PDAC eLearning Series - Exclusive for Members
Spring into Safety: Practices for Safe Exploration

DATE:  Thursday, April 28, 2022
TIME:  12:00 PM - 1:30 PM ET
(11:00 AM CT | 10:00 AM MT | 9:00 AM PT) 
COST:  Free for Members


Spring into Safety: Practices for Safe Exploration is a three-part series that will cover a range of topics and real-world case studies, beginning with the fundamentals of health and safety (H&S) in mineral exploration. Speakers will deliver practical guidance on operating exploration field camps, and working safely with diamond drills, helicopters and other equipment. The industry data are based on previously reported incidents and accident investigations and will be valuable for anyone working in the field or in an office.

At the end of the series, participants will:
•   understand the typical risks that occur in mineral exploration
•   be able to perform a simple risk assessment
•   be introduced to accident root cause analysis
•   understand the higher risks associated with drilling and helicopter accidents

April 28: Fundamentals of Health & Safety in Exploration (Recording available on Members Portal)
May 12: Zero Harm & Helicopters Begins With You!  (Recording available on Members Portal)
June 2:  Incident Prevention in the Field 


Part 1. Fundamentals of Health & Safety in Exploration

Bill Mercer will cover safety risks and myths in exploration, key safety indicators in the industry and how we can use them to foster better conditions across the sector. Conrad Dix will go in-depth on developing a strong safety culture, and the organizational requirements necessary to maintain a safe workplace. In closing, Jimmy Barrieau will discuss the health and safety practices to consider when hiring contractors, elaborating on workflow process, experience, references, team communication, and more as contractor safety is vitally important to any project. 
Moderated by Chiara Kotze, each speaker will address a case study or questions after each presentation, followed by a Q&A session with attendees at the end. 


BJorkman Prospecting Logo

Chiara Kotze
Project Scientist/Coordinator
SLR Consulting

Chiara D’Egidio Kotze has 10 years of experience as an environmental consultant having been involved in a wide variety of projects in multiple sectors including mining, pipelines, power transmission and socio-economic fields, and has successfully been involved in project planning, co-ordination, management, stakeholder engagement, field investigations and auditing. Chiara has successfully contributed and managed various Equator principle compliance audits for local and international mining projects, reviewing environmental, social and health and safety elements.

Chiara is a Certified Joint Health and Safety Committee Member and serves as a health and safety office co-ordinator and a health and safety technical discipline co-ordinator for the environmental management permitting and approvals team.


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Bill Mercer
Independent Consultant

Bill Mercer has geology degrees from University of Edinburgh (BSc) and McMaster University (PhD), with a career of about 45 years in industry. He is now consulting having had a 32-year career with Noranda/Falconbridge group working in over 30 countries and exploring for a wide variety of commodities. For 15 years he was the Vice President, Exploration, for Avalon Advanced Materials focused on critical metals.

Bill has a strong belief in the need for continuous improvement in exploration as it pertains to environmental, health and safety performance especially with respect to serious and fatal accidents. For this reason, he started, and continues to chair, the PDAC Health and Safety Committee since 2005. Bill started in 2012, and continued to run, the PDAC Health and Safety short course. 

In 2009, he received the David Barr Award from the Association for Mineral Exploration in British Columbia for excellence in leadership and innovation in mineral exploration health and safety. As part of the Avalon team, he shared in receiving the PDAC Environmental and Social Responsibility Award. In 2015, he was the recipient of the “Award for Environmental Excellence” of the NWT and Nunavut Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists in recognition of his environmental efforts related to renewable energy use at Avalon’s Nechalacho rare earth project in Canada’s Northwest Territories. In 2013 Bill received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his service to the Canadian mining industry. He is a Past President of the Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences and of the PDAC.

Conrad Dix Head shot

Conrad Dix
Exploration Geology, Superintendent
Agnico Eagle Mines

Conrad Dix is an accomplished exploration geologist, presently the Exploration Geology Superintendent at Agnico Eagle Mines Limited, Hope Bay project, and previously the Exploration General Supervisor for Agnico Eagle’s Ontario exploration projects.

In his 25 years in the industry Mr. Dix has worked for both major and junior exploration companies, in both greenfields and brownfields exploration, and had a strong start to his career in the geophysics industry. He has explored for all commodities on exploration projects around the globe, in every possible climate!

Mr. Dix is a Professional Geologist and holds a B.Sc. (University of Windsor).  He is a member of Professional Geoscientists Ontario (PGO) and Northwest Territories Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists (NAPEG).

Serving on the Board of Directors of Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, Mr. Dix is also proud to sit as Co-Chair of the Health & Safety Committee and a member of the Human Resource Development Committee, two aspects of our industry that he enthusiastically supports.

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Jimmy Barrieau     
Global Director EHST
Boart Longyear

Mr. Barrieau is an experienced Environmental, Health and Safety professional; proficient in managing leading and lagging indicators to direct organizations on continuous improvement initiatives. Focused on practical solutions for front line employees and providing leadership training that develops the next generation of personal safety culture. Jimmy has worked in the mining and exploration industry in various capacities for over 18 years.

Jimmy hold a Bachelor of Arts in history from Mount Saint Vincent University and an Environmental Health & Safety Technical Diploma from Maritime Environmental Training Institute, both of which are in Nova Scotia, Canada.