We know times are tough for most AME BC members. Although British Columbia continues to host 58 per cent of the mineral exploration and mining companies listed on the TSX and TSX-V exchanges, the ranks are thinning. Over the past two and a half years, from December 2012 to June 2015, the number of mineral exploration and mining companies listed on the TSX and TSX-V has declined by 15 per cent, from 1,673 to 1,421 companies. The number of companies headquartered in B.C. has similarly declined by 14 per cent, from 962 to 825 companies.

Even during these challenging times, the fall is always a busy time for the Association. Preparations for AME BC’s Mineral Exploration Roundup 2016 conference are in full swing. And as your advocates, members of AME BC will be attending the annual UBCM convention, the Minerals South conference, the Alaska Miners Association fall convention and the American Exploration & Mining Association event.

Now is a good time to communicate the importance of mineral exploration and development in B.C. to a greater audience. Following is a summary of our recent activities and news:

Successful Exploration

As the downturn in the mineral exploration and development industry continued, AME BC established the Taxation, Securities and Investment Committee to develop expertise and provide policy recommendations, support and guidance for the industry. And AME BC continued to advocate for access to land for mineral exploration and development in northwestern B.C., particularly in areas adjoining Alaska and along the north and central coast. Further, AME BC launched its Transboundary Relations Committee to explore other opportunities for engaging Alaskan communities.

Geoscience BC received $5 million from the provincial government to continue its work in developing earth science data for mineral explorers and investors.

Imperial Metals’ Red Chris copper-gold mine has entered commissioning, and Pretium’s Brucejack gold mine project has been granted federal environmental assessment approval. Note that AME BC will be hosting Robert Quartermain, Pretium’s chairman and CEO, as our keynote speaker on September 23 at our Speaker Series luncheon event.

Aboriginal Relations and Engagement

AME BC ’s continued leadership in Aboriginal engagement was evident through Aboriginal Relations Committee chair Lana Eagle’s participation at the Sustainable Development in the Minerals Industry seventh international conference.

We were also very pleased to support the Prince George Exploration Group’s inaugural prospector training program in the community of Tsay Keh Dene, as AME BC sees the growing Aboriginal workforce as a tremendous mutually beneficial opportunity for the mineral exploration and development sector.

Public Awareness and Stakeholder Education

AME BC presented at the Pacific Northwest Economic Region summit in Montana to explain the mineral exploration and development process in B.C., as well as attended the 72nd Energy & Mines Ministers’ Conference held in Halifax. This issue of Mineral Exploration focuses on education and training – even with the current downturn and using conservative hiring forecasts, the Canadian mineral exploration and mining industry is forecasted to require more than 100,000 workers over the next decade.

Socially Responsible Exploration

We are pleased to report that AME BC and PDAC have received 97 responses – the second-highest number ever – to our annual Environment, Health and Safety Survey, and results will be released at Mineral Exploration Roundup. AME BC’s Corporate Social Responsibility Committee was also active this summer; read its take on the Government of Canada’s new CSR strategy on page 21.

Membership Engagement

Mineral Exploration has long been one of our tools to engage members and share each other’s experiences; I hope you enjoy reading about some of our corporate and individual members involved in industry education. During the summer, AME BC hosted its annual Old Timer’s Summer Luncheon, and we are planning other events in the fall to further engage members.

Mineral Exploration Roundup

The program for AME BC’s Mineral Exploration Roundup 2016 conference, to be held January 25 to 28 under the Canada Place sails, is well underway. Check out our conference brochure (included with this issue, and available from AME BC). This coming Roundup will coincide with Cambridge House’s Vancouver Resource Investment Conference, which will allow for respective conference delegates to attend both events.

On behalf of the staff and board of AME BC, 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 based in B.C. I also wish you a safe day, every day, wherever this message finds you!