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 mineral industry.
For his contribution to Canada’s mineral exploration and mining industry by helping to set the bar for drilling safety and community consultation
Gordon Maxwell is a well-respected geologist and member of the Sachigo Lake First Nation in Ontario. He is recognized for his leadership, dedication to health and safety, and talent for community consultation.
Born in Pickle Crow, Ontario, an abandoned gold mining town, Gord began his 39-year career as an exploration geologist for Noranda based in Thunder Bay. He has worked on projects across Canada and abroad for Noranda and its subsidiary Falconbridge, then later for Falconbridge’s successor Xstrata, and most recently for Glencore, which acquired Xstrata in 2013.
As a member of the Canadian Diamond Drilling Association (CDDA), Gord advocated for better risk management at the drill site. Drawing on his years of experience as an exploration geologist, Gord was able to contribute his knowledge of working alongside drillers to the discussion. He served on CDDA’s Western Safety group, and on the committee in charge of developing the Drilling Excellence Certification (DEC)—a new, higher standard for the drilling industry. For his contribution to health and safety in the field, Gord received the 2012 David Barr Award from British Columbia’s Association of Mineral Exploration (AME).
Gord also helped to set the bar for industry consultation with communities and Indigenous groups. When Xstrata was planning exploration around the Kidd Creek Mine in northern Ontario in 2008, Gord engaged in a clear, respectful and honest dialogue with the Wahgoshig First Nation, offering opportunities for community members to participate in the project. One of those opportunities was a six-month contract assisting the geological team. The woman selected for the contract went on to become the community’s environmental monitor for subsequent exploration, inspiring other Wahgoshig youth to consider applying for junior roles.
In 2010 Gord took on the demanding task of re-evaluating several closed mines Xstrata had inherited from Noranda. The exercise required coordinating teams of experts for every aspect of the revaluation from reprocessing thousands of diamond drill samples to resource modelling and project management.
Throughout his domestic and international career, Gord has demonstrated outstanding technical abilities, professionalism, and a commitment to safe and socially responsible exploration. He is a role model for Indigenous youth who aspire to a career in the industry.