2019 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 PDAC; made outstanding contributions to the mineral industry in the field of finance, geology, geophysics, geochemistry research, or a related activity.

Donald (Don) BubarDon-Bubar-Headshot-Website

For his contribution to building awareness of Indigenous issues among PDAC members, his support of geoscience education in Canada, and his exploration success.

During Don Bubar’s 40-year career as a geoscientist he has contributed to successful exploration in Canada, and been a leading advocate for geoscience education. But his most enduring legacy may be his role in forging a better, more productive relationship between Indigenous groups and the minerals industry. As founder and head of the PDAC’s Aboriginal Affairs committee, Don recognized the urgent need to bring the two groups together in dialogue about how exploration and mine development could support local communities through training, jobs, and business development.

Don graduated from McGill University with a B.Sc. in geology in 1977 and completed his M.Sc. at Queen’s University in 1981. He worked as an exploration manager for Aur Resources from 1984 to 1994 where, as Vice-President of Exploration, he helped guide the discovery of the Louvicourt copper-zinc mine near Val d’Or, Québec. He has been President and CEO of Avalon Advanced Materials since 1995, working to develop three advanced stage projects across Canada with the potential to provide critical metals and minerals for new technology applications.

Don was chair and co-chair of PDAC’s Aboriginal Affairs committee from its creation in 2004 until his retirement from the PDAC Board of Directors in 2013. During his tenure, the number of Indigenous participants at the organization’s annual convention grew exponentially and, in 2009, PDAC signed a ground-breaking agreement with the Assembly of First Nations to promote participation of Indigenous people in the minerals industry. Through Don's work, there is increased understanding by PDAC members about the importance of community engagement from the earliest stages of mineral exploration.

Don serves on the Advisory Board to the Faculty of Science at his alma mater McGill, and is a Director of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut Chamber of Mines. He has personally endowed three separate scholarships supporting at least six students annually at McGill and at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

In 2016 Don joined the Board of Mining Matters, a charitable organization with the mission to support geoscience education in the Canadian school system and increase awareness about the relevance of minerals and metals in modern society. In his latest role, he will advocate for Indigenous youth camps where the next generation of northerners will have the opportunity to explore career opportunities within the industry.

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