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December 17, 2009 - No. 69

Opposition to Bill C-300 heats up

The fight to oppose Bill C-300, An Act Respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas in Developing Countries, is intensifying. On November 17, Tony Andrews, executive director, Bernarda Elizalde, program director, sustainable development, and Robert Wisner, a specialist in international law with McMillan LLP, presented the PDAC’s position on the bill to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, in Ottawa.

Bill C-300 was one of the principal topics during Mining Day on the Hill, a lobby event organized through the auspices of Mining Works for Canada. The Mining Association of Canada developed two excellent documents about the bill and reasons for the industry’s opposition to it. Bill C-300 Myths and Facts sets out each of the arguments of the bill’s proponents and then refutes each in turn.  Bill C-300 Briefing Note provides a short history of events leading up to the bill’s introduction and then sets out the industry’s position on the proposed legislation. Both documents are two pages long and well worth reading.

The standing committee has recessed for the holiday period. In the meantime, the PDAC is working with other industry associations and companies to develop the next steps of a strategy to oppose the bill. This will be announced in the New Year.

Flow-through share supplement published by G&M on Dec 15

If you didn’t see the PDAC’s supplement on flow-through shares that was published with the Globe & Mail on Tuesday, December 15, here’s a copy in pdf format. The six-page insert appears to have been well received, judging by the number of requests coming in to the office for our brochure on flow-through shares. In her congratulatory note on the piece, NRCan Minister Lisa Raitt notes that it is ‘very informative and good advocacy.’

Ring of Fire discoverers among the 2010 annual awards winners

John Harvey, Don Hoy, Richard Nemis, Neil Novak, and Mac Watson, credited with the discoveries in northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire, have won the Bill Dennis Award for a Canadian discovery or prospecting success, the PDAC board of directors has announced. The chromite, zinc, and copper discoveries made in the James Bay Lowlands have opened up a previously overlooked area of the country to new exploration. Other winners include longtime prospectors Perry Durning and Bud Hillemeyer (Thayer Lindsley Award), Ross J. Beaty (Viola R. MacMillan Award), Nick Carter (Distinguished Service Award), Willie Keatainak (Skookum Jim Award) and De Beers Canada and Avalon Rare Metals Inc. (Environmental & Social Responsibility Award). Click here for full details.

Registration for PDAC Convention 2010 is now open

Plans are well advanced for next year’s convention, and registration facilities are now open. Members should be receiving a copy of the convention brochure in the mail any day now, together with the latest issue of PDAC in Brief. It looks as if the convention will be buoyed by the price of gold, which continues to move higher, and the early signs of an economic recovery. Both luncheon speakers are well known industry commentators. Don Drummond is senior VP and chief economist for the TD Bank Financial Group, and Don Coxe is strategy advisor for BMO Financial Group. It will be interesting to hear their predictions for the industry going forward. Click here to get to the registration link.

Dispute between Platinex, the Ontario government, and KI has been resolved

Lands around Big Trout Lake in northern Ontario will be withdrawn from staking and mineral exploration as a result of an agreement between the Ontario government and Platinex Inc. The company has agreed to drop its lawsuits against the Crown and the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation and to surrender all mining claims and leases at Big Trout Lake. In return, Platinex will receive $5 million and a potential future royalty interest. In an interview with CBC Thunder Bay, President Jon Baird noted that the agreement has resolved the conflict but that Ontarians are the losers: the possibility of a mine that would provide jobs and generate taxes has been lost; ground has been withdrawn from prospecting; and the taxpayer will have to foot the bill for $5 million. Jon also mentioned the uncertainty that has arisen because of the revisions to the Ontario Mining Act and the province’s Far North Act.

PDAC people out and about

Autumn is the season for regional meetings, and PDAC people attended many of them this year. At the beginning of November, Scott Jobin-Bevans, incoming president, brought greetings on behalf of the association to a well attended Mineral Resources Review 2009 in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Later the same month, Dennis Jones, chair of the association’s CSR committee, gave a luncheon presentation on e3 Plus at the Mining Matters Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He also participated in a panel discussion on sustainable development at the same conference.

Also in November Philip Bousquet, senior program director, attended the Geoscience Forum in Yellowknife. The event attracted 750 delegates and had over 100 exhibitor booths. The Manitoba Minerals Convention in Winnipeg was the destination for Jason Wilson, our program director, community & resource development, and Barbara Green Parker, student liaison/PDAC Mining Matters. Jason was a panelist at the 6th annual aboriginal mining workshop and Barbara was there to talk about Mining Matters, the association’s educational program for school children.

Later that month, Jon Baird delivered a well received presentation on e3 Plus to Québec Exploration 2009. The conference, held in Quebec City, attracted 2,145 participants. PDAC team members accompanying Jon had an unplanned meeting at the airport with Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff as they were leaving Quebec City. Jon took the opportunity to speak to Mr. Ignatieff about the mineral industry and industry concerns about Bill C-300.

PDAC president looks forward in a speech to Finnish audience

PDAC President Jon Baird was keynote speaker at the 7th Fennoscandian Exploration and Mining Conference in Roveniemi, Finland, in early December. The conference is one of the largest exploration and mining meetings in Europe.  Jon spoke on the topic Mineral exploration: A look forward,  and reported that Canada is flying high in Finland with juniors exploring, Agnico Eagle producing, and First Quantum announcing a project that will boost the economy of Lapland by 20%. For a copy of his presentation, please contact us.

International Council on Mining & Metals publishes climate change policy

A statement on climate change has been published by the International Council on Mining & Metals (ICMM). The PDAC is a member association of the ICMM. The first of the seven points contained in the document states, “ICMM members are committed to making a contribution to developing and implementing a global solution to managing climate change that recognizes the need for a measured transition to a low emissions global economy reconciled with the imperative for energy security, global economic growth, and improved living standards and poverty alleviation.” The full statement is here.

Free seminar on moving from GAAP to IFRS ? January 26 ? Toronto

Still pondering the implications of moving from GAAP to IFRS? You might want to attend a free seminar on the topic, to be held on Tuesday, January 26, 2010, from 8 to 11.15 a.m. at the 1 King West Hotel, at the corner of Yonge and King West streets in downtown Toronto. Presenters will go through a GAAP issued statement and demonstrate how adjustments can be made to convert it to IFRS. Full details are here.

Last call for this year’s Fraser Institute survey

The Fraser Institute is closing off its annual survey of mining companies on December 20. If you haven’t yet done so, please take a quarter of an hour to complete the survey. This research, which you support through your membership fees, has become more authoritative over the years and attracts the attention of governments in Canada and offshore. The results, which rank jurisdictions by how friendly their investment climate is to mining, are published every spring. The names of respondents this year will be entered into a draw for $1,000. The survey begins here.

Office space for rent ? Exchange Tower, Toronto

Newly renovated office space is available in the Exchange Tower, 130 King Street West, Toronto. Seven offices are available. These may be rented as a block or individually. More information is here.