Early in 2016, British Columbia’s mineral exploration and development industry began to show signs of emerging from the depths of a dark and sustained downturn. Although mineral explorers are optimists by nature, as an industry we had been severely challenged by four consecutive years of a bear market. According to Palisade Research, the turning point was on Jan. 20, 2016 when the TSX-V market achieved a gain after 1,200 days of continuous losses and there has been a growing trend of new money coming into the industry, including significant flow-through financing for Barkerville Gold Mines Ltd.’s properties in the historic Cariboo area and IDM Mining Ltd.’s Red Mountain gold project in northwest B.C., and private capital investments into Pretium Resources Inc.’s Brucejack gold project in the Province’s Golden Triangle and JDS Silver’s Silvertip silver-lead-zinc mine in northern British Columbia.
Financings in support of earlier stage exploration projects have been harder to achieve although the likes of Serengeti Resources Inc., Dolly Varden Silver Corp. and Westhaven Ventures Inc. indicate that the opportunities are expanding beyond advanced stage projects. As we enter 2017, it is encouraging to see that some AME members are in a better position to conduct exploration work not just in B.C. but around the world. Though times remain challenging for many of our members, we remain optimistic that 2017 will see the continuation of steady year-to-year improvements in the prices of most precious and base metals, steel-making coal and mineral commodities that will rekindle and build investment throughout our sector.
AME’s annual Roundup 2017 conference is appropriately themed “Gearing up for Discovery”. From Jan. 23 to 26, our 34th annual conference in Vancouver, B.C. will highlight the encouraging results of this past year’s uptick in mineral exploration activity. As of press time, 76 projects at all stages of mineral exploration and development from 13 different countries will be featured in technical presentations and displays in the Prospectors’ Tent and Core Shack.
And in our new Passport to Explore exhibit at AME’s Roundup 2017, we will showcase the findings of research projects conducted by publicly funded geological surveys. Also, we are pleased to bring back AME’s Gathering Place, with its industry- leading talks about Aboriginal engagement and success stories of First Nations working together with the mineral exploration and development industry. AME’s Roundup program also features short courses, a trade show and sessions focused on topics such as public geoscience and commodity trends. Plus, the new lunchtime Invest in BC session will focus on building value for shareholders, presented in an interactive format hosted by Resource Maven’s Gwen Preston.
British Columbians will head to the polls to elect a new provincial government and 87 members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) on May 9. Accordingly, AME will provide an opportunity on Jan. 25 at our annual Government-Industry Session for Roundup delegates to ask candidates and MLAs from the Liberal, New Democrat and Green political parties how they will support mineral exploration and development activity in province. As well, we are excited to host political commentator and Vancouver Sun editorialist Vaughn Palmer as our keynote speaker at the Chair’s Welcome Dinner on Jan. 22.
AME’s Roundup conference is also a special occasion for industry leaders to be recognized for their important and worthy accomplishments. AME will salute our industry’s best and brightest at the Celebration of Excellence Awards Gala on Jan. 25. This year, we have the honour of recognizing 17 individuals and two organizations for their achievements (see below).
Along with the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (“PDAC”), AME will also use the opportunity provided by Roundup 2017 to recognize exceptional achievement in health and safety.
We invite you to join us in congratulating Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation and Cameco Corporation Exploration Department in receiving the Safe Day Everyday Gold Award at the Environment, Health and Safety Awards Breakfast on the morning of Jan. 25.
So here’s to a more prosperous year ahead for the globally active mineral exploration and development industry based right here in BC! We look forward to seeing you all as we start the new year off at AME’s Roundup 2017 conference – it should not be missed!.
2016 AME AWARD RECIPIENTS
Chris Rockingham, Carl Edmunds and Wade Barnes, recipients of the H.H. “Spud” Huestis Award for Excellence in Prospecting and Mineral Exploration
Don Parsons and Steve Parsons, recipients of the E.A. Scholz Award for Excellence in Mine Development
Terry Salman, recipient of the Murray Pezim Award for Perseverance and Success in Financing Mineral Exploration
William Lamb and Lukas Lundin, recipients of the Hugo Dummett Award for Excellence in Diamond Exploration and Development
Dr. David Broughton and Sello Kekana, recipients of the Colin Spence Award for Excellence in Global Mineral Exploration
Jim Cooney, recipient of the Robert R. Hedley Award for Excellence in Social and Environmental Responsibility
The late Graham Ennis, recipient of the David Barr Award for Excellence in Leadership and Innovation in Mineral Exploration Health & Safety
JoAnne Nelson, recipient of a Special Tribute in recognition of her distinguished career in geoscience work
Susan Craig, recipient of the Gold Pan Award for Exceptional Meritorious Service to the Mineral Exploration Community through AME
Barb Caelles, Alex Christopher and Diane Gregory, recipients of the Frank Woodside Past Presidents and Past Chairs Award for their distinguished service to the association and/or contribution to the mineral industry
MineralsEd and Britannia Mine Museum, recipients of the AME Outreach Education Fund