As the reappointed chair of AME’s Board of Directors, I want to express my gratitude for the opportunity to serve the Board, the Association and the members in 2020. I would like to reflect on my history with the mineral exploration industry and my commitments to AME and what I am hoping to accomplish this year. My first Roundup was in 1990 while I was studying geology at UBC and I have attended every year since 1995. I became an active volunteer serving on committees with AME starting in 2005 and was first elected to the Board in 2015.
Supporting the work of AME
AME’s membership is as broad and diverse as the geologic terranes of the Northern Cordillera! AME’s members are in all aspects of mineral exploration and mining are committed to responsibly and sustainably exploring and developing the resources of British Columbia and the world. All mines start with a concept, prospector’s perseverance or a single drill hole, and are expanded through a thoughtful, collaborative and progressive approach that includes member companies and all stakeholders. It really does take a cast of thousands to keep our industry thriving and growing. I am thrilled to be the member of a diverse Board of Directors to work with the excellent staff at AME and numerous members as we work towards increasing stakeholder and investor confidence in B.C., provide comment and guidance for responsible land use and advance reconciliation with Indigenous groups. I am fortunate to be part of the ongoing positive changes that AME has made over the years to become the modern and relevant institution that it is today.
Reflections on Roundup 2020
Once again, AME hosted what I believe is the top technical conference on all facets of mineral exploration and I was proud to represent the Board as Chair, participating in several of the events. We held AME’s 108th Annual General Meeting and first Board meeting of the year. We welcomed the newly elected and appointed directors; please visit our board page on the AME website to read their biographies. They are a top-tier group of diverse and highly qualified professionals from all aspects of our industry and stakeholders.
On the Monday of Roundup, I attended the AME Lunch, where Joseph Ovsenek presented an update on Pretivm’s Brucejack project from mine operations to community interactions and future plans. I have a family connection to Brucejack. I mentioned to Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness Michelle Mungall that Brucejack Lake (from which the operation assumed) was named after my cousin and grandfather. She quickly burned me with a wink, saying: “I assume that is the same person”! Cue the banjos from my Stewart upbringing! With Newhawk Mines, my uncle and cousin discovered the West zone and significantly advanced exploration in the late 1980s and early 1990s and for that I am very proud. As Chair of the Board of Directors, my primary responsibility is to lead our other 24 directors as we guide the staff at AME, led by President & CEO Kendra Johnston, to execute our vision and strategic plan and reflect the diverse wishes and interests of our membership. I am an advocate for diversity and inclusiveness in mineral exploration, particularly for rural and Indigenous British Columbians. We look forward to working with industry and government to execute on the recommendations of the Mining Jobs Task Force. We will strongly advocate for secure access to capital to help achieve our sustainability goals in mineral exploration and development in British Columbia.
A thank you to our volunteers
I would like to thank the numerous AME volunteers who have shaped this organization. They contribute their time, energy and ideas to this Association and come from all corners of B.C. Without this exceptional base of support, AME would be hard-pressed to deliver on the programs and services, particularly the annual Roundup conference. The Roundup Organizing Committee deserves special mention, and I would like to thank last year’s chair, Dale Mah, and the other 20-plus members of the committee for all of their efforts in bringing together another diverse and very successful event. In addition to this committee, AME Roundup 2020 was made possible by the more thank 100 volunteers who donned blue shirts and helped with various elements of delivering the conference, from answering delegates’ questions to ensuring that the events ran smoothly. Events such as Discovery Day and Short Courses were also made possible largely through volunteer effort, particularly Danielle Mountjoy, who led Discovery Day, and the help of working with partners like Below BC. In addition to Roundup, AME will be hosting another MinEx Talks event, safety workshops and Notice of Work sessions and these could not be possible without the exceptional base of support from our dedicated and generous volunteers. Volunteers are truly the backbone of the Association. On behalf of the Board and staff of AME, we thank you all.
In closing, I would like to say that it is my pleasure to be able to serve on and lead our diverse AME Board of Directors and I am looking forward to working with the provincial government to ensure that B.C. remains a competitive jurisdiction for investment in mineral exploration and mining. Also, I am looking forward to guiding the planning and budgeting for Roundup 2021 as well as working with the Board and CEO Kendra Johnston to meaningfully support our nearly 5,000-strong members. At any time, please provide feedback on how we are doing at AME and what we can improve on to better serve you, our members!