President & CEO’s Message
Gavin C. Dirom M.Sc., P. Ag. President & CEO, AME
During these tough times, the industry doesn’t just dig in; it gets going and prepares for the better days ahead that we know will inevitably come. With the support of AME members, we have continued to work as the advocate for a successful and responsible mineral exploration and development industry based in British Columbia, and operating throughout the world.
On January 15, AME opened the TSX markets with the Honourable Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines, corporate members, sponsors and representative members of AME, MABC and Geoscience BC. Following the market opening, an interactive lunchtime session featuring Minister Bennett was held at the Toronto Region Board of Trade. Our national partners, the PDAC, supported and participated in both AME-led events. Clearly, the ongoing venture capital market crisis is an omnipresent concern to most of our members. Given this reality, industry and government must work together to build reasonable public policy and promote BC as a jurisdiction of choice that is open for business and attractive to venture capital investment for prospecting and exploring for new mineable deposits. We will continue to work with Minister Bill Bennett and the Ministry of Energy and Mines staff, along with many others, regarding this important issue for AME members.
More than 6,600 delegates from 35 countries attended AME’s world-class Mineral Exploration Roundup 2015 conference held in our new location under the sails at Canada Place, Vancouver Convention Centre East. Planning is underway to build upon the successful Roundup 2015 experience and make improvements that are practicable and cost-effective, and add value to the delegate experience. Stay tuned for regular updates about Roundup 2016.
It was announced by Premier Christy Clark on January 26 that BC’s exploration expenditures in 2014 were $338 million. This level of investment represents over 20% of the total spending across Canada, second only to Ontario. Premier Clark also announced that the provincial government has committed to increasing the base funding of the Mines and Mineral Resources Division to $17.1 million as well as extending the $10 million BC mining flow-through share tax credit through December 31, 2015. And further to Premier Clark’s remarks, it is clear that mineral exploration activities will be exempt from permitting fees under the Mines Act. All of these commitments were confirmed in the BC budget 2015 announced February 17.
In March, AME hosted a large reception for industry in Toronto and exhibited with the BC Ministry of Energy and Mines at the PDAC 2015 convention. And we held our 5th annual AME Exploration Safety for Project Managers Workshop and 12thannual Introduction to Exploration Safety Workshop as well as launched our annual Canadian Mineral Exploration Health & Safety survey in conjunction with the PDAC. We are encouraging members to complete this important survey to track safety trends in the industry.
AME joined the Mining Association of BC and Mining Suppliers Association of BC at Mining Day at the Legislature on March 24 in Victoria. And recently, AME participated in the 28th Kamloops Exploration Group conference from April 13-15 where an estimated 430 delegates attended. The federal budget 2015 was released on April 21, and we were pleased to hear Minister Joe Oliver extend the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit through March 2016 and expand the eligibility of Canadian exploration expenses to include environmental studies and community consultation expenses incurred after February 2015. An Ernst & Young study conducted in 2013 for AME found that the average consultation costs borne by representative companies as a percentage of their total exploration expenditures in 2012 was estimated at over 21 per cent. And a recent study by the PDAC found that 72% of exploration-stage financing from 2012 through 2014 was by flow-through shares that are made possible by the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit.
We are looking forward to the many events scheduled for this spring, where we will have an opportunity to further engage with our members as well as elected officials and the public. AME is participating in many local government conferences throughout the province and soon we will be co-hosting the Community Fair with MineralsEd on May 6 and raising donations for the Mining for Miracles campaign to benefit BC Children’s Hospital through Teck’s pie throw event on May 7 during BC Mining Week in Vancouver. We are also preparing for AME’s 23rd annual golf tournament to be held on May 19 at the University Golf Club at UBC and planning to attend the Minerals North conference in Mackenzie from May 27-29.
As well, we are following up on the meetings held in Anchorage this past fall, where we accompanied Minister Bill Bennett and senior government officials to the Alaska Miners Association conference to have discussions with commercial fishermen and other stakeholders about BC’s environmental assessment and mine permitting processes and to strengthen relationships between BC and Alaska. The successful and responsible development of mine projects located in northwestern BC is important to everyone.
On behalf of the staff and board of AME, I thank the hundreds of volunteers and thousands of members of the Association for their valuable support and contributions. Finally, please remember to have a safe day, every day, wherever this quarterly message finds you!
Gavin C. Dirom, M.Sc., P. Ag.
President & CEO
Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia