WINNERS: PDAC names best of exploration industry

TORONTO - The Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) honoured the best of the exploration i...
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TORONTO - The Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) honoured the best of the exploration industry at its awards dinner held on March 8 during the 2010 PDAC conference. Here are the lucky winners.

The Thayer Lindsley Award for an international mineral discover went to long-time prospectors Perry Durning and Bud Hillemeyer for their record of grassroots discoveries in Mexico. These include, in 1994, the San Sebastian mine with a life-of-mine production over four years of 11.2 million oz. of silver and 155,937 oz of gold; the San Agustin gold deposit in 1996 (1.6 million oz. indicated, 1.1 million oz. inferred); La Pitarrilla silver deposit in 2002 (91.7 million oz. probable, plus 551.6 million oz. measured and indicated, and one of the most significant silver discoveries in the last decade) ; and most recently in 2007 the Camino Rojo gold discovery (3.4 million oz. gold and 60.7 million oz. silver).

The Bill Dennis Award for a Canadian discovery or prospecting success went to a number of individuals for their roles in the Ring on Fire chromite, copper and zinc discoveries in the James Bay Lowlands of Northern Ontario. They are Richard Nemis and John Harvey, formerly with Noront Resources as president and exploration manager respectively; Mackenzie Watson, president and CEO, and Don Hoy, exploration manager, of Freewest Resources Canada; and Neil Novak of Spider Resources. The James Bay area had been identified as an area of possible mineralized greenstone but it was swampy and lacked the outcrops necessary for traditional prospecting. In spite of these obstacles, the five were able to lead their exploration teams to success, opening up a previously overlooked area of the country to new exploration activity.

The Viola R. MacMillan Award is given annually for company or mine development. This year it went to Ross J. Beaty, a geologist and resource company entrepreneur with more than 37 years of experience in the international minerals industry. He founded and currently serves as chairman of Pan American Silver. The company has eight operating mines in Mexico, Peru, Argentina and Bolivia. Beaty also founded Magma Energy to focus on international geothermal energy development. Since its start in 2008, the company has built a world-class team, acquired a Nevada operating plant with expansion potential and an extensive portfolio of early and advanced stage exploration properties in North and South America. Beaty established the Beaty Biodiversity Centre and Beaty Biodiversity Museum at the University of British Columbia and spearheaded a campaign to raise $56 million to fund a new geology building at UBC.

The Skookum Jim Award for Aboriginal achievement in the mineral industry was given to Willie Keatainak, president of Nuvumiut Developments, a company formed in 1996 by Salluit and Kangiqsujuaq, the two Inuit communities closest to the Raglan mine in the Nunavik area of Northern Quebec. The company aims to secure economic development opportunities at the mine and is fully owned and operated by the Inuit Landholding Corporations of the two communities. It began with an investment of $160,000 and now has assets in excess of $15 million. Keatainak has been involved with the mining industry since the early 1960s. He was a key negotiator to the Raglan agreement in 1995, a landmark pact that is seen as a model for subsequent agreements. He has since worked to encourage members of the two Inuit communities to take advantage of the opportunities that the mine offers.

The Distinguished Service Award went to Nicholas Carter for his significant contributions to exploration and mining and to the industry's associations and professional societies. During his 50-year career, he has become one of the foremost consultants in property evaluation, exploration and development, producing many technical reports on mature mineral prospects in British Columbia. He is an expert on porphyry systems in the province, and his careful documentation of findings and willingness to share information with others have enhanced the province's geoscience knowledge base. Carter was a PDAC director from 1982 to 1993 and chair of the geology division of the CIM in 1985-86. Carter organized field trips and technical meetings in western Canada for the Geological Association of Canada. Between 1988 and 1990, he was president of the BC and Yukon Chamber of Mines (now the Association for Mineral Exploration BC) and a member of its executive for six years. From 1983 to 1989, he served on a committee that established standards for the registration of professional geoscientists in British Columbia.

The Environmental and Social Responsibility Award is shared this year by De Beers Canada and Avalon Rare Metals.

De Beers Canada is recognized for its commitment to its employees, the environment and the communities located close to its two Canadian diamond mines, Snap Lake in the Northwest Territories and Victor, the first diamond mine in Ontario. Both mines were opened in 2008. The company's first Report to Society, published in 2009, notes that De Beers' corporate social investment amounted to more than $3.6 million in 2008, including $2.8 million on education, training and youth literacy. More than 30% of its employees are aboriginal.

Avalon Rare Metals has been a leader in promoting responsible exploration practices, emphasizing early engagement and open communication with communities around its Thor Lake, NT, rare earth project, Nechalacho. The company has encouraged skills training and employment opportunities for aboriginal people and has offered joint business opportunities. Committed to protecting the fragile environment of the North, Avalon was the first company to adopt e3 Plus principles and guidance. Company officials have been instrumental in the program's development and in advancing its use within the exploration industry.

More information about the PDAC is available at

CMJ thanks the PDAC for permission to use its photos of the winners.


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