It’s true that the global mineral exploration and development industry has been experiencing a significant downturn. Despite the challenges this presents, the industry – much of it based in B.C. – continues to make enormous contributions to the social and economic well-being of British Columbians. These contributions cannot be taken for granted, however, and policy-makers must take concrete steps to position the sector for future success.

Given Canada’s new federal government, this is a critical time for AME BC to champion the investment, exploration and mineral development potential of B.C., and to strengthen and reinforce strategic connections with government, First Nations, and business and industry leaders.

Successful exploration

Successful exploration is the only path to discovering new mineable deposits, which, once constructed and in production, can spur responsible regional economic development and diversification. British Columbia is vast with underexplored mineral development potential. And a strong mineral exploration and development industry and a healthy environment are not mutually exclusive.

But minerals are a hidden resource, and explorers require reasonable access to large tracts of land with mineral development potential to discover that very rare and special deposit that may be economically viable. The venture capital investment required to carry out the initial search for minerals is absolutely vital, even with the low odds of locating an economical mineral resource. Provincial and federal government policies and emerging First Nation policies must be aligned to ensure that B.C. continues to attract investment in mineral exploration and development.

More than 100 active exploration projects in British Columbia represent the potential new mines of the future. In this Winter 2015 issue of Mineral Exploration, Peter Caulfield takes a look at how the BC Geological Survey’s “red line” research ties together many projects in northwestern B.C. and provides the geoscience research that will help lead to future discoveries.

Aboriginal relations and engagement

AME BC was an early leader in building mutual understanding, respect and trust with Aboriginal communities. Republished in May 2015, AME BC’s Aboriginal Engagement Guidebook is a widely sought resource for industry, government and First Nations. Still not widely known is the fact that the mineral exploration and development industry is the largest private employer of Aboriginal people across Canada and in B.C.

In a survey last year, 19 per cent of Roundup attendees identified themselves as Aboriginal, and the Gathering Place Show Case Session at Roundup exemplifies the role of Aboriginal participation in our industry. As you’ll read about on page 15, AME BC sponsored the Prince George Exploration Group’s prospector training for the Kwadacha and Tsay Keh Dene First Nations in northeastern B.C. this past summer. Anastasia Ledwon’s article demonstrates how this training has kindled interest in mineral exploration in a prospective area by the local First Nations.

Public awareness and stakeholder education

AME BC is proud to have hosted hundreds of students annually at Roundup for the past 12 years. We will continue to host Rockhound elementary and secondary school students at Roundup 2016 and will once again offer public talks and displays during Discovery Day on January 24, 2016.

Socially responsible exploration

AME BC and the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia (APEGBC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The two associations have agreed to co-operate to increase the prestige and esteem of professional engineering and geoscience; to express a unified position on matters related to professional practice; and to work together on areas related to professional development. The agreement provides AME BC and APEGBC with new opportunities to jointly advance the engineering and geoscience professions in B.C. Both organizations have an interest in encouraging best practices in the mineral exploration and development sector, and in ensuring public safety and professional excellence.

This is a critical time for AME BC to champion the investment, exploration and mineral development potential of B.C.

Membership engagement

Many of our members know Robert Quartermain, who was interviewed by Ryan Stuart to discuss the Valley of the Kings discovery at the Brucejack project and his beginnings in mineral exploration (see page 77). Quartermain was also a keynote speaker at AME BC’s Speaker Series event held in September.

Mineral Exploration Roundup

AME BC’s 2016 Mineral Exploration Roundup conference will be held January 25 to 28, under the Canada Place sails at Vancouver Convention Centre East. The Roundup preview (see page 21) is a highlight of this issue of Mineral Exploration and features the Exhibit Hall listing as well as details on the Technical Sessions, Show Case Sessions and networking events. As a reminder, the Roundup conference 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 in B.C. I also wish you a safe day, every day, wherever this winter message finds you!