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July 21, 2008 - No. 56

Principles & performance guidelines for responsible exploration close to completion

In its work to promote responsible exploration and good practices in the industry, the PDAC is developing a framework for sustainable development and responsible exploration. Components of this framework will be principles and performance guidelines, performance criteria reporting guidelines, an enhanced version of e3, and health and safety guidelines. A verification system will also be considered. Together, they will represent the ‘what to do,’ ‘why,’ and ‘how to do it’ elements of responsible exploration. The principles and performance guidelines are now at an advanced stage, and are available here. An accompanying glossary of terms has also been compiled and is available here. These documents were developed after extensive consultation, including three mineral industry workshops and two multi-stakeholder focus groups held in 2007 and 2008. The enhanced version of e3 and the health and safety guidelines are also underway, and members will be informed as soon as they become available.

Ontario Premier announces 50% of northern boreal to be withdrawn from commercial activity

On Monday, July 14, Premier Dalton McGuinty announced his government’s intention to withdraw 50% (or up to 225,000 sq. kms) of Ontario’s northern boreal forests and peat lands from commercial activity. At the same time, he also announced that the province’s mining act would be reviewed and revised and that some form of resource revenue sharing would be instituted for the province’s aboriginal peoples. We understand from the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines that this announcement constitutes, in essence, McGuinty’s vision, first made as an election promise five years ago. There were few details in the Premier’s announcement of how these plans would be realized. We know at this stage that the review of the mining act will be relatively short with new regulations in place towards the end of 2009. The selection of those parts of the boreal forests to be withdrawn will be made after a process of community based consultations; this process will take anywhere from 10 to 15 years. Details of the Premier’s announcement are available here and a backgrounder is here. For further information, contact Philip Bousquet, program director, regulatory affairs.

Federal government releases report on northern regulatory systems

On Thursday, July 17, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Chuck Strahl, released the report of Neil McCrank, special representative for the Northern Regulatory Improvement Initiative. The report, entitled The Road to Improvement, is the product of meetings with northerners and numerous written submissions collected over six months. Although McCrank focused on the Northwest Territories, his report also includes specific recommendations for Nunavut and Yukon. In total, there are 22 recommendations offered by McCrank which he believes will bring about improvements to the regulatory process in the North. The report is available here. As part of this review, the PDAC, NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines and the Mining Association of Canada had made a written submission to McCrank on behalf of the mineral industry. For further information, contact us.

Coroner’s report makes three recommendations following fatal attack by bear

Jean-Francois Pagé, an employee of Aurora Geosciences Ltd., was attacked by a bear and killed while staking mining claims in the area between False Canyon and Weasel Lake near Ross River, Yukon, in April 2006. In a coroner’s report issued on July 12, the cause of death was determined to be accidental, as a result of multiple injuries consistent with bear mauling. Last year, the company was charged with negligence in relation to the incident. However, the charges were stayed by the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board earlier this year. The coroner’s report directs its three recommendations to Aurora Geosciences. However, they do have general industry application. They are:

  • ensure workers receive training on recognizing bear den habitat before they start field work;

  • provide workers with animal deterrents such as bear spray, air horns and bangers; and

  • consider scheduling flights over survey and claim lines prior to the deployment of crew to assess potential hazards including bear dens and animal movement.

The coroner’s report is here. Also available here is an article by Sarah Vanderwolf that appeared in the Whitehorse Star on July 11.

Awards committee seeks nominations for 2009 annual awards

The presentation of our annual awards is a highlight for many people in our industry, not least for the recipients themselves. The awards ceremony, described once as the mining industry’s equivalent to the Academy Awards, is a lovely occasion which honours the awards winners with dignity, grace, and sometimes humour. The next ceremony will be held in Toronto on the evening of Monday, March 2, 2009, and the awards committee is now inviting nominations for the six awards. Two recognize the discoverer(s) of a significant mineral deposit (if it’s in Canada, then the discoverer qualifies for the Bill Dennis prospector of the year award; if it’s anywhere in the world, then he/she or the team qualifies for the Thayer Lindsley international discovery award. A further two awards – the distinguished service and Skookum Jim awards – honour achievement or contribution to the mineral industry. The Skookum Jim award is reserved for aboriginal achievement. The remaining two awards are for individuals who have excelled in managing and/or financing an exploration company (Viola R. MacMillan developer’s award) or who have demonstrated excellence in environmental protection and/or the establishment of good community relationships during an exploration project (e3 environmental excellence in exploration award). The selection criteria and guidelines on how to submit a nomination are here. If you’d like to talk to someone before submitting a nomination, please call Saley Lawton, tel 416 362 1969, ext. 225.

Invitation to join fact-finding mission to Indonesia

The Canadian Embassy in Jakarta is inviting members to join a fact-finding mission to Indonesia. The intent of the mission, tentatively scheduled for the end of October 2008, is to explore mining opportunities in Indonesia and to provide participants with an in-depth picture of the business environment for mining investment. The program is divided into two segments: the first, in Jakarta, will give participants a chance to meet government officials, members of the Indonesian Mining Association, and other people with expertise in mining and the tax regime. The second segment will include customized visits to locations outside Jakarta to meet with local authorities who are responsible for issuing mining licences for their respective jurisdictions. The full invitation is here.

Mining HR council invites members to speak about the industry and their careers

The Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR) is establishing a speakers bureau and is inviting PDAC members to join it. The bureau will consist of a cadre of speakers who have experience in the mining industry, are passionate about it, and who are willing to share their enthusiasm and insights. As a speaker, you may be invited to give a presentation at a school, community centre, industry organization, or career fair. You decide which type of group you’d prefer to speak to. You can also determine the geographic radius you’d prefer and the timing that best suits you. Presentation requests will be sent by email, at which time you can decide whether to accept or not. Speakers are asked to commit to a minimum of two presentations a year, and MiHR will provide you with tools for the presentation. Further details are here.

Fairmont Royal York is offering discounted summer getaway rates

The Fairmont Royal York in downtown Toronto is offering members a special rate of $149 per night as part of its annual appreciation summer getaway program. This rate, which is subject to availability, applies to reservations made from now until September 4. For more information or to book a room at this special rate, call 416 860 5089 or email [email protected].