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October 16, 2009 - No. 67

President Jon Baird debates Bill C-300 with sponsor of the bill

An audience of 80 people, some from industry and others from the NGO community, attended a debate on Bill C-300 on the evening of Thursday, October 15 at the offices of McMillan LLP. The bill, sponsored by Liberal MP John McKay, seeks to impose punitive sanctions on extractive companies found to be in violation of corporate social responsibility standards. For the bill were McKay and Sara Seck of the University of Western Ontario’s law faculty. Opposed were PDAC President Jon Baird and Robert Wisner, a partner with McMillan. The debate on the bill continued on CBC Radio’s The Current the following morning. The 15-minute segment, featuring Baird and McKay, can be heard at CBC.

Executive Director Tony Andrews will be putting the PDAC’s position on Bill C-300 to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade on October 27. The PDAC’s position is here. Members might also be interested in the transcript of the committee’s October 8 deliberations when presentations were made by two NGOs and the Mining Association of Canada. Contact contact us.

Mary-Claire Ward Geoscience Award: Applications now invited

Applications are invited for the sixth Mary-Claire Ward Geoscience Award. Given annually to a graduate student at a Canadian university whose thesis incorporates geoscience mapping as a significant component, the award consists of a $3,000 cash prize and a certificate. The award commemorates Mary-Claire Ward who worked hard to advance geoscience mapping in Canada. She died in 2004. The deadline for applications is December 15, 2009, and the selection committee will announce the name of the winner on February 1, 2010. The presentation of the award will be made either at the PDAC’s annual convention in Toronto next March or at the GAC’s annual meeting in Calgary in May 2010, depending on the preference of the winning student. Travel and accommodation expenses will be covered either by the PDAC or by the GAC, depending on where the presentation is made. Full details about the award and application forms are available here.

Resources to help companies implement new accounting standards

We have compiled a list of resources, including courses, webinars, and written material, that have been developed to help companies understand and convert to the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). As was noted in the last issue of e-news, all Canadian publicly accountable enterprises will be moving to the new standards on January 1, 2011. The standards affect all public exploration and mining companies. The transition year starts this coming January. Developing a transition plan now, i.e., before January, could save your company time, money and headaches. The list of resources is here.

Researchers study social impacts of abandoned mines in the North

A study on the social and economic legacies of decommissioned mines in the North is being conducted by a research team from Memorial University. The project, Abandoned Mines in Northern Canada, will involve interviewing aboriginal groups and other northerners about their experiences with nearby mines. According to Arn Keeling, a geography professor and member of the research team, the results of the study could be helpful to mining companies wanting to revive old mines or start new ones but facing resistance from nearby residents. The study’s results would be “enormously beneficial to them not to make the mistakes of their predecessor” and allow them to understand communities’ anxieties or concerns about development. The story, as reported by CBC News, is here.

Corporate accountability overseas conference ? Gatineau, Quebec ?
November 3

Registration is now open for a one-day, multi-stakeholder conference on corporate accountability in Canada’s extractive industries operating abroad. The conference, which is co-sponsored by the Mining Association of Canada and the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability, will be held at the Holiday Inn in Gatineau, Quebec, and will be of interest to industry, government, civil society, academia and students. Space is limited to 150 participants. There is no fee for this conference but registration is required. Details are here.

Carbon finance workshops ? Toronto & Vancouver ? Oct 28-30 & Nov 23-25

An upcoming series of carbon finance workshops, to be held in Toronto (October 28-30) and Vancouver (November 23-25), will explore the growing importance of carbon issues in project financing and management both in Canada and internationally. Workshop topics include carbon markets mechanisms; clean tech finance and carbon markets; risks associated with the emergence of carbon markets; and current national and international initiatives. Registration rates vary. The fee for the entire three-day workshop is $2,200. The per diem rate is $800. Full details are here.

New video library on careers in exploration and mining is now available

A careers video library is the latest tool to be launched by the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (HR) to help career seekers and the general public learn about employment in the mineral industry. In one series, workers from companies including Teck, Caracle Creek International Consulting, Cameco, Iron Ore Company of Canada, and IAMGold were filmed during their working day, and they talk about their jobs and choice of career. Another series features specific careers, e.g., engineer, geologist, prospector, environmental technician, heavy equipment operator, electrician, surveyor, underground and surface miner and health and safety coordinator. The videos are available here or on YouTube here.

Risk mitigation & CSR in Africa seminar ? Toronto ? Oct 22

A one-day seminar, Risk mitigation and corporate social responsibility in Africa: Striking a balance, will be held in Toronto on Thursday, October 22. The seminar, organized by the Canada-South Africa Chamber of Business, will feature expert speakers, panel discussions, case studies and networking opportunities. Registration fee for non-Chamber members is $175. Full program details are here and a registration form is here.

Bacon & Eggheads breakfast ? Climate change and Arctic Sea ice ? Ottawa ? Oct 29

The Bacon & Eggheads breakfast lecture series aims to inform parliamentarians in Ottawa about current research and issues in science and engineering. The lectures are open to members of the public at a cost of $20. The next one, taking place on Thursday, October 29, will be presented by David G. Barber. He is the director of the University of Manitoba’s Centre for Earth Observation Science and leader of the Circumpolar Flaw Lead system study, the largest of the international Polar Year studies. Dr. Barber will discuss the changes he has observed in the high latitudes and the consequences of these changes on ecosystems, people, resource development, security and sovereignty. Full details.