It is an honour and a privilege to serve AME BC as chair for 2014. Like most of you, I attended and enjoyed the experience of Mineral Exploration Roundup 2014. I want to thank the sponsors, as well as the chair and members of the Roundup Organizing Committee, and the many volunteers who sacrificed their time and energy to make it so successful. Our Association has served its members since its inception in 1912, and I look forward to chairing the board of directors in forwarding AME BC’s priority areas: successful exploration, aboriginal relations and engagement, public awareness and stakeholder education, socially responsible exploration, membership engagement and Mineral Exploration Roundup.
While our membership currently faces challenges due to reduced commodity prices and difficulty arranging capital for projects, there was an obvious sense of optimism that conditions will turn around during the coming year for prospectors, geoscientists and those serving the mineral exploration industry. Our membership numbers are as strong as they were in 2013; as I write, the Association now serves more than 4,400 members around the globe. Particularly encouraging is that we include 600 student members, mainly from postsecondary institutions throughout B.C. These students will lead the workforce of the future.
The Association also has the attentive ear of our elected officials, as was evident at Roundup. We heard B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s opening address, which included the good news of government’s intent to extend the flow-through share tax credit into 2014. We had six cabinet ministers, led by Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett, in attendance and engaged with our members. We also acknowledge the participation of members of both the B.C. Liberal and NDP caucuses, as well as many local government officials including mayors of communities throughout the province.
At Mineral Exploration Roundup, we launched the renewed Aboriginal Engagement Guidebook and fifth edition of Safety Guidelines for Mineral Exploration in Western Canada – made possible through the efforts of many dedicated volunteers and staff of the Association. Throughout 2014, we will continue to develop and release tools for our members such as the Mineral Exploration Life Cycle brochure. We remain committed to supporting regional exploration groups efforts of many of these associations gives us an increasing number of mineral exploration industry ambassadors, and ensures that the strength of our industry grows throughout our province. I look forward to seeing this pride in the mineral exploration sector increase. Although the mineral exploration sector faces challenges in the year end, I am confident that, supported by a strong board, hundreds of volunteers and a dedicated staff, AME BC will continue and MineralsEd in their efforts to educate the public, including business people, politicians, government regulators and, most importantly, students on the role of mineral exploration in everyone’s daily lives.
In our industry, time spent sharpening the tools is an important and integral part of every cycle. At AME BC, we are preparing for a vibrant future by continuing to develop and improve important resources for our members and by advocating for positive conditions.
As AME BC’s regional representative for Vancouver Island, I see how the work of AME BC extends beyond its Vancouver base. In addition to our volunteers being based in all regions of the province, AME BC is privileged to have strengthening relationships with regional exploration groups. The Association is proud of its affiliations with the Boundary Mining Association based in Grand Forks; the Chamber of Mines of Eastern B.C. based in Nelson; the East Kootenay Chamber of Mines with its home in Cranbrook; the Kamloops Exploration Group; the Prince George Exploration Group; the Smithers Exploration Group; Vancouver Island Exploration Group; and the Vancouver Mining Exploration Group. In particular, the community outreach to ensure that the development of B.C.’s mineral wealth is a priority for government, industry and communities – for the benefit of all British Columbians. In our industry, time spent sharpening the tools is an important and integral part of every cycle. At AME BC, we are preparing for a vibrant future by continuing to develop and improve important resources for our members and by advocating for positive conditions. Thanks to your response to our surveys, we have established a strategic five-year plan for building further tools and developing relationships. I look forward to working with you, our members, to continue this work.