A sense of realistic and cautious optimism infuses many conversations these days. Although too early to be certain, there are some encouraging signs that perhaps the worst of the protracted downturn in the mineral exploration industry is behind us. In March, we saw indications of a possible recovery as investors were seeking information on a number of projects (especially precious metals) in British Columbia during the annual Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada conference held in Toronto. Renewed optimism in B.C. was also apparent at the Kamloops Exploration Group conference in April. I am hopeful that this trend will continue through the summer and that investors choose to explore for more in British Columbia.

Successful exploration

AME has been active in supporting mineral exploration that leads to the successful discovery of mineable deposits, as well as helping to ensure that projects are permitted effectively and efficiently in B.C. For those explorers who have secured funding, in a competitive investment world, their global investors continuously appraise the efficiency and robustness of a jurisdiction’s permitting systems. With the apparent uptick in the industry, the number of Notice of Work exploration permit applications is beginning to increase again. To help ensure that mineral exploration programs in B.C. are permitted as efficiently as possible, a group of AME Land Access & Use Committee members, led by Jill Pardoe, an AME director and former B.C. mines inspector, is working with the five regional offices of the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) to identify impediments in the permitting process. Our shared priority goal will be to correct as many permitting challenges as possible so that AME members are busy working this field season.

This past spring, AME collaborated with officials from MEM, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations to arrange for an exemption of water use permits in 2016. And we are actively supporting the work of our relatively new Taxation, Securities and Investment (TSI) Committee chaired by Mark Peters (see page 29). The TSI Committee is made up of experts thinking hard on finding ways to reduce financial regulatory burdens and improve the flow of venture capital.

Aboriginal relations and engagement

AME engages with First Nations and promotes the benefits of responsible mineral exploration in a variety of regions across B.C. Examples of such efforts include outreach seminars with AME staff and volunteers, as well as prospector’s training for First Nations delivered by the Prince George Exploration Group, funded by AME and industry partners. And following a successful event at Mineral Exploration Roundup 2016, A ME ’s Aboriginal Relations Committee planned the inaugural AME Gathering Place to be held at Minerals North 2016 in Smithers. AME continues to look for and support activities that build mutually beneficial relationships between Aboriginal people and the minerals industry.

Public awareness and stakeholder education

AME released its sixth annual request for proposals for regional outreach to communities in the spring. The AME funded regional outreach program has helped increase knowledge of mineral exploration and development in many regions of B.C., and I encourage you to read Anastasia Ledwon’s article about the program on page 8.

And as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and showcasing a safe, environmentally responsible industry to the public is important. To help AME better illustrate the industry, we are pleased to launch our annual photo contest – see page 30 for the rules and guidelines, plus a look at past winners!

Socially responsible exploration

The concept of socially responsible exploration has evolved over time, and in fact so has the name of AME’s committee responsible for work in this area. In April, AME’s board of directors approved a change in name – from the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee to the Integrated Social Responsibility Committee. Read more about the Committee’s activities during Mineral Exploration Roundup 2016 on page 28.

Membership engagement

The strength of AME is its membership, and this issue of Mineral Exploration features the 49th annual Buyers Guide that lists our corporate members and demonstrates the diversity of our membership. To look up individual members, or for further details on our corporate members, visit our web-based directory at amebc.ca. Over the past year, we have also taken steps to improve communications and provide opportunities for members to advocate directly on key issues; examples include Core Matters monthly policy updates and a revitalized AME News Update e-newsletter.

Mineral Exploration Roundup

Plans are well underway for AME’s Roundup 2017 conference, “Gearing Up for Discovery,” to be held under the Canada Place sails from January 23 to 26, 2017. Watch for further details regarding our signature annual conference in the Fall 2016 issue of Mineral Exploration magazine.

On behalf of the staff and board of AME , I thank you for your support of the Association as we strategically focus on key priority areas and advocacy work that builds a successful mineral exploration and development industry in B.C. I also wish you a safe day, every day, wherever this summer message finds you!