As the leading voice of Canada’s mineral exploration and development community, the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) works on behalf of it’s over 7,200 members to ensure Canada remains the top global jurisdiction for conducting mineral exploration and development activities. In this effort, PDAC’s strategic goals include advocating for the growth of the type, quantity and accessibility of public geoscience information available to mineral explorers, which can positively impact the rate of mineral discovery in Canada.

Mineral exploration involves a high degree of uncertainty and risk and although the probability that an early-stage exploration project will lead to mine development is approximately one in one thousand, it is a critical process and the foundation of the mineral industry. Crucial to the success of exploration and the competitiveness of the mineral industry in Canada is the knowledge and support provided by public geoscience programming. As such, engagement between industry and Government represents a fundamental step to ensure Government can consider a broad set of industry viewpoints.

To increase the opportunities for industry to discuss public geoscience programs conducted by the Federal Government, the Geoscience and Innovation Committee at PDAC organized the Industry-Government Geoscience Forum. The impetus for the Forum is to bring together representatives from industry and government, to discuss issues relevant to the current state of geoscience in Canada, and identify successes and potential areas of improvement in programs conducted by the Federal Government. In an effort to represent viewpoints from all areas of the mineral exploration industry, professionals representing organizations of various sizes and areas of work had been invited.

The first Industry-Government Geoscience Forum, held in Toronto in September, identified strategic opportunities and modernization processes that could positively impact mineral exploration in Canada. Topics of conversation included improving dissemination of Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) outputs to industry, continuing to collaborate with stakeholder groups and regional surveys, and ensuring regional geological mapping and modelling programs remain a priority of the Government. A large part of the discussion also surrounded the Federal Governments data handling capacity, and the vision for a more robust data-centric GSC.

With regional distribution in mind, the second Geoscience Forum was held in Vancouver during Roundup, the annual mineral exploration convention hosted by the Association for Mineral Exploration (AME). Discussion during the Geoscience Forum centred on areas of focus for upcoming public geoscience programming in 2020. The GSC presented on their Artificial Intelligence (AI) readiness, and discussions on emerging technologies such as AI and machine learning lead to a positive outlook on the Federal Governments data strategy.

Moving forward, the Industry-Government Geoscience Forum will continue to provide an opportunity to foster dialogue between industry and Government regarding public geoscience in Canada. Ongoing collaboration between PDAC, industry and the GSC with respect to Federal Government programs and modernization efforts will better ensure that public geoscience outputs both support GSC mandates and are most effective in catalyzing mineral exploration activity.

PDAC will be hosting the next Industry-Government Geoscience Forum in Fall 2020. For information on how to participate, or questions about the Forum, please contact [email protected].