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March 21, 2011 - No. 78

Canadian federal election and the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit

On March 31, 2011, the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit (METC) expires. In its pre-budget submission and in subsequent communications with MPs and government officials, the PDAC worked to ensure that decision-makers were aware of the importance of the program. The March 22 federal budget included a commitment to extend the METC for one year to March 31, 2012. However, the budget was not passed and the future of the METC will be determined following the federal election on May 2.

As a member of the PDAC, you can help to inform candidates and parties of the importance of the Canadian mineral exploration and mining industry. Click here for details on the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit and contact information for your local candidates for Parliament. For more information, please contact us.

PDAC Convention 2011 in retrospect

This year’s convention was, according to one reporter, “one of the most diverse mining events the world will see in 2011.” Indeed, the event, which took place March 6-9, attracted a wide variety of people, all with a connection to the mineral industry. The 27,700 attendees included delegates and exhibitors, politicians, Aboriginal representatives, investors, media, speakers, students, school children, school teachers, and volunteers. There were some 50 official foreign delegations led by a minister or other high ranking government representative, and, overall, attendees came from 120 countries. There were many highlights. Shawn Ryan, winner of this year’s Bill Dennis Award for prospecting success, and his wife, Cathy Wood, made themselves available for media interviews, letting Torontonians know that prospecting is as vital as it ever was in Canada. Then there were the hundreds of people, many not attending the convention, who came to see the Chilean mine rescue capsule on display at the entrance to the convention centre, and a surprise proposal of marriage to his girlfriend by a man who bid on and won a ring in a Mining Matters silent auction. Click here for more convention highlights.

Association increases efforts to attract students to industry

Student attendance at PDAC conventions has risen significantly over the past few years, thanks in part to the efforts of the human resources development committee, led by PDAC President Scott Jobin-Bevans and Felix Lee. A number of programs are now in place to help students get to the convention and make the most of myriad opportunities while there. A summary of student participation at this year’s convention, prepared by Krishana Narinesingh, student liaison at the PDAC, is here.

Along with his presidential duties, Scott is making it his mission this year to visit as many university and college campuses as possible across the country to speak to students. His message is that the industry offers many and varied exciting and worthwhile career opportunities. In his presentation, he points to this country’s leadership in global mining and exploration, corporate social responsibility in the industry, e3 Plus, and a case history illustrating the devastating impact anti-mining activists can have on a company. Scott’s first visit was to Queen’s University at Kingston on March 16 where he made his presentation to an audience of 40 undergraduate and graduate students and three faculty members.

Another student program is the Student-Industry Mineral Exploration Workshop. Now into its fifth year, S-IMEW brings a group of senior geoscience students to Sudbury, Ontario, for an intensive, all-expenses-paid, two-week introduction to the mineral exploration industry. This year’s event, which will be held from May 6 to 21, will offer 26 students, selected by their respective faculties, a variety of activities, including mine tours in Sudbury, Val d’Or and Rouyn-Noranda. Classroom presentations will cover professional registration, mineral economics, geochemistry and geophysics, corporate social responsibility, Aboriginal engagement, and the programs of the Ontario Geological Survey. A number of alumni from previous workshops credit S-IMEW with connecting them to their current employers. Our thanks to our chief sponsor, Barrick Gold, and to our other sponsors who contribute to the success of S-IMEW.

For information on any of the association’s student programs, please contact us.

PDAC members’ help requested for study on human resources challenges

The PDAC and the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR) are undertaking research to identify HR issues facing the mineral exploration sector. The results will be used to develop proactive approaches to the challenges identified. We encourage members working in mineral exploration or those who employ people working in the sector to participate. Human resources is one of the association’s principal activity areas in its current strategic plan and is one of the industry’s most pressing issues as workers reach retirement age. We hope you will be able to take part in this important study.  Click here for full details.

Second CSR Event Series expands in scope and content

The CSR Event Series, held during the PDAC convention, gave participants a chance to learn more about CSR issues in the mineral industry. This year there were seven sessions, an increase of four from last year when the series was introduced. The line-up included a panel discussion and Q&A with Canadian government representatives on Building the Canadian Advantage; an interactive workshop on a tool for companies to use in communities with conflict situations; and a workshop, organized by Export Development Canada, on managing social and human rights issues. Members of the Mayala Aboriginal community spoke about their experiences working in partnership with Pluton Resources in the development of the Irvine Island iron ore project in Western Australia. A subsequent meeting, organized through social media, brought some attendees together to discuss e3 Plus and how its use might be augmented. For a fuller report on this topic, click here.

Industry associations challenge Canadian Mining Journal editorial

Members may have seen an editorial, A call to all Mining Associations, which ran in the February/March 2011 issue of Canadian Mining Journal. In it, editor Russell Noble takes industry associations to task for not doing enough to attract the next generation into the mining industry. If you didn’t see it, click here for a copy. Curiously, there is no mention of the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR), whose sole raison d’être is to do just that - attract people into the mining industry. The PDAC, MiHR, and the Mining Association of Canada responded with this article which is being published in the April issue of the magazine. If you have any thoughts or comments about this, please contact us.

PDAC’s letter to Globe and Mail says that regulation of overseas operations is not the answer

Responding to an article, For Canadian companies overseas, a corporate heart of darkness, written by Marcus Gee and published in the March 23, 2011, edition of the Globe and Mail, Executive Director Tony Andrews points out that Canadian mining companies generally have been shown by international institutions to have a good track record that is second to none. The real challenges, he says, arise from “a handful of countries that suffer from a lack of capacity to apply proper governance…resulting in a complex, high risk environment within which to work.” Click here for a link to the Globe and Mail article and a full copy of the letter.

Upcoming webinar on International Seabed Authority’s work. Indicate interest by April 5, 2011

In preparation for the next meeting of the International Seabed Authority, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) is seeking to engage with PDAC members to exchange information and views on the work of the International Seabed Authority, including the Authority's ongoing development of regulatory instruments which will have operational implications for industry and to learn more about stakeholder interests with respect to mining activities in the international seabed area. For more details, please click here.

Four new directors join the PDAC’s board

Four new directors have been elected to the board, along with twelve board members who were re-elected for a further three-year term. The announcement was made at the association’s annual general meeting on March 6. The new board members are Steven Deck, Jim Glover, Terry Loney, and Stephen Morison.  Those re-elected are Robert Boyd, Tara Christie, James Excell, Dennis Jones, Michael Marchand, Maryann Mihychuk, Glenn Mullan, Ralph Newson, Eira Thomas, Robert Valliant, Steve Vaughan, and Neil Westoll. Directors serve a three-year term and are responsible for advancing the membership’s interests, particularly with governments. The board approves the association’s position and policy on all major issues affecting the mineral exploration industry and is responsible for overall stewardship of the association’s affairs.

PDAC president to talk about government policies that can help or hinder exploration

President Scott Jobin-Bevans will be a keynote speaker at the upcoming convention of the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC). The meeting will be held from June 28-30 in Perth, Australia. Scott will be talking about government policies and initiatives that assist exploration and will be commenting on the negative effects of resource nationalism and restrictive taxation policies.

In that vein, we have been asked to circulate an item on AMEC’s continuing opposition to the Australian government’s proposed minerals resource rent tax. The association’s opposition centres principally on the fact that it was not involved in the deliberations about the proposed tax and that the committee responsible for consultations with industry did not adequately take into account the ‘points of difference’ between small mining companies and large conglomerates. The full article is here.

Presentation on building a grievance mechanism at the company level ?
April 15 ? Toronto

Paul Warner will be drawing on his lengthy experience in the mining industry and, more particularly, in community engagement and development when he speaks on the topic Building a best practice grievance mechanism at the company level on April 15 at Ryerson University, Toronto. The event, which will start at 9.30 am (EDT) and will be held in room 3-119, 9th floor, Ted Rogers School of Management, 55 Dundas Street West, is the fourth in a series of public seminars on corporate social responsibility and the extractive sector, organized by the Ryerson Institute for the Study of Corporate Social Responsibility and the Office of the Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor. Warner is principal consultant at Both Sides Now Consulting Inc. There is no charge to attend this event, but seating is limited. Please RSVP before April 13 to [email protected].

Trelawney Mining and Exploration places first in this year’s PDAC-Caracle Cup Hockey Tournament

Congratulations to the Trelawney Mining and Exploration team for coming top in this year’s fourth PDAC-Caracle Cup Hockey Tournament. The winners competed with fifteen other teams in a modified round-robin, competing for top spots in the final consolation and championship games. The sold-out event, which took place on March 5 at a sports arena in north Toronto, attracted 35 industry sponsors and raised approximately $25,000 for PDAC Mining Matters.  Highlights included the puck drop by Andy Frost, public address announcer for the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre, and a gutsy and thrilling move by Valerie Murphy of the SGS Certifiables. In the HDI $10,000 Shoot for Loot, Valerie won the chance to shoot a puck from the red line into a 3.5 inch hole in a board at the net. Her shot missed by barely an inch and had the spectators on their feet cheering wildly. On behalf of PDAC Mining Matters, thank you to the participating teams, sponsors, volunteers, and spectators for a fantastic event. Click Here for a photograph of the winning team.

McGill launches revitalization strategy on its 140th anniversary

To become, again, the leading school of mining on the continent is at the heart of a revitalization strategy launched this year by McGill Mining in celebration of its 140th anniversary. The four pillars of the plan, which will be supported by a fundraising campaign, include: an increase in teaching staff; growth in undergraduate student enrolment; integration of mineral processing and sustainable mine development into the curriculum and research; and the cultivation of industry partnerships to support the co-op program. McGill’s Mining Engineering Program began as a two-year degree in 1871. Since that time, over 1,000 mining engineers have graduated from the program. As part of the anniversary celebrations, a grand soirée will be held on May 21 at McGill’s New Residence Hall. Alumni, students, and industry leaders are invited. The event precedes the CIM Conference and Exhibition which begins on May 22. Full details here.

Two upcoming professional development mining seminars at University of Dundee

The Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy at the University of Dundee is organizing two professional development seminars this May. Dates for the first, Mining and minerals: What role in a sustainable future?, are May 3-5. The second, Mining agreements, will be held May 9-13. Click on each course for program and registration details.