AME BC’s Roundup 2014 celebrates sustainable mineral exploration and development
by Greg Klein
Billed as “the world’s premier technical mineral exploration conference,” this year’s Roundup continues a theme introduced last year by its host, the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia. Resources for Life emphasizes the vital functions minerals play in our society and what Gavin Dirom calls the “sweat and ingenuity” of finding and extracting these commodities in a responsible, sustainable manner. To that end Dirom, president/CEO of AME BC, prepares to welcome a near-record crowd to the 31st annual event, held January 27 to 30 in Vancouver.
“A big part of why we do Roundup is to come together as a community,” he tells ResourceClips.com. It’s a far-flung community that’s extremely inclusive. An estimated 5,000 or more people will descend on the world’s mining capital from over 40 countries. They’ll represent not only miners, explorers and related companies but also government agencies, community groups and students.
Preceding Roundup 2014 is a weekend of courses suited to both newcomers and the cognoscenti. Then follows four days of keynote speeches, technical sessions, awards ceremonies and social functions, among other events. Roundup mainstays include the trade show, this year with over 240 exhibitors, the map tent, prospectors’ tent and core shack. Technical sessions will examine intriguing topics like New Exploration and Discovery in Old Mining Camps.
In addition to AME BC’s B.C. night, the Alaska Miners Association and the Yukon Chamber of Mines each host evening events promoting their jurisdictions. Site visits will take delegates to the Myra Falls VMS deposit on Vancouver Island and southeastern B.C.’s Copper Mountain open pit porphyry mine.
The awards dinner, old timers’ lunch, hockey challenge and curling bonspiel mix pleasure with business, while forums will cover increasingly important topics such as Aboriginal Engagement.
Roundup 2014 will also officially launch two recent AME BC publications, the Aboriginal Engagement Guidebook and the fifth edition of Safety Guidelines for Mineral Exploration in Western Canada. “These publications are quite important because they demonstrate the leadership of our members and the importance they put on responsible exploration and development,” notes Dirom.
“We’re also excited by the speakers’ lineup,” he adds. Breakfast and lunch talks will feature KGHM International president/CEO Derek White, Dundee Capital Markets chief economist Martin Murenbeeld, Pretium Resources TSX:PVG president/CEO Robert Quartermain and International Council on Mining and Metals president Anthony Hodge, as well as Walter Heneghan and Duncan Trapp, VPs of safety and quality for Canadian Helicopters and CHC Helicopter.
As in previous years, AME BC also encourages a future supply of that most important resource of all—people. Roundup 2014 features separate MineralsEd programs for elementary and high school students and, for those about to embark on their careers, a student/industry networking opportunity.
“It’s a chance for students to meet industry representatives, government officials, possibly future employers,” Dirom points out.
No doubt many informal discussions will ponder the question to be addressed in one of the panel discussions: When Will the Phoenix Rise From the Ashes? A cautiously optimistic response has been coming from some quarters, including speakers and attendees at last week’s Vancouver Resource Investment Conference.
“We see a few early indications of things turning around,” agrees Dirom. “I just came back from Toronto where AME BC opened the TSX. It seems to me there’s more interest in base metals and precious metals lately, so perhaps the worst is behind us. For two years now it’s been very challenging for some of our members. Quite a few are in survival mode. But the industry has seen some very tough cycles in the past. We’re a resilient group, the industry remains strong and it’s likely to get stronger this year.”
Speaking from Prince George where he attended the Premier’s B.C. Natural Resource Forum, Dirom spoke highly of the province’s political leaders. “We get a lot of support from the B.C. government in terms of policies and we’ll hear from Premier Christy Clark on Monday morning about her vision for the industry.”
Even so, Roundup 2014 “will showcase not only what’s happening in British Columbia but in many other parts of the world where our members are active,” he says. “We represent B.C.-based explorers, developers and those associated with the industry, but we have a global reach based out of British Columbia.”