A sure sign that spring is around the corner in Canada is the Prospectors, the 75th annual meeting of the PROSPECTORS & DEVELOPERS ASSOCIATION OF CANADA (PDAC), coming to Toronto on March 4 to 7. The meeting is the premier opportunity for savvy investors to learn where the exploration action is.
The diamond drills have been turning at breakneck speed for the last few years all around the world, and the pace of activity shows no signs of slowing down. The high price of so many commoditiesgold, copper, nickel, uranium, coal and morehas made it easier than ever for prospectors to raise record amounts of exploration money.
Besides giving promoters a chance to schmooze with investors, the PDAC honours the most successful mine-finders at its annual banquet. This years recipients are a stellar bunch. Here they are:
The Thayer Lindsley International Discovery Award goes to the team at NORTHERN DYNASTY MINERALS for its discovery in 2005 of the Pebble East porphyry copper-gold-molybdenum deposit in southwest Alaska. Robert Dickinson (executive chairman), Ronald Thiessen (president and CEO), John Payne (senior geologist), Mark Rebagliati (international exploration manager) and David Gaunt (resources manager) are expected to be on hand to receive the award Monday evening.
The Bill Dennis Prospector of the Year Award will be given to Newfoundlands KEATS-STARES FAMILY, four generations of it. The father, Ted, was involved in the discovery of the Point Leamington, Burnt Pond and Tally Pond base metal deposits. Sons Al, Calvin, Fred, and Suley followed in their fathers footsteps. Al worked with his father on Point Leamington and Tally Pond, and was also responsible for the discovery of the Winter Hill and Boundary deposits and mineralized boulders in the vicinity of the Duck Pond deposit. Calvin discovered the South Golden Promise and numerous uranium showings in Labrador. Fred discovered a 36-oz/ton visible-gold boulder on the Appleton Linear for Noranda (now optioned to Paragon). Suley discovered the Beaver Brook base metal deposit with Calvin and has been looking for uranium in Labrador. The following generationsgrandsons and great grandsonsare all active prospectors. Ted and Allan Keats will be on hand to accept the award.
The Viola R. MacMillan Developers Award goes to James Gill, president and CEO of AUR RESOURCES. Under his leadership the company has discovered six deposits since 1981. It built four mines and bought three others, making Aur one of the few companies to make the successful transition from explorer to operator, maintaining its profitability and independence. Aurs (and Canadas) newest base metal mine, Duck Pond in Newfoundland, has been in production since mid-January and expects to be in full production by April.
Tom Schroeter, chief government geologist in BRITISH COLUMBIA, will take home a Special Achievement Award for his work in promoting the importance and contributions of the industry to his political masters of every party. His knowledge of mapping and provincial geology is exemplary, too.
The Distinguished Service Award will recognize CANADAS GOVERNMENT GEOSCIENTISTS for their roles in the search for and discovery of mineral deposits. They are one of this nations key advantages. The co-chairmen of the National Geological Surveys Committee, representing the federal and provincial/territorial geological surveys, will be accepting the award on Monday. On the following evening at the presidents reception, each geological survey will be recognized in turn, with the heads of each accepting a plaque in recognition of this award.
This year there are two E3 Environmental Excellence in Exploration Awards. One will go to GABRIEL RESOURCES for its initiatives as it brings its Rosia Montana project into production in Romania. The second E3 award goes to POLARIS MINERALS CORP. for excellence in community relations and environmental practices during the exploration and construction of its Orca quarry near Port McNeill on Vancouver Island.
The technical program at the convention promises to be an eye-opener, too, this year. Complete information about Core Shack, Investors Exchange Forum, Open Session, Short Course and Workshops, Exhibitors and Technical Papers is available at www.PDAC.ca.