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January 7, 2011 - No. 76

PPDAC 2011 convention registration is open

Online convention registration for PDAC Convention 2011 is open and links can be found on the convention homepage here. The deadline for early bird registration is February 4. The convention will be held from March 6-9 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre South Building in downtown Toronto. Click here for a copy of the convention brochure.

CSR Counsellor to talk about how her office will review complaints

Extractive CSR Counsellor Marketa Evans has now developed a non-judicial process to review CSR complaints relating to Canadian mining, oil and gas companies operating overseas and is inviting industry members to an update on this process at three upcoming sessions in Vancouver, Toronto, and Ottawa. The sessions are intended to give companies a sense of the goals of the process as well as possible outcomes from such a process. There will be a detailed presentation of the rules of procedure and steps in the process, as well as an opportunity to engage in Q&A with Ms Evans.

In Vancouver, the session will be held on Tuesday, January 25 from 1 pm to 2.30 pm in Room 212, 300 West Georgia Street. Lunch will be served. There is no charge to attend but registration by January 21 is required. At the time of writing, details of the Ottawa and Toronto sessions were being finalized. To register for the Vancouver event or to obtain more information about the other two events, please contact Iftin Daud, telephone 416 973 2064. Full information about the Office of the Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor is available in English here and in French here.

Reminder : Corporate stock option plans have changed

Companies offering stock options to their employees are advised to review their programs following significant changes to the tax treatment of stock options announced in the 2010 federal budget. Many of the changes apply to stock options exercised after 4:00 pm (EST) on March 4, 2010. The changes affect the tax treatment of stock option cash-outs and eliminate the opportunity to defer tax on the employment benefit that results from exercising qualifying stock options in public companies and private companies that are non-Canadian controlled private corporations. The budget measures also require companies to immediately withhold tax on employee stock option benefits starting with stock options exercised after 2010. For employees with underwater stock options, the budget measures may provide some welcome tax relief for stock options going back as far as 2001. More information is available in this KPMG stock option Q&A brochure.

Consultation begins on e3 Plus reporting system

The PDAC is pleased to announce the launch of a process to develop a reporting system for e3 Plus. The reporting system will provide PDAC members and companies in the exploration sector with practical advice on how to produce a CSR report that meets stakeholders’ needs and aligns with international standards and reporting expectations. The association has commissioned Stratos, a Canadian sustainability consultancy, to lead the development of the reporting system. We will be surveying our members and organizing a series of multi-stakeholder meetings to ensure that the reporting system reflects the needs of members, international reporting thought leaders, and our sector’s key stakeholders. Consultation meetings will be held in Vancouver on January 27, Toronto on February 8 and in Montreal on February 18. For more information about the development of the reporting system or the associated stakeholder engagement activities, please contact us.

Engineers Without Borders to hold 10th anniversary conference Toronto Jan 14-15

Engineers Without Borders (EWB) is a development organization comprising professional engineers, students, and volunteers in Canada and overseas. With a focus on Africa, the organization’s members and volunteers “apply all the creativity, technical skills and problem-solving for which engineers are known” to enable rural Africans to access clean water, infrastructure and services and to develop revenue sources. EWB is holding its 10th anniversary national conference in Toronto at the Allstream Centre on Friday and Saturday, January 14 and 15 and is inviting members of the mining industry to attend. Conference themes and streams include: coalitions for change; unlocking African prosperity; and rethinking development, and sponsors include Hatch, Xstrata, Barrick Gold, Kinross Gold Corp., and Breakwater Resources Ltd. The PDAC is also a sponsor and and will be displaying material on corporate social responsibility at an exhibit booth on Saturday. Further details about the conference, including registration information, are here.

Comments invited ;on United Nation’s proposed guiding principles on human rights

John Ruggie, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Business and Human Rights, has opened up the draft Guiding Principles for the Implementation of the ‘UN Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework’ for comment. The guiding principles elaborate and clarify for companies, states and other stakeholders how they can implement the framework by taking practical steps to address business impacts on human rights. Ruggie is looking for comments from stakeholders around the world by January 31 so that the guiding principles can be finalized and presented to the UN’s Human Rights Council in June. The draft guiding principles are here and a news release about the consultation process is here. The PDAC will be preparing a response on the guiding principles. If you would like your comments included, please contact us by January 14.

PDAC president tells London audience that ‘resource nationalism’ raises investor risks

PDAC president Scott Jobin-Bevans told the Canada Day gathering of investors in London after the annual Mines and Money conference in Decmber that attempts by governments to gain an increased share of resource revenue are creating risks for investors. Jobin-Bevans cited examples of several recent tax grabs, including Australia’s proposed resource super tax. Governments must remember, he said, that hiking tax revenues from resources will force up world prices and slow global growth. He encouraged investors to consider country risk when making investments. The full presentation is here.

Quadra FNX Mining receives Safe Day Everyday Gold Award for 2009

The PDAC and the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia (AME BC) congratulate Quadra FNX Mining Ltd. as the Safe Day Everyday Gold Award recipient. Quadra FNX achieved 99,792 hours worked without a lost time incident in exploration work at its Sudbury operations in 2009. The award will be presented at the Health and Safety Awards Breakfast at AME BC’s Mineral Exploration Roundup conference in Vancouver on Wednesday, January 26, and at the Mineral Outlook Luncheon at the PDAC convention in Toronto on March 7.

Have an interest in Hong Kong? Meet its mining professionals association 

The newly formed Hong Kong Mining Investment Professionals Association has been set up to organize company presentations for Hong Kong investors, who are now showing growing interest in mining investment. PDAC director Don Bubar recommends the association to Canadian juniors working in Asia who want to get information out to investors. More information. For speaking opportunities in Hong Kong, contact the association’s chairman Karfai Leung [email protected] or call 86-15546736919.

China Mining  conference grows and moves to Tianjin

China’s investments in Canada and Australia’s resource sectors were the subject of much discussion at last year’s China Mining conference in mid-November. Canada’s mining potential was highlighted by speakers such as Keith Spence, a PDAC director and president of Global Mining Capital Corp., and Patricia Mohr, an analyst with Scotia Bank companies. Keith’s report is here.

Globe and Mail column says resource sector ‘stars as an innovator’

Disputing the view that Canada’s economy cannot be both innovative and resource-based, Elizabeth Cannon, president of the University of Calgary, said that the resource industry must be recognized as a driver of innovation. “Resource exploration, extraction and production processes are complex,” Cannon wrote in a column towards the end of last year. “They often involve collaboration among companies and suppliers that leads to unexpected discoveries and applications. Innovation in other sectors is also a source of inspiration.”  She cited the example of Canadian mining companies adapting medical imaging technology for their own purposes, achieving higher-resolution images of ore during exploration. Here’s the story.

CFES, one of Canada’s largest national voices on earth sciences issues 

The Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences (CFES) represents twelve Canadian earth science societies, including the PDAC, and two cooperatives. Its membership includes earth scientists and engineers in all industry sectors, government and academia, and almost 25,000 professionals. Earth science sectors make essential contributions through natural resources exploration, development and management, environmental management, climate change adaptation and mitigation, heritage conservation, food production as well as building Canada’s fundamental knowledge base. Nevertheless, new CFES president Bill Stiebel says earth sciences are insufficiently recognized for their crucial role. Here’s a summary of CFES’s work.

Opportunity for companies to join international wheelchair distribution project 

As mining companies continue to do business in developing countries and strive to build positive, long-term relationships with local communities, they are seeking ways to give back. Gordon Holmes, publisher of Streetwise Reports’ The Gold Report  wants to help mining companies fulfill their social responsibility by leveraging his existing networks to provide those in need with wheelchairs. The International Wheelchair Distribution program can help those in need, enhance a company’s contribution to local communities near its projects, and foster stronger community relations. The program is currently operating projects in Ghana and Mali in Africa, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Baja North, Sonora. More information.