AME honoured its 2016 award recipients on January 25 during the AME Roundup 2017 conference. This marks the 40th year that AME has celebrated the important achievements made by leaders in the mineral exploration and development community in B.C., throughout Canada and internationally.

H.H. “Spud” Huestis Award

Carl Edmunds, Wade Barnes and Chris Rockingham | Velour Productions/AME

Chris Rockingham, Carl Edmunds and Wade Barnes are the recipients of the H.H. “Spud” Huestis Award for Excellence in Prospecting and Mineral Exploration.

It is often said that patience and perseverance surmount every difficulty. The discovery of the Kemess East deposit epitomizes this. Under the leadership of Rockingham, the geological insight of Edmunds and the execution of Barnes, a blind porphyry gold-copper deposit was discovered and delineated. The recognition that the Kemess North deposit was terminated on its northern and eastern edges by faults led the team to search for the offset under deep post-mineral cover. The first indications of a blind mineralized system were encountered in 2002. By the following year, with a large area of phyllic alteration and some low-grade mineralization, Rockingham, Edmunds and Barnes were confident that they were vectoring toward better mineralization. This was apparent in 2007 when their fourth hole intersected the longest mineralized intercept in the entire Kemess database to that point – but, perhaps more importantly, hole 24 intersected 162 metres of 0.62 grades per tonne gold and 0.53 per cent copper in potassic altered intrusive. At this point, however, all exploration stopped as the Kemess North open pit proposal was rejected by the federal government.

While commodity price changes in 2010 made the concept of block caving appear viable, exploration did not resume again at Kemess East until 2013. The most recent drilling has confirmed and upgraded the initial resource estimation, with spectacular drill intercepts such as 628 metres of 0.53 g/t gold with 0.41 per cent copper, and the deposit remains open in some areas.

E.A. Scholz Award

Steve Robertson and Don Parsons | Velour Productions/AME

Don Parsons and Steve Robertson are the recipients of the 2016 E.A. Scholz Award for Excellence in Mine Development in British Columbia and/or Yukon. They are being honoured for their pivotal roles in advancing the Red Chris copper-gold project in northwestern British Columbia from development to commercial production between 2007 and 2015.

Exploration at the Red Chris deposit was first reported in 1956, but its development began in earnest after the project was acquired in February 2007 by Imperial Metals Corporation, where Parsons was chief operating officer (as he is today) and Robertson was exploration manager. Imperial’s engineering and development team, under Parsons’s leadership, reappraised the existing engineering and feasibility studies and incorporated updated financial, political and technical data into their mine plan. Concurrently, Imperial began a deep drilling campaign under Robertson’s direction to ascertain the ultimate size of the project. The results exceeded all expectations for tonnage and grade, and construction finally began in the summer of 2012.

The Red Chris mine, treating 30,000 tonnes of copper-gold ore per day and employing 350 workers, including 120 Tahltan from local communities, commenced commercial production on July 1, 2015, and has operated since then without significant issues. Currently, it has a mine life of another 26 years.

Murray Pezim Award

Terry Salman | Velour Productions/AME

The Murray Pezim Award was created to recognize perseverance and success in financing mineral exploration in British Columbia and Yukon. Terry Salman is the 2016 recipient of this award in recognition of his remarkable career in Canadian mining finance.

Salman has been a leader in financing junior exploration and mid-cap to large mining companies over the past 35 years. He began his career at Nesbitt Thomson in 1973, rising from a research analyst to executive vice-president and director. There, Salman helped create the first mining team and established Nesbitt Thomson’s first gold conference in Whistler, which ultimately became BMO’s Global Metals & Mining Conference.

He left Nesbitt Thomson in 1994 to form Salman Partners, which, over 22 years, helped raise $20 billion for more than 400 companies. Salman Partners provided investment analysis across a wide range of sectors, but over the years carved out a specialty in the Vancouver-based resource industry.

Currently, Salman is president and CEO of Salman Capital Inc., an investment advisory and merchant banking firm, capitalizing on his extensive network and relationships he has built in the mining and investment business.

Hugo Dummett Diamond Award

The Hugo Dummett Diamond Award was created to honour those who have made a significant contribution to diamond exploration, discovery or mine development. William Lamb, president, CEO and director, and Lukas Lundin, chairman and director, respectively, of Lucara Diamond Corp. are the 2016 recipients of the Hugo Dummett Award in recognition of their roles in developing the Karowe Mine in Botswana.

The AK6 kimberlite pipe, now known as Karowe, was discovered almost 50 years ago. It was deemed uneconomic at the time, and there was limited exploration on the property until around 12 years ago. Lamb, mandated to find the best undeveloped diamond project in the world and bring it into production, was aware of Karowe and believed the original assessment was incorrect. He and his technical team determined that the value of the project had been underestimated due to diamond breakage during exploration test work. Lundin provided the financial backing to acquire an interest in the project, eventually bringing it into production in 2012 by way of a personal loan facility.

Further analysis confirmed that Karowe had the potential for large, high value, Type IIA diamonds, and Lamb installed cutting-edge X-ray technology and high-capacity bulk sorting to facilitate their recovery. In fact, over 100 diamonds of greater than 100 carats each have been recovered since the mine opened – including the 813-carat Constellation and the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona diamond, the world’s second-largest gem-quality diamond ever recovered.

Colin Spence Award

Andrée de Rosen-Spence with David Broughton and Sello Kekana | Velour Productions/AME

This year’s recipients of the Colin Spence Award, for making a significant mineral discovery outside of British Columbia and Yukon through the original application of prospecting techniques or other geoscience technology, are David Broughton and Sello Kekana. They are being recognized for their outstanding work that led to the discovery of the Tier One Flatreef underground deposit at Ivanhoe Mines Ltd.’s Platreef platinum group metals (PGMs) and nickel-copper-gold project in the Northern Limb of South Africa’s Bushveld Complex.

Work leading to the discovery of the Flatreef deposit began more than 15 years ago. Exploration in the area by Ivanhoe Mines and its subsidiaries led to delineation of a large, near-surface, low-grade resource that was amenable to open-pit mining; however, the open-pit area was overlain by villages with a combined population of more than 30,000 people. Realizing the challenges involved with relocating the villagers, the company’s geological team, led by Broughton and Kekana, began work to identify other zones of mineralization on the property.

Their unique approach, which included applying advanced geophysical modelling to high-resolution airborne gravity data, resulted in the realization in 2010 that the regionally steeply west-dipping mineralized reef flattened at a depth of roughly 700 metres below surface on Ivanhoe’s property. Deep drilling on the deposit has defined a flat- to gently-dipping National Instrument 43-101-compliant indicated mineral resource. The resource has an average thickness of 24 metres and a strike length in excess of six kilometres, containing an estimated 1.2 million kilograms (42 million ounces) of PGMs plus gold at a cutoff of two g/t, and an additional 1.5 million kilograms (52.8 million ounces) of PGMs plus gold in inferred resources. The indicated and inferred resources also contain 1.6 and 2.4 billion kilograms of nickel and copper, respectively. Project development commenced in 2014, and shaft sinking is underway.

Robert R. Hedley Award

Jim Cooney | Velour Productions/AME

Jim Cooney is the recipient of the Robert R. Hedley Award for Excellence in Social and Environmental Responsibility. Cooney is a leader and mentor who has led and shaped the integration of environmental and social values into the mining industry. Beginning early in his career in the 1970s, he began incorporating social considerations into mining by directing Cominco’s first social impact assessment at what is now the Highland Valley Copper mine. By the early 1990s, following the United Nations’ adoption of sustainable development, Cooney began publishing articles that promoted this as a mining company strategy for managing social and political risks. He has been an outspoken advocate for sustainable development ever since, as well as an advocate for the inclusion of indigenous peoples and perspectives in the mining industry. In 1996, Cooney was director, international and public affairs, for Placer Dome, and was the driving force that led the company to adopt a policy of sustainable development, the first mining company to do so. Shortly afterward, as chair of the Policy Committee of the International Council on Mining and the Environment (now the ICMM), he successfully led the effort to convince mining companies around the world to adopt sustainable development policies. Among his many significant accomplishments, Cooney coined the term “social licence to operate” at a World Bank meeting in 1997. This term has become a widely accepted reference point for mining companies in their relationship with local communities.

David Barr Award

Graham Ennis Jr. accepting on his father’s behalf | Velour Productions/AME

Graham Ennis is posthumously recognized with the David Barr Award for Excellence in Leadership and Innovation in Mineral Exploration Health and Safety. Ennis’s passion and dedication to the well-being and safety of employees was simply unsurpassed. His drive and devotion was primarily fuelled by experiences from the early part of his career in the mining and forestry sectors, in both British Columbia and Yukon. Through his avalanche rescue and recovery work and mine rescue involvement within these respective sectors, Ennis had the unfortunate experience of rescuing or recovering colleagues from both serious and fatal workplace accidents on multiple occasions.

Ennis transitioned to the mineral exploration sector in 2006 to pursue his passion for safety with Major Drilling Group, where he eventually rose to the position of health, safety, environment and community manager. From the outset, he was adamant about training, emergency preparedness, the implementation of an intensive accident investigation protocol and the return-to-work process. He kept a direct pulse on the safety culture as well as the challenges and issues faced by the crews through frequent field visits across Canadian surface and underground operations, including some international sites. His observations often led to recommendations and continual improvement efforts within the organization. As such, he was a key driver of numerous company safety programs, including a comprehensive program for constructing and working on ice covers.

Ennis was a strong advocate of sharing best practices, experiences and lessons learned, transcending company boundaries. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the Canadian Diamond Drilling Association (CDDA); his involvement ranged from presenting papers at the association’s annual general meeting and convention to working at the sub-committee level with respect to industry training and safety issues. He was also a long-standing chair of the CDDA’s Western Safety Group – co-ordinating venues and speakers, and relentlessly rallying for continued support and participation from industry and government parties alike. Ennis was also a very active and wellrespected member of the Mine Accident Prevention Association of Manitoba board of directors from 2008 through 2015.

Special Tribute

JoAnne Nelson | Velour Productions/AME

JoAnne Nelson, a 30-year veteran of the British Columbia Geological Survey, was acknowledged with a Special Tribute for her significant contributions to the advancement of geoscientific knowledge relating to the tectonics, structural geology and metallogeny of the Northern Cordillera. Over the course of her career, she has developed an outstanding geoscience reputation and has made major contributions as a project leader, mentor and communicator.

Since joining the BC Geological Survey in 1986, Nelson has conducted extensive field mapping and related geological studies throughout British Columbia, with a primary focus on the tectonics and metallogeny of the northwestern part of the province. She has also developed expertise in aspects of the evolution of the B.C.-Yukon Alaskan Cordillera as a whole. Her current project, as Northwestern B.C. manager, involves structural and geochronological studies of the Mesozoic porphyry-epithermal belt known as the Golden Triangle.

Nelson’s accomplishments were formally recognized in 2013 when she was listed in the top 100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining by the United Kingdom’s Standard Bank. Additionally, in 2015, she was presented with the Gold Pick Award by the Kamloops Exploration Group in recognition of “outstanding services and contributions to the minerals industry.”

Gold Pan Award

Susan Craig | Velour Productions/AME

Susan Craig is recognized with the Gold Pan Award for her exceptional meritorious service to the mineral exploration community through AME. Susan has more than a decade of experience supporting AME. She served as co chair of the Mineral Exploration Roundup Committee in 2009 and 2010, and was chair in 2011, when attendance at AME’s Roundup conference first exceeded 7,000 participants. In 2004, she joined the First Nations and Community Relations Committee, and to this day serves on its successor, the Aboriginal Relations Committee. Susan served on AME’s board of directors from 2005 to 2008, and since 2014. She was a corecipient of the inaugural 2007 Robert R. Hedley Award for Excellence in Social and Environmental Responsibility. Outside of AME, Susan has been chair of the Yukon Minerals Advisory Group and is a director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines.

Frank Woodside Past Presidents and Past Chairs Award

The Frank Woodside Past Presidents and Past Chairs Award is presented to three individuals for their distinguished service to AME.

Barbara Caelles graduated with a bachelor of science in geology from the University of British Columbia, and has worked in the mining industry for more than 40 years. She started her career in exploration as a field geologist, but eventually turned to consulting in records management for mining in order to have a more balanced lifestyle. Caelles has been involved in women’s groups since she was appointed to the Women Geoscientists Committee in 1975, of which she became chair in 1977. Caelles is a founding member of Women in Mining British Columbia (formerly known as Women in Mining Vancouver), sits on the executive of the Greater Vancouver Mining Women’s Association, and was part of the BC HR Task Force Diversity Women Subcommittee. In 2010, Caelles received the Minerva Foundation’s Women in Natural Resources Award for Philanthropy and Volunteerism, and was recognized as a Life Member by AME in 2015.

Alex Christopher joined Teck’s Exploration Group in 1984 and was appointed senior vice-president, exploration, projects and technical services, in July 2016. He previously held the position of vice president, exploration, and has held a number of positions in the company in exploration, exploration business development and corporate development. Christopher holds a bachelor of science (honours) degree in geology from McMaster University and an environmental biology technology diploma from Canadore College. Christopher is also on the board of directors of the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), and is a director of Horizonte Minerals Plc. Christopher has served on AME’s Finance and Audit Committee since 2006, and served as a director from 2006 through 2009.

Diane Gregory’s career has ranged from being the geologist and lands manager for Murray Pezim’s Prime Explorations Ltd. during the Eskay Creek staking rush to being a land manager with The Claim Group Inc., a mineral tenure management company. Gregory was part of AME’s Land Use Committee and PDAC’s Lands Committee for several years during the late 1990s and early 2000s. As a land and contracts manager with Kennecott Exploration Canada Inc., Gregory sat at the Cassiar-Iskut-Stikine land use table for two years and reported to AME regarding the deliberations. Along with Caelles, Gregory was a founding member of Women in Mining British Columbia (formerly known as Women in Mining Vancouver). She was also previously recognized as a Life Member by AME in 2012.

Outreach Education Fund

Britannia Mine Museum was granted $10,000 to assist and support the museum’s educational program focused on earth science programs and events for students. These programs are attended by 10,000 students annually. The educational initiatives for 2017 will focus on developing exhibits on carbon and carbon innovations, and enhancing activities associated with DIG Day – Delving into Geoscience with a focus on geological events related to the origin of the Britannia copper deposits. Also, a permanent display of the hydrothermal Black Smoker chimney specimens from the Juan de Fuca Ridge will be developed at the Mineral Gallery of the Beaty Lundin Visitor Centre.

Mineral Resources Education Program of BC (MineralsEd) was granted $10,000 for co-ordinating the Kids & Rocks hands-on classroom workshop in 2017 for children in kindergarten to Grade 3 in the Lower Mainland schools of B.C. A complementary version of the program will be introduced for grades 4 to 6. The main objective of the Kids & Rocks program is to introduce children to the basic properties of various rocks and minerals and how they are utilized to benefit our lives – it is an important stepping stone for our current and future mineral exploration industry. Nominations for this year’s awards are due September 30; visit for details.


  • Jonathan Buchanan

    As Director, Regulatory and Technical Policy, Jonathan is responsible for anticipating, understanding, summarizing, evaluating and influencing public policy as it relates to mineral exploration and development, particularly in the strategic areas of land access and use, environment, health and safety and socio-economic considerations in BC.

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