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August 12, 2009 - No. 65

PDAC calls on Ontario government to withdraw Far North legislation

In a presentation to Ontario’s Standing Committee on General Government on August 6, President Jon Baird contended that enactment of Bill 191, Far North Act, would deprive all Ontarians of the economic benefits that derive from mineral resource development, particularly those First Nations communities that make up most of the North’s population. The proposed legislation would see some 225,000 sq. kms of the northern boreal withdrawn from development. A copy of Jon’s speech is here. The committee also heard from consulting geologist Stewart Jackson who spoke eloquently about the folly of locking up land when nobody knows what lies beneath its surface. He provided the committee with a list of valuable mines that were discovered on land seemingly of little worth. Mr. Jackson is allowing us to release the notes he used. They are here

The association has also made a formal submission on Bill 191, and this is available here. This is the third submission the PDAC has made to the Ontario government following Premier Dalton McGuinty’s announcement in July last year that his government would preserve 50 percent of the northern boreal to help combat climate change and would modernize the Ontario Mining Act. The association has since made formal submissions on a discussion paper released by the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines on the Ontario Mining Act and on Bill 173, Mining Amendment Act. Click here for copies of these submissions.

In developing these submissions, the association has worked in collaboration with the Ontario Prospectors Association and the Ontario Mining Association. As we have pointed out in our submission on Bill 191, “the Ontario legislative proposals have a strong potential to accelerate the debate on the same issues elsewhere in Canada.” For this reason, the association is encouraging all members, wherever they are working, to become familiar with these matters.

Association requests representation at Bill C-300 hearings

As we reported in our last e-newsletter, Bill C-300, An Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas in Developing Countries has passed second reading in the House of Commons and is now on the agenda of the House Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. The PDAC has submitted its request to be represented at the committee’s hearings when it resumes its deliberations in the fall. In the meantime, the association has developed this position statement on Bill C-300 for distribution to all MPs prior to the resumption of Parliament in the fall. Our message is that the bill is unnecessary, fundamentally flawed and was developed with no consultation with industry. Members are urged to contact their own MPs to relay their views on the proposed legislation. For further information on this subject, please contact us.

PDAC president will address the St. John’s Board of Trade, Newfoundland

Following his presentation on corporate social responsibility (CSR) to the Economic Club of Canada in Toronto in June, President Jon Baird was encouraged to take his message across Canada. He will be speaking next in St. John’s, Newfoundland, on Tuesday, September 1 at a Board of Trade luncheon at the Holiday Inn St. John’s. In his address, Baird will raise concerns about Bill C-300 and will speak to the CSR advances that the mineral industry is making. Would members in Newfoundland please distribute this invitation as widely as possible, including politicians and members of the business community. People do not have to be members of the Board of Trade to attend this event.

Awards committee will be selecting 2010 awards recipients

A reminder to all members that the association’s Awards Committee is starting to develop its recommendations for the PDAC’s 2010 annual awards recipients. Selection criteria and nominating information are here.

Communities, commodities, certainty ? CAMA ? November 1-3 ? Toronto

The 17th annual conference of the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association (CAMA) will be held at the Delta Chelsea Hotel, Toronto, November 1-3. The theme of this year’s conference isCommunities, commodities, certainty. Highlights include a pre-convention workshop on consultation and accommodation, and concurrent workshops on building a mining exploration company from the ground up; exploration agreements; and skills training and development. To register and for more information, click here.

China Mining 2009 ? October 20-22 ? Tianjin, China

2009 will mark the eleventh year for China Mining Congress and Exhibition. This year’s event, which is hosted by the Ministry of Land and Resources and the Tianjin Municipal Government, will be held at the Tianjin Binhai International Convention and Exhibition Centre on October 20-22. Further details for delegates and exhibitors are here.

Kinross founder donates $10 million to Queen’s mining department

Bob Buchan of Kinross Gold has donated $10 million to the mining department at Queen’s University at Kingston. Buchan is a Queen’s alumnus, and his donation is the largest single donation to mining education in Canadian history. The mining department is to be renamed the Buchan Department of Mining. Part of the donation is to be directed to teaching students about the social and environmental responsibilities of the mining industry.

Industry professionals are being sought as ‘virtual’ mentors for young people

Youngsters have so many career options, and making a career or study choice can be difficult without some solid work experience. Here’s where you might come in! The Mining Industry Human Resources Council has set up a virtual mine mentor program. The new program provides a platform for students from post-secondary mining programs to establish electronic relationships with industry professionals. The idea is for mentor and mentee to be able to chat and to share ideas online about mining, career opportunities, and career paths. The time commitment for mentors is three hours a month for three months. Clicking here will take you to the program’s website.

101 Things to do with a Hole in the Ground

A new book, written by Georgina Pearman and produced by the UK’s Eden Project, illustrates how many innovative projects have been built in disused mines, including a football stadium, film set, mushroom farm, sauna, wine cellar and airport. The colour illustrations and brief descriptions in 101 Things to do with a Hole in the Ground take the reader on a world tour of heritage and tourist attractions, wildlife habitats, educational, sport and leisure facilities and dozens of industrial uses. It is sponsored by the European association of mining industries, Euromines, and the Rio Tinto-Eden Project partnership. One of the author’s favourites is “the 36 kilometres of wine cellars in a disused limestone mine in Moldova.” She continues, “I have a feeling that this is only just the beginning, though – there are bound to be uses we haven’t heard of yet.”  More information about the book, which costs £9.99, is available here. The Eden Project is a theme park that has been created in a disused china clay quarry in Cornwall, England, to demonstrate the relationship between humans and their environment. Click here to learn about this fascinating project.

Question the hype about climate change

The Fraser Institute has launched a video series to encourage young people to “question the hype” about human-caused global warming and climate change. The first video, The Climate is Constantly Changing, can be viewed at Please note - the video is targeted at high school students.