The 2018 summer field season is in full swing, and the rebound from a five-year drought in financing for mineral exploration appears to be building momentum. Investment in 2018 has been driven by increasing prices for a wider range of commodities, with growing interest in base metal projects. Still, recent developments south of the border are putting downward pressure on many commodity prices and this is adding an element of uncertainty to the investment climate.
With the theme of this issue being a sneak peek at Roundup 2019, this is also a good time to reflect on the ongoing success of AME’s annual, world-class exploration conference organized and hosted by our association. As we ramp up to 2019’s Roundup conference, here’s a quick look at the highlights of last year’s event.
Roundup 2018 highlights included:
- over 6,570 delegates registered, up from 5,906 last year;
- 39 countries represented;
- 144 industry representatives and 150 students attended the Student/ Industry night – a great ratio for networking! It is wonderful to see that the industry continues to be committed to mentoring the next generation of mineral explorers and geoscientists;
- the Reconciliation Breakfast, a new event inspired and sponsored by Teck Resources Limited. We easily surpassed the original target of 80 participants with 150 people attending. CBC picked up on the event and the media is estimated to have reached an audience of 15 million;
- the Innovation Hub showcased the re-imagining of the industry and how it is moving into the 21st Century and saw press coverage from Fairchild TV and the Vancouver Sun;
- the Technical Sessions continue to be a highlight of the conference and were once again very well attended;
- the Awards Gala was another successful event starting with a touching and hopeful opening address from Ovcare to raise awareness and support for Ovarian Cancer prevention. This was followed by an evening celebrating the successes of numerous worthy nominees.
Thank you again to all the Roundup 2018 sponsors and the more than 700 respondents who filled in the Roundup Survey.
I would also like to take this opportunity to strongly encourage all our members active in B.C. to respond to the exploration expenditures survey that AME will be conducting this fall in partnership with EY and the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. This is the third year of this partnership with EY and the Province. This survey provides key information to government and the public about what commodities make exploration in B.C. attractive, how exploration contributes so much to local communities through jobs and procurement of a wide range of goods and services, and whether critical early stage exploration is indeed making a comeback in the province. With this information, we as an industry and an association are in a far stronger position to clearly inform the government and the public about the vitally important role mineral exploration plays in B.C. AME considers the collection and promotion of this type of information, at Roundup, during PDAC and throughout the year, to be an important service that we provide not only to the membership but to many of our partners and stakeholders.
Another important service that AME provides to the membership is in the form of advocacy and policy work. This is particularly timely and important, both on the federal and provincial fronts, as changes to legislation, regulation and policy affecting our members are abundant at both levels of government. Provincially, a new B.C. NDP-Green government was formed following the conclusion of the Confidence and Supply Agreement in July of 2017. This new NDP Green government is engaged in a number of new initiatives that may affect AME members, including: a recent professional reliance review, expected new environmental assessment legislation and a new species at risk act which has the potential to impact land access and tenure security.
President and CEO Edie Thome and her staff have been working hard to engage with this new provincial government as it delivers its mandate at an unprecedented pace of change. The staff work with the committees, executive and board to ensure that AME’s priorities and concerns are communicated to the government. In some instances, there has been consistency and AME was pleased to see the retention of a previous commitment of $18 million to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources over the three years to support mine permitting and oversight, including compliance and enforcement. The pace is increasing federally as well as we enter into a federal pre election cycle, including a recent announcement of changes in the federal cabinet.
AME is working on its members’ behalf as B.C.’s voice of the mineral exploration industry, and in collaboration with other business-related organizations, to build and maintain a competitive mineral exploration industry at home in B.C. Part of our advocacy success is reliant on a strong team of staff and volunteers to champion our industry. And in terms of staff, it is my pleasure as chair of the board to welcome Dr. Robert Stevens in his new role as vice-president, Regulatory & Technical Policy for AME.
In closing, we will continue to build a strong organization to lead and support our members through these times of change and we thank you for your commitment to this critical industry and the Association.
We look forward to welcoming you at Roundup 2019!