With a busy (and hopefully productive) field season nearly behind us, I would like to acknowledge the dangerous wildfire situations that some of you faced. While here in Vancouver we only had minor inconveniences of smoky skies through mid-July and August, many of you were forced to leave your homes, had to alter your work plans and schedules, or perhaps even lost assets in forest fires across the province. The situation reminded me to refresh my family’s safety plan, including updating contact numbers and emergency supplies. We recently practised our communication plan, which may be required in the event of widespread infrastructure damage. In our case, we use an out-of-province “check in” person whom we each try to reach by any means possible to act as a central information hub. Other tips on emergency preparedness can be found at gov.bc.ca/PreparedBC. Having a plan in place can ease tensions in times of stress, so please reach out to us at AME if we can assist or if you have information that may be helpful to others.

British Columbia’s new government

With the swearing-in of Premier John Horgan and his cabinet in late July, we have been in communication with the premier and the new ministers and staff. Consistency at the deputy minister level in key ministries has allowed conversations to resume quickly on the key issues we are focused on for our membership.

With guidance from the Board, Executive Committee, committee members and membership, we will continue to promote solutions to showcase mineral exploration and development as a tangible example that B.C. is open for business.

Strategic and annual planning AME’s robust strategic plan and vision outline six priority areas: successful exploration; Aboriginal relations and engagement; public awareness and stakeholder engagement; socially responsible exploration; membership engagement; and Mineral Exploration Roundup. We finished the busy 2016/2017 fiscal year at the end of August, and, in September, the 2017/2018 Annual Work Plan is slated to be approved on a balanced budget. The full Strategic Plan and Annual Work Plan are available on our refreshed website. Key areas of focus this year will include working with the new government to ensure clarity and predictability around the permitting process and maintained access to land; publishing a refreshed Aboriginal Engagement Guidebook; and hosting another successful Mineral Exploration Roundup in January 2018.

Looking ahead

Preparation for AME’s Roundup 2018 is in full swing! Through formal and informal polling, we have heard what attendees want from Roundup. We take that feedback as a key component to improve and guide our planning. We will deliver value by ensuring that this world-class event continues to provide quality networking opportunities with the people you want to do business with; to provide access to governments, including First Nations; and to have increased access to technical information on exploration and development projects. There is still time to make your voice heard via the 2017 British Columbia Mineral and Coal Exploration Survey. Simply visit the AME website at amebc.ca.

The results will be shared at Roundup. The report is produced as a joint initiative between the Government of British Columbia’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, AME and EY. As a reminder, the survey examines a wide range of economic, sociopolitical and organizational issues that impact companies and individuals prospecting in the province. Last year’s survey can also be found on the AME website.

We will continue to promote solutions to showcase mineral exploration and development as a tangible example that B.C. is open for business.

Also at Roundup 2018, we will be kicking off conversations and gathering input that will be used toward the 2018-2023 Strategic Plan. The staff and I look forward to hearing from you on these two important topics. Your input will ensure that we as an association are focused on the right, high-value work that will increase successful exploration for all.

In closing, I acknowledge and thank the Board and the vast number of talented volunteers – your passion and knowledge are fundamental to our continued success. I would also like to personally thank all of you who have taken the time to reach out to me. The positive welcome has been overwhelming, and I am grateful for the generosity of those who have had time to stop by, grab a coffee or give me a call to offer advice and opinions. In a few short months I have learned a tremendous amount, with much more to go, so please keep reaching out and I promise to do the same.

Have a safe day, every day.