive and board colleagues, our many volunteers and our staff for their unflagging efforts to support our industry through lean times and to prepare it for the good times to come.
And I invite everyone to join us at Roundup 2019: “Elements for Discovery.” I look forward to seeing you there.