Do you know someone who deserves recognition for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the mineral exploration industry? Meet the committee responsible for receiving nominations and selecting AME’s annual award winners, the devoted and hardworking members recognized each year at the Awards Dinner at Roundup.

The AME Awards Committee is one of the oldest at the Association. Although it was officially created in early 1994, the Awards Committee is a union of the H. H. Spud Huestis Award Committee, one of the original four committees created in 1979, and the E. A. Scholz Award Committee, formed a year later in 1980.

Five additional awards have been added to the committee’s mandate and today it receives nominations, assesses suitability, and votes on seven awards, including the Murray Pezim, Hugo Dummett, Colin Spence and Robert R. Hedley award winners, and contributes to the selection of occasional Special Tribute recipients and beneficiaries of the Outreach Education Fund. Two further awards, the Gold Pan Award and Frank Woodside Past Presidents and Chairs Award, are selected by the AME board of directors and executive, and the David Barr Safety Award is assessed by the Environment, Health and Safety Committee.

“The AME awards honour and showcase the outstanding performers and achievers on an annual basis so that there are some good news stories that can get some mainstream media coverage,” said Awards Committee chair E. A. (Ed) Balon, P.Geo. Balon is a semi-retired prospector who has served on the Awards Committee since 2007. During his impressive career in mineral exploration, Balon was instrumental in several notable discoveries in B.C., Yukon and the Northwest Territories, and today is an investor in a number of junior exploration companies and a technical adviser to Westhaven Ventures Inc.

Ed Kimura is the longest-running Awards committee member, having retired in 2017 after 30 years of service

Balon is joined by a diverse team of connected and experienced colleagues. As of July 2018, the committee consisted of Balon and six members: vice-chair David Caufield, director at Evrim Resources and co-founder of Equity Exploration Consultants; Henry Awmack, co-founder of Equity Exploration Consultants; Rob Carne, director at ATAC Resources Ltd.; Jennifer Pell, chief geoscientist at Peregrine Diamonds Ltd.; Steve Robertson, president and CEO of Sun Metals Corp.; and Adam Simmons, senior geologist at Anglo American Corporation, Copper Division.

“Our current committee is pretty diverse, with different backgrounds, strengths and areas of focus,” says Balon, “Most of us have also been in the industry for quite a long time.”

Gold Pan Award winner Mona Forster with Awards Committee chair Ed Balon

The committee enjoys a relatively quiet time over the first half of the year, with few meetings between its post-Roundup recap in February and September 30, the annual deadline for nominations. Throughout October and into November, the committee is busy reviewing nominations, seeking additional nominations if required, formally voting on these and preparing to present the winners to the board for approval at its November meeting. Despite this carefully timed annual schedule, Balon recalls a few “nail-biting episodes” when soliciting nominations came down to the wire.

“It’s been a real problem receiving nominations from the membership at large,” says Balon. “There are very few people that we can rely on for sending nominations in.” A particular challenge for the committee is finding nominees for the single-commodity Hugo Dummett Diamond Award, now that the excitement of the Canadian diamond rush is dying down. Another challenge is finding a way to reward complex discoveries, particularly brownfield discoveries where many people and companies have played key roles over the life of a project and its development.

If you know of a fellow member who deserves recognition, the deadline for nominations is September 30, 2018. Visit to download the Call for Nominations brochure or if you would prefer to nominate an individual(s) through a Nomination Package, email [email protected].


  • Kylie Williams

    Kylie Williams is AME's Director, Communications and Member Relations. She is an accomplished geologist, communications professional and award-winning writer specializing in earth science, technology, business, and responsible resource development.

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