As an advocacy organization, an important role for AME is to protect and promote the mineral exploration and development industry. AME was pleased to announce last December that the B.C. government provided an extension to the Water Sustainability Act exemption for exploration activities to December 31, 2017. That same month, AME also presented to the federal government’s expert panel about environmental assessment processes. AME will be actively involved in future discussions regarding this matter through the spring.
As AME members know best, grassroots exploration is vital to the discovery of potential mineable deposits and the long-term sustainability of mining. That’s why AME is actively encouraging the B.C. government to consider reintroducing a grassroots mineral exploration incentive that would encourage early-stage exploration and prospecting activities, particularly in more rural and remote communities where economic development opportunities and jobs may be more limited, but mineral development potential exists. AME is also active in developing innovative tools to assist mineral explorers in their quest for discovery; for one example, read about AME and PDAC’s new helicopter slinging tool that we anticipate will lead to safer, more productive programs in remote areas (page 8). In addition to grassroots exploration, AME members are continuing to explore in the vicinity of old mines; appropriately, the profile article in this issue looks at Bill Threlkeld’s experiences leading up to Seabridge Gold Inc.’s exploration of its Iskut property in the vicinity of the past- producing Johnny Mountain Mine (page 22).
Public awareness and stakeholder education
Our eighth annual government-industry forum, held on January 25 at AME Roundup, featured a political panel discussion with Bill Bennett, B.C.’s minister of energy and mines and BC Liberal MLA; Doug Donaldson, the NDP official Opposition spokesperson for energy and mining; and Andrew Weaver, the leader of the Green Party of B.C. This panel effectively kicked off the Vote Mining 2017 campaign. AME has partnered with the Mining Association of British Columbia and the Mining Suppliers Association of B.C. on the Vote Mining non-partisan campaign to raise awareness of issues related to mineral exploration and mining among both voters and MLA candidates in advance of the May 9, 2017, provincial election.
This issue of Mineral Exploration features three articles related to the election: a review of each of the major political party’s platforms (page 11), a look at community perspectives on key election issues (page 15), and a primer on discussing natural resource development in the province (page 17). We hope that you enjoy these articles, and find them helpful in asking informed questions of candidates and in making your vote count on May 9. Please also check out votemining.ca as the election date approaches for further information as well as a letter writing platform for reaching out to candidates directly.
AME’s current strategic plan and objectives are due for renewal, and at AME Roundup, the Membership Liaison Committee started polling AME members on what they think AME’s priorities should be in 2018 and beyond. AME will continue to engage its members in the development of the next strategic plan. I encourage you to add your voice to this important process that aligns AME’s work with a plan that guides the association’s activities and allocates resources for the benefit of its members.
On behalf of the staff and board of AME, I thank the hundreds of volunteers, thousands of members, and dozens of sponsors of AME Roundup 2017 for their support as we head out of a downturn and into what we hope is a prosperous year ahead. Have a safe day, every day, wherever this spring message finds you!