2017 Award Recipients

We are excited to introduce recipients in seven categories for the PDAC 2017 Awards. These top international and domestic performers will be honoured with a prestigious award in recognition of their excellence and contributions to the mineral exploration and mining industry.

Recipients will be honored at the Awards Gala & After Party on the new day of Tuesday, March 7, 2017, at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, during the PDAC’s annual convention in Toronto. 

The PDAC Board of Directors selects recipients based on recommendations of the Awards Committee. See the selection criteria for each award. 

Awards Gala & After Party

Celebrate the industry's finest with a three-course dinner, fine wine and live music. The Awards Gala & After Party is where individuals and companies are acknowledged for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the mineral exploration and mining industry.

Bill Dennis Award

This award, named for a former president of the association, honours individuals who have accomplished one or both of the following: made a significant mineral discovery; made an important contribution to the prospecting and/or exploration industry. 

Val d’Or Exploration Division, Agnico Eagle Mines Limited

For discovery of the Amaruq gold deposits in the Amer Lake Basin in Nunavut, Canada.  

The high-grade Amaruq deposits represent a significant gold discovery in Nunavut and one of the few recent large gold discoveries in Canada. The robust Whale Tail mineralized system lies nearby the initial discovery, the IVR deposit. Agnico Eagle Mines Limited’s (Agnico) Val d’Or Exploration Division made the discoveries between 2013 and 2016 while prospecting a virtually unexplored part of the Woodburn Lake Belt, 350 kilometres west of Hudson Bay. The division recognized that the type of mineralization at Amaruq was different from many typical gold occurrences.

The 1,167-square-kilometre Amaruq property includes the major Whale Tail deposit and three parallel gold zones named I, V, and R (the IVR deposit), between 100 and 800 metres north of Whale Tail. Inferred resources are estimated at 19.4 million tonnes grading 5.97 g/t gold for a total of 3.7 million ounces of gold (as at June 30, 2016). Ore-grade drill results include hole AMQ16-570 drilled in 2016 that intersected 47.6 metres estimated true width grading 5.9 g/t gold at 288 metre depth in the Whale Tail deposit. This illustrates the potential for this to become a giant deposit. Drilling in 2016 indicated that the Whale Tail mineralization extends for at least 2.2 kilometres along strike from surface to locally as deep as 730 metres. The highlight of the project for 2016 was the discovery of additional lenses in the V Zone, which dips shallowly toward Whale Tail from surface to 540 metres locally, improving its potential as a second source of open pit ore.

The exploration program originally targeted the IVR gold showing, after reviewing public geological maps and assessment reports. An initial exploration program in 2013 consisted of prospecting, mapping, and a small ground geophysical survey (Mag-EM). A four-hole diamond-drill program targeted the best conductors and the fourth hole intersected gold mineralization. Additional budget was allocated to drill another 10 holes later that year that identified three mineralized zones – I, V and R. The project has grown quickly since then, with significant investment.

In addition to the IVR deposit and Whale Tail, the Val d’Or Exploration Division discovered two more zones of mineralization at nearby Mammoth Lake. Samples from a boulder field north of Mammoth Lake contained visible gold, adding to the resource potential of the area.

The potential and excitement of the discovery is heightened by the timing and location. Reserves at the Meadowbank Gold Mine—one of Agnico’s largest gold producers—are expected to be depleted during 2018. Furthermore, Meadowbank is conveniently located just 50 kilometres southeast of Amaruq, meaning much of the essential infrastructure for a producing mine is already in place. Construction of a 62 kilometre access road is underway to connect the mine to Amaruq.


Distinguished Service Award

This award recognizes an individual who has achieved one or more of the following: made a substantial contribution to mineral exploration and mining development over a number of years; given considerable time and effort to the PDAC; made outstanding contributions to the mineral industry in the field of finance, geology, geophysics, geochemistry research, or a related activity.

Neil Gow

For using his vast knowledge and experience as a geologist to volunteer for the betterment of the mineral exploration and mining industry.

Neil Gow is a geologist who served the mineral exploration and mining industry in an exemplary fashion. He started his career in Australia before making his way to Canada in 1982. For the most part since then he has been an independent Consulting Geologist based just outside Toronto in Burlington.

Neil is well-known for his work in lead-zinc, laterite and gold deposits, which included valuation reports for potential investment by clients and independent qualifying reports. Yet, it’s his many generous volunteer commitments that make him a standout in his field.

For the past 12 years, Neil has volunteered on the PDAC Convention Planning Committee, and chaired numerous Technical Sessions at the PDAC Convention. For around 15 years he was Secretary-Treasurer of the Toronto Geological Discussion Group, where he organized bi-weekly presentations on various economic and exploration topics.

And it doesn’t stop there. Serving as Chairman of the Mineral Resource and Reserves Committee at the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy & Petroleum (CIM), Neil was part of the team that wrote the Estimation of Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves Best Practice Guidelines to assist in the planning, supervision, preparation, and reporting of Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve (MRMR) estimates, which were adopted in 2003. He was also a panel member of a committee for the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines to identify guidelines for areas having the most likely potential for mineral discovery.

The extensive volunteer contributions of this one individual over the last 30 years are invaluable to the ongoing development of the industry. 


Environmental & Social Responsibility Award

This award honours an individual or organization demonstrating outstanding initiative, leadership and accomplishment in protecting and preserving the natural environment and/or in establishing good community relations during an exploration program or operation of a mine.

Teranga Gold Corporation

For outstanding community relations and making proactive, lasting contributions to the communities and surrounding regions of its Sabodala Gold Mine in Senegal, West Africa.

The Sabodala Gold Mine is the first and only gold industrial mine in Senegal. Teranga Gold Corporation (Teranga) has operated the mine since 2009, and has established itself as a leader in community relations and responsible mining practices.

In its 2015 Sustainability Report, Teranga acknowledges that it is operating as a guest in Senegal, and the right to be there must be earned. This is reflected in the company’s approach to mining, which begins by creating a culture of risk mitigation and shared long-term value with host communities.

Teranga employs more than 1,000 people from Senegal, most of who are from the two regions near the mine, and delivers more than 40 training programs to develop employee skills, literacy and numeracy. Women comprise 9% of the workforce at the Sabodala mine site, and are represented across all departments.

Through the creation of a Regional Development Strategy, Teranga identified ways to further contribute to sustainable growth and development. The company launched initiatives aimed at the growth of small businesses and service providers to feed its local supply chain, and proactively sought partnerships with government, international and local NGOs, and other organizations with similar interest in supporting the long-term, socio-economic development of the region. One such partnership, the Canadian Cooperation Roundtable, was supported by Teranga and gathered together 30 Canadian industry and civil society actors with an interest in the region where the Sabodala mine is located. The Roundtable aimed to facilitate collaboration and information-sharing and contributed to the advancement of 20 different development projects. One such project was a partnership between Teranga and the Paul Gérin-Lajoie Foundation, which aims to provide 50 youths in the region with hands-on vocational training in agricultural skills and technical maintenance.

Teranga is working closely with the Government of Senegal as it introduces its Emerging Senegal Plan, which includes implementing the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Furthermore, support from Teranga and the Embassy of Canada in Senegal has enabled the creation of three long-term land use management strategies and development plans in partnership with department-level governments in the area of the mine.

Teranga also employs a Social Fund, managed in partnership with local administration and community representatives, to support small-scale, sustainable community development projects. In 2013, more than US$1.37 million was invested through the Teranga Social Fund. By 2015, it was over $3.43 million, with an annual commitment of US$1.2 million going forward.

Looking ahead to 2017, Teranga aims to replicate its expansive sustainable development programs within Burkina Faso in conjunction with its recent merger with Gryphon Minerals. 

Darker Teranga Logo

Skookum Jim Award

Recipients of this award have demonstrated exceptional achievement and/or service in a Canadian Aboriginal-run service business for the Canadian mining industry or a Canadian Aboriginal exploration or mining company, or have made a significant individual contribution to the mining industry.

Peter Moses

For his significant contribution to Canada’s mineral exploration and mining industry through his work with companies, government, and Aboriginal communities over a career of more than 50 years.

Peter Moses is an active member of Canada’s mineral exploration and mining community. His work as a prospector started early in life when he worked on the family’s trapline. Learning from his father and grandfather, Peter’s interest in geology grew and would eventually become the basis of a prolific career spanning more than four decades.

The industry is in Peter’s blood. He is a fourth generation family member connected to exploration and mining, dating back to his great-grandfather in 1860. In 1964, Peter became one of the first members of his community to succeed in completing a post-secondary education. He began prospecting on his own and also partnering with local team members in the Pic River and Marathon region. Often, he led a prospecting team on extremely rugged terrain, including the North Shore of Lake Superior.

Over 35 years as a part-time prospector, Peter successfully promoted, negotiated and executed 34 option agreements between his partners and junior and major mining companies throughout Canada and the United States. Additionally, he provided prospector training, staking and geoscience (exploration) information workshops to 123 of the 134 First Nation communities in Ontario, as well as the Métis Nation of Ontario. He developed the entire curriculum with the support of other industry associations. 

Peter is credited with fostering positive relationships between industry and Aboriginal communities. His impact transcends provincial boundaries, as he networks nationally within the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association (CAMA). Outside of CAMA, Peter works in partnership with various industry, government and First Nations organizations, such as PDAC, Northwestern Ontario Prospectors Association (NWOPA), Boreal Prospectors Association (BPA), the Ontario Prospectors Association (OPA), Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM), Nishnawbe-Aski Development Fund, Matawa Tribal Council, and Confederation College and Lakehead University.

Currently, Peter is the Mineral Development Information Officer for Matawa First Nations Management. Here he continues to build on the relationships and accomplishments of the past 50 years, providing perspective and advice on mineral development to the nine Matawa First Nation communities in Northern Ontario, including projects such as the Ring of Fire, Hard Rock Mine Project and the Albany Graphite Deposit.

Peter maintains membership and is an active participant in the OPA, NWOPA, PDAC, CAMA, and BPA. Past achievements include the Lifetime Achievement Award from Northwestern Ontario Prospectors Association in 2008, Ontario’s Amethyst Award for Outstanding Achievements by Ontario Public Servants in 2009, team recipient of MNDM Group Award, and a Certificate of Appreciation by PDAC in 2009.

Peter Moses

Special Achievement Award

From time to time, the PDAC presents a Special Achievement Award that recognizes exceptional contributions to the mineral industry.

Women’s Association of the Mining Industry of Canada (WAMIC) 

For continuous philanthropy to the mining industry, as well as Canadian health and educational institutions for 95 years.

WAMIC was founded in 1921 with the objective of promoting friendship among women connected to mining, supporting the industry and people in it, and participating in work that related to the well-being of Canadians.

Over the past 95 years, WAMIC members have overseen the distribution of more than $1.8 million in support of young people’s education, most of which was raised directly by their efforts. WAMIC is probably best known for its fundraising, its numerous and imaginative social events, and the association’s strong presence at both the PDAC and Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum conventions in Toronto.  WAMIC was also the inspiration for the similar Greater Vancouver Mining Women’s Association in British Columbia.

While the role of the association has evolved in recent years, it continues to make a significant impact. WAMIC has provided financial support for hundreds of students undertaking earth science and mining-related subjects and programs at colleges and universities across Canada. Canadian students attending Michigan Technological University and the South Dakota School of Mines in the United States have also received financial support. Furthermore, university and college programs have received direct contributions for field trips, technology and educational events.

In 1939, WAMIC established its first bursary at the University of Toronto. Named after WAMIC’s founder Edith Tyrrell, the annual award continues today and provides a significant benefit to a third- or fourth-year student in the mineral engineering or geology programs.

WAMIC’s generosity continues to support many good causes. Special emphasis has always been given to those involving education, health, women and children, Aboriginal communities, and museums such as the B.C. Museum of Mining (now the Britannia Mine Museum) and the Royal Ontario Museum.

WAMIC began from very humble beginnings as a simple meeting of women connected to the mining industry.  Despite a changing world, it still provides friendship amongst mining women and supports worthy causes, while its legacy continues to assist the next generation of mineral exploration and mining professionals in Canada. 

WAMIC small

Thayer Lindsley Award

This award recognizes an individual or a team of explorationists credited with a recent significant mineral discovery anywhere in the world.

Peter Megaw, MAG Silver Corp

For the 2003 discovery of the 200 million ounce Juanicipio silver deposit in the Fresnillo District, Mexico, ultimately leading to a further 600 million ounces being identified in the immediate area.

In 2003, Peter Megaw, a Professional Geologist and co-founder of MAG Silver, made a blind discovery known as the Juanicipio silver deposit that contains more than 200 million ounces silver. The discovery resulted from an understanding of structural controls and mineral zoning patterns of epithermal vein systems and persistent application of field-based exploration methods.

The Juanicipio silver deposit was discovered in the 500 kilometre-long Fresnillo epithermal belt in Mexico, which extends from the Guanajuato district (1.3 billion ounces silver) through Zacatecas (1.0 billion ounces silver) and Fresnillo (1.2 billion ounces silver) to the San Martin-Sabinas district (800 million ounces silver). The belt overlies a regional structural zone and is the most productive silver deposit trend in the world, yielding more than 10% of the silver mined in human history. All but two of the major silver deposits in the Fresnillo silver belt were discovered in outcrop during Colonial times. Peter recognized that there should be more under the alluvium that mantles two thirds of the belt. He noted that most of the intrusive centres and ore deposits occurred at structural intersections and suggested that exploration should focus on understanding the structural fabric of exposed areas and then apply the results to covered areas. Thus, the structural and alteration patterns of historic mining areas were projected into nearby covered ground, with target depths indicated by using the results of detailed studies by others of paleo groundwater levels.

Peter first recognized the potential of the Juanicipio area in 1995, but it took three years to acquire the ground. Mapping, sampling and geophysical surveys began in 1998 with target definition and drill permitting completed in 2001. A hiatus set in until MAG Silver was established in July 2002 and began drilling in May 2003, shortly after going public. The first hole intersected the Juanicipio vein, demonstrating that Megaw’s model was right. A joint venture with Fresnillo plc commenced in 2005, and the really big vein was hit by the JV on the sixteenth drill hole. 

Megaw’s other discoveries in Mexico include the La Platosa silver deposit in Durango (Mexico's highest grade silver mine), and Cinco de Mayo in Chihuahua.  Both lie in the Mexican carbonate replacement belt, and further demonstrate Megaw's systematic, disciplined and long-term exploration approach.

As a result of Peter’s Juanicipio discovery, renewed exploration of neighbouring ground led to new veins being identified with a further 600 million ounces defined and developed into mines. The Juanicipio mine is expected to start production in 2018 with silver grades in excess of 500 g/t and significant by-product gold, lead and zinc. The access decline is nearly complete and stope development will begin in 2017.

Peter Megaw

Viola R. MacMillan Award

This award, which is named in honour of the PDAC’s longest serving president, is given to an individual or organization demonstrating leadership in management and financing for the exploration and development of mineral resources. 

Gahcho Kué  Diamond Mine, De Beers Group of Companies & Mountain Province Diamonds

For development of the world’s largest new diamond mine in the last 13 years, a complex project that is expected to produce approximately 54 million carats of rough diamonds over its lifetime.

Gahcho Kué Diamond Mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories (NWT) officially opened in September 2016. It is a joint venture between the De Beers Group of Companies, a privately-owned diamond exploration, mining, rough diamond sales and retail company that owns 51% of the project; and Toronto-based Mountain Province Diamonds, that owns the remaining 49%. Mountain Province discovered the first kimberlite at Gahcho Kue in 1995 and entered into a joint venture with De Beers in 1997. Gahcho Kué is the world’s largest new diamond mine in 13 years and is expected to produce approximately 54 million carats of rough diamonds during its initial 12-year lifespan. It is comprised of three open pits and is on track to reach full commercial operation in the first quarter of 2017.

The US$1 billion exploration, delineation and construction of Gahcho Kué was no small undertaking. Most of the supplies were brought in via an ice road from Yellowknife—approximately 280 kilometres away—and sometimes took more than 20 hours to transport. The ice road season typically lasts between just six and eight weeks, making the window of opportunity very short. Despite these challenges, the project was completed ahead of time, and under budget. It proudly recorded no serious injuries and achieved a lost-time injury rate of 0.15 and has not recorded a lost-time injury in over 1-million work hours.

The mine brings many benefits to the region and to all of Canada, by employing 530 full-time positions on a fly-in, fly-out rotation. Even during its construction, the mine provided outstanding economic benefits. Between 2006 and 2015, its development provided $440 million to the NWT economy, and another $350 million spent across Canada. Once the mine is fully operational, estimates are equivalent to $5.7 billion in Gross Value Added to the NWT.

In 2015, including its supply chain impacts, the mine supported more than 2,700 jobs, with employment at the site representing more than 10 per cent in the NWT’s extractive industries. As of October 2016, while still ramping up to full production, the De Beer's workforce at Gahcho Kué already had 46% representation of NWT-resident employees, 20% self-identified Indigenous employees and 14% female employees. 

Gahcho Kué is De Beers largest ever mine outside of southern Africa. It will offset declining production at the company’s other two Canadian diamond operations. It is Mountain Province Diamonds’ first ever mine. Canada is the world’s third largest diamond producer, and Gahcho Kué is the sixth commercial diamond mine in the country. It will account for 3% of the world's changing diamond market.