Canada’s north “goin’ south” for PDAC 2018 | Glenn Mullan (PDAC President)

Jan 11, 2018

Anyone working in mineral exploration, mining, or mining development normally sees travel as part of the job. Africa, Asia, Australia, Central and South America, Russia, these – and many more International locales – are all now Canada’s mining partners and neighbours. Canadians in the mining industry work in over 100 countries (102 at last count in 2015). We should be proud of that, and that aspect now accounts for a significant part of PDAC communications and themes that you will identify in our policies and programming at the annual convention.

It is also a credit to Canada’s international reputation. It is good, noble even, and in a world of complications, speed bumps and exit strategies, Canada is a good investment and development partner to many countries who had not thought of us before. Canadian operators are innovative and are very open to international business, and without the legacy and reputation of many other G7 trading partners.

Perhaps the best endorsement of the PDAC brand and reputation is that folks from 130 countries attended the 2017 Convention. For those of us who reside in the North, the March trip to Toronto is like a holiday to a Club Med. “We’re ‘goin’ south” and to +20C (at least on one day during the last convention). For our guests from Cameroun and Honduras, it is a shock (climate wise). But 24,161 brave souls attended in March 2017 to see the world’s premier mineral exploration and mining event. Bar none, it is number one.

Make PDAC great again? It was always great, and is always great, but it does not happen on its own. Many of our members and external stakeholders do not understand that so much of it is volunteer-driven (including the office of the President, Vice Presidents and Board of Directors, Committee Chairs and Committee Members). I think that is why it has the mystique, and the credibility with many countries and external stakeholders. The staff (25 or so, depending on requirements) are centred in an office on King Street East in Toronto and do much of the program work in partnership with the volunteer Committee Chairs and volunteer Committee Members. However, it’s the Committee Chairs and the Board who “drive the bus”.

As I hit the nine-month mark in my role as President, I can say that it has been an eye-opener in some respects. Not the travel, but the meetings during the travel are very different to my past routine. PDAC opens doors, and I have witnessed the reputation and the value of the brand in places that are quite some distance from Toronto (or Val-D’Or), or Canada for that matter. On PDAC business I’ve visited Cape Town, South Africa (Indaba Conference), Mexico, London and Finland to name a few. During my “day job” travels, requests for PDAC meetings suddenly transpired in places including Kenya, Ethiopia and Cameroun! But not all travel is done by the PDAC President, as there are an abundance of external meetings each month representing our various themes and work plans including staff, Executive Director, Vice Presidents and Committee Chairs all as circumstances – and our budget parameters – dictate.

All-in-all, PDAC is quite the machine. Well-oiled and experienced, but going through its own dynamic change through aggressive (some would say) governance renewal. The 2017 Convention took place in March, and by late June we had completed our Five-Year Strategic Planning session in Toronto. Those ideas are now being developed into the programs, themes and messages that our members demand and will be shared over the coming months through our various communications platforms.

GJM from Val D’Or, Quebec

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