President & CEO’s Message
Edie Thome, President & CEO, AME
Thanks to those of you who attended and helped make our 36th annual AME Roundup 2019 conference a great success! The hard work and dedication of our volunteers and staff paid off as we welcomed over 6,500 attendees at the Vancouver Convention Centre on the unceded Coast Salish territory of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish nations. We broke a few records at this year’s conference with an all time high of 49 countries represented, 3 Premiers in attendance (British Columbia, Northwest Territory and Yukon), representation by all provincial and federal parties and indigenous leaders from across the country. I was thrilled to see a contingent of 50 youth from 3Nations (Tahltan, Tlingit and Kaska). In addition, the feedback on the technical sessions and short courses was exceptional and we thank all of those presenting and attending for your contributions in creating such a high value conference.
We are grateful to our patron sponsor, Teck Resources Ltd., for their continued support of Roundup and once again championing the Reconciliation Breakfast showing their commitment to the industry through leadership, collaboration and innovation. We also wish to thank the many companies who also sponsored the conference this year.
At Roundup 2019, we introduced Kendra Johnston, a professional geoscientist and President of Independence Gold Corp. as our new Board chair. This appointment was confirmed following our 107th annual general meeting, where we also convened our new Board of Directors. A hearty thanks to Dr. ‘Lyn Anglin, past chair, as well as to the outgoing directors. They each brought commitment, passion and leadership to the industry and the staff at AME through their contributions at the board. We are proud to present this year’s board of directors and announce that this is the most diverse and inclusive board in the Association’s history – with three Indigenous voices, 28% of board under the age of 45 and eight regional representatives; there are twelve women and thirteen men. See the photo of the 2019 Board of Directors. We also said a fond farewell to Jim Gray, AME’s treasurer after 12 years of dedicated service and welcomed our new treasurer, Jessica van den Akker, CFO & vice-president of finance at Fiore Management & Advisory Corp.
B.C.’s mineral exploration sector is experiencing a steady rebound and 2018 marked the second consecutive annual increase in exploration expenditure. This broad-based growth produced a total exploration spend by companies of $330 million which is up 34% on the prior year and 62% above 2016. We look forward to releasing the full 2018 report with our partners EY and the B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources at PDAC 2019.
In 2018, AME participated in multiple engagement and consultation sessions including as a member of the Mining Jobs Task Force (MJTF), an initiative of the B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. We encourage you to read the full report on the BC Government website, which was a consensus document produced by a diverse group of indigenous, labour, educator and environmental non-government representatives, AME and MABC. Roundup saw the announcement by the Premier of a commitment to implement the action plan in its entirety with some initial specific exciting announcements in support of the industry during his address to the standing room only audience. The provincial government is moving forward with the adoption of all of the actions from the MJTF report to boost the mining sector and create good jobs and a strong, sustainable economy. This included the decision to make both the Mining Flow-Through Share tax credit and the B.C. Mining Exploration Tax Credit permanent incentives to support investment in the industry and drive job growth.
The provincial government is also committing $1 million to work with collaboratively to develop a mining innovation roadmap, and an additional $1 million for the continuation and expansion of the B.C. Regional Mining Alliance, which promotes investment in mineral exploration and mining in B.C. through a unique and strategic collaboration with AME, the Province, the Tahltan Central Government, the Nisga’a Lisims Government and several exploration companies working in northwest B.C.
Some of the advocacy work includes the current temporary allowance that exempts mineral explorers from the requirement to obtain a water use permit which has been extended through December 31, 2019, to allow time for a proposed permanent allowance to be reviewed and a decision rendered. This is ongoing work that AME has been advocating for since the Water Sustainability Act was legislated and we look forward to this being concluded in 2019.
In addition, AME continues advocacy and engagement on improving permitting and Notices of Work processes and part of this includes encouraging appropriate resourcing for the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. We were pleased to hear from Premier Horgan in his address at the Opening Ceremonies at Roundup 2019 that allowances are made in Budget 2019 to address the opportunities raised by AME, MABC and the MJTF. Collaborative planning that took place at Roundup 2019 will continue in order to deliver Notice of Work workshops in the regions in the spring of 2019.
As we look forward in 2019, we will build on the relationships forged and reinforced at Roundup 2019 to develop our approach for working on our members’ behalf. We were pleased to once again have received more than 700 responses to our membership survey during Roundup, and will be working with the results of this survey – together with input from our Board and committees – to develop our 2019-2020 Annual Work Plan. We will be working with our colleagues on the MJTF to begin implementing further actions within that report and we look forward to you beginning to see those benefits as you prepare for another busy field season.
Spring is a time of new beginnings and renewed relationships. Following PDAC, AME will be on the road this spring at regional exploration conferences such as Kamloops Exploration Group and Minerals North, and local government conferences throughout the province, to meet with our members as well as indigenous communities and elected government officials. We will also be hosting our annual safety workshops and conducting our annual environment, health and safety survey in conjunction with PDAC. I encourage all companies active in or directly supporting mineral exploration to fill out the survey online. Finally, we are planning to host courses during KEG 2019 and a spring MinEx talks series that will continue our proud tradition of bringing members together and provide high-value content while continuing to develop long-lasting relationships. And of course, it wouldn’t be spring without our annual golf tournament scheduled for a guaranteed sunny day on May 22, 2019. We look forward to seeing you there!
From all of us at AME, we wish you a productive spring – wherever your work and travels take you. Have a safe day, every day.
AME appointed its new Board of Directors at AME Roundup.
President & CEO
Association for Mineral Exploration