Gavin Dirom_AME_BC

President & CEO's Message - January to March 2017

Successful Exploration:
We are excited to see a much brighter outlook in 2017 for the globally active mineral exploration and development industry based in British Columbia. Despite the protracted down‐cycle that we have endured, the creative solutions, innovative ideas and increased investor interest coming out of AME’s Roundup 2017 conference bring a renewed sense of confidence and optimism to the industry, both locally and on a global scale.

And as AME members know best, grassroots exploration is vital to the discovery of potential mineable deposits and the long term sustainability of mining. That’s why AME is actively encouraging the B.C. government to consider reintroducing a grassroots mineral exploration incentive that would encourage early stage exploration and prospecting activities, particularly in more rural and remote communities where economic development opportunities and jobs may be more limited, but mineral development potential exists. AME believes that British Columbia could better compete with other jurisdictions in attracting investment in the coming years by introducing a 3-year, $5 million BC Grassroots Mineral Exploration Incentive Program in 2017 similar to the successful Yukon Mineral Exploration Program (YMEP) that has been in place for a number of year. In addition to YMEP, there are competitive programs encouraging grassroots exploration in other Canadian jurisdictions including Ontario, the Northwest Territories, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Australia also has similar incentives too. 

On February 21, AME expressed its support of the balanced 2017 budget delivered by B.C. finance minister Mike de Jong in Victoria. The 2017 B.C. budget confirms the extension of the B.C. mining flow-through share tax credit through December 31, 2017 and the expansion of the B.C. mining exploration tax credit to include costs incurred for environmental studies and community consultations as announced by Premier Christy Clark on January 23 at AME’s Roundup conference. Premier Clark also announced $10 million to fund Geoscience BC for two years to stimulate and attract further investment in mineral exploration. In addition, Budget 2017 includes increased funding of $18 million to the Ministry of Energy and Mines over the next three years to support mine permitting and oversight, including compliance and enforcement. See AME’s release at http://www.amebc.ca/media/news-releases/ame-responds-to-b-c-provincial-budget-2017.  

In Toronto on March 6, AME welcomed the one-year extension of the federal Mineral Exploration Tax Credit and maintenance of the flow-through share system as announced by Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr during the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada’s 2017 convention. See AME’s release at http://www.amebc.ca/media/news-releases/ame-supports-mineral-exploration-tax-credit-extension

Aboriginal Relations and Engagement:

AME’s Gathering Place at Roundup, sponsored by Teck Resources Limited, took place from January 24-25, 2017 and featured a range of participants from diverse communities across B.C., including Chief Ervin Charleyboy from Tŝideldel, Chief Marie Quock of the Iskut First Nation, and Councillor Anne Marie Sam of Nak’azdli Whut’en. AME’s Gathering Place opened with a keynote address by Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, followed by remarks from Teck’s President & CEO, Don Lindsay. Afternoon receptions were sponsored by Teck and Bennett Jones LLP. See the following link to review the speakers at AME’s Gathering Place: http://roundup.amebc.ca/events/gathering-place-reception/.

As previously reported, detailed negotiations of the Nenqay Deni Accord between the Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG) and the B.C. Government have not started in earnest. Complicating the discussions is a Letter of Understanding signed between the Government of Canada and TNG on January 27. The LOU is available in on the TNG website: 
http://www.tsilhqotin.ca/PDFs/Press%20Releases/2017_01_27_Tsilhqotin_Canada_LOU.pdf

On March 15, the Kemess Underground mine project received environmental assessment (EA) approvals from both the federal and provincial governments under a substituted EA process. This is the first mining decision under substitution in Canada. Notably, the Tsay Keh Dene, Kwadacha, and Takla Lake First Nations, collectively Tse Keh Nay, provided letters of support to federal and provincial ministers for the environmental assessment approval. For more details, see:http://www.auricometals.ca/investor-information/recent-press-releases/press-release-details/2017/AuRico-Metals-Receives-Environmental-Assessment-Approval-for-Kemess-Underground-Project/default.aspx

Public Awareness, Stakeholder Education and Socially Responsible Exploration:

British Columbia’s 41st general election is scheduled for May 9. AME’s eighth annual government-industry forum, held on January 25 at AME Roundup, featured a political panel discussion between Minister Bill Bennett (BC Liberal Party), Doug Donaldson (BC NDP Party) and Andrew Weaver (BC Green Party). This panel effectively kicked off AME’s pre-election 2017 campaign. AME has again partnered with the Mining Association of British Columbia and the Mining Suppliers Association of B.C. on a non-partisan Vote Mining campaign to raise public awareness and support for mineral exploration and mining among all MLA candidates and voters, regardless of political affiliation. In advance of the provincial election, you can get involved and stay informed at http://www.votemining.ca/.

On February 28, AME representatives joined MABC and the MSABC for their Mining Day at the Legislature 2017. This event, attended by more than 40 delegates from industry, provided an opportunity to raise awareness of industry’s main advocacy priorities in advance of the election with over 60 MLAs and senior government staff.  

The Government of Canada announced on March 31 that the Britannia Mine Museum is the recipient of a $1.4 million funding contribution under its New Building Canada Fund. This fund is in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary and will go towards the rehabilitation of the Mill Building, a National Historic Site on the Sea to Sky highway, as well as several other historic buildings that support the Museum’s popular education and tourism programs (for more details, please click https://t.co/Z8xDHopXnZ).


Membership Engagement:

Congratulations to the new Directors of the Board and thank you to all the candidates who put their names forward and the hundreds of AME members that voted. As announced at AME’s 105th annual general meeting that took place on January 25 during AME’s Roundup 2017 conference, AME members elected six Directors to serve on the Board for 3-year terms, namely: ‘Lyn Anglin, Don Bragg, Lana Eagle, Kendra Johnston, Diane Nicolson and Andy Randell.

AME’s Board of Directors subsequently appointed the following Directors to serve a 1-year term on the Board: Thomas Isaac, Jane McCaw, John Murray, Bruce Scott, Bruce Sprague and Dorrie Williams. Congratulations also to our re-appointed Chair, Diane Nicolson and re-appointed Vice-Chairs Kendra Johnston and Scott Weston. For a full listing of AME’s Board of Directors, please see http://www.amebc.ca/about-us/board-of-directors.

On March 11, I was fortunate to be in Nelson to attend the Chamber of Mines of Eastern BC’s Open House and be their keynote speaker at the evening’s Annual Banquet – it was a wonderful fundraising event for the Chamber. Later on March 25, AME held its 14th annual Introduction to Exploration Safety Workshop at UBC. And note that the 2016 Canadian Mineral Exploration Environment, Health & Safety Survey is now available at www.explorationsurvey.ca - please take time to complete this important survey. 

Mineral Exploration Roundup:

Thank you to the sponsors and delegates that supported AME’s Mineral Exploration Roundup 2017 conference, “Gearing Up for Discovery”, that was successfully held from January 22 to 26 under the Canada Place sails in Vancouver. This year’s Roundup was attended by 5,834 participants representing 43 countries, an eight percent increase from 2016 and a strong indicator of renewed industry optimism and investor confidence. Click here for more details http://www.amebc.ca/media/news-releases/ame's-roundup-2017-concludes-with-optimistic-outlook. AME’s Roundup conference returns to Canada Place on January 22 to 25, 2018.

On behalf of the staff and the Board of AME, I thank the hundreds of dedicated volunteers and thousands of members of the Association for their support. I wish you the very best in 2017 and beyond. Have a safe day, every day, wherever this message finds you!


Gavin C. Dirom, M.Sc., P.Ag.
President & CEO

Association for Mineral Exploration
www.amebc.ca
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Gavin C. Dirom, M.Sc., P. Ag.