It was a pleasure to open AME BC’s Mineral Exploration Roundup 2015, held January 26 to 29. It was a historic conference as we marked a milestone this year, enjoying our new venue at the Vancouver Convention Centre East. This marked our progress as an organization and as an industry (we outgrew our previous venue) as we joined together to learn and network – prospectors, geoscientists, investors, suppliers and government officials from all over the world. My sincere appreciation extends to the Roundup Organizing Committee, with Kendra Johnston as chair and Jill Tsolinas as vice-chair. There were many hard-working committee members, management and staff who poured much effort into making Roundup 2015 an excellent and worthwhile event.

Former U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower observed: “Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose.” I hope this will be our common purpose as we work together throughout the year.

The last several years have been challenging for those in mineral exploration and mining – not just in British Columbia, but globally. Just over $11 billion was estimated to be spent globally on projects in 2014, the second year of decline. In addition, changes to typical capitalization models posed some threat to the efficiency and integrity of our financial markets and, as a result, the lack of venture capital limited grassroots exploration throughout the world.

AME BC is one of the world’s leading mineral exploration and development associations. We are an industry-supported, not-for-profit advocacy organization that is very much aware of the struggles its members face. We recognize these challenging times as an opportunity to plan for the future and to advocate for our members.

I enjoy history. I want to know about the past because I find it both challenging and frustrating, exhilarating and sometimes depressing. I believe that by expanding our experience to the lives of men and women in different times and places, history teaches us valuable things both about others and ourselves.

In the upper rotunda of the Parliament Buildings in Victoria, there is a series of pillars supporting a large dome. This dome features four murals depicting fishing, farming, logging and mining – the four principal industries when the murals were painted. I believe, as did the people and government during the establishment of British Columbia, that industry is a virtue and productivity its measure. I believe that mineral exploration and development provides the economic benefit that B.C. and other jurisdictions need to meet growing health, education and infrastructure demands.

Advocacy is a very important way that we can “compose our differences . . . with intellect and decent purpose.” As an association, AME BC continues to advocate for a safe, strong and responsible mineral exploration and development sector. We will continue to work with government to encourage activities that grow the mineral industry and economy – advocating for efficient, transparent and competitive regulations and policies, and for tax incentives for innovation, exploration and geoscience infrastructure.

Let us remember that while the effects of the venture capital crisis are evident, they are also driving our industry to new concepts and methodologies of both finance and exploration-and-development work itself. This innovation was on display at Mineral Exploration Roundup 2015, both through the talks and in the exhibit hall, and bodes well for the future of the industry.

It is a pleasure to roll up my sleeves with the rest of AME BC’s membership to ensure that our industry is poised for success. With purposeful advocacy and steady, positive resolve, we can overcome resistance and economic challenges.

I believe that by expanding our experience to the lives of men and women in different times and places, history teaches us valuable things both about others and ourselves.