The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) represents the interests of the Canadian mineral exploration and development industry. The association was established in 1932 in response to a proposed government regulation that threatened the livelihood of Ontario prospectors. The William (Bill) W. Dennis Prospector of the Year Award is presented to individuals or groups who have made a significant mineral discovery, offered noteworthy contributions to the PDAC, or have been involved in some important service or technological invention or innovation that helped improve the Canadian prospecting and exploration industry.
Charles E. Fipke discovered Canada’s first diamond mine in the Northwest Territories about 300 kilometers northwest of Yellowknife.
Mr. Fipke is recognized as a leader in the diamond indicator mineral industry and has published a number of papers and articles that are widely used in the industry. In 1983, he founded Dia Met Minerals Ltd. The company went public the following year with the help of many local Kelowna investers.
As founder of the company, Mr. Fipke is credited with the original discovery of the Point Lake diamondiferous kimberlite pipe, where diamonds, including those of gem quality, were returned from drilling and bulk sampling program. The discovery was made after more than ten years of tenacious field exploration.
Mr. Fipke was born in Edmonton and received a bachelor of science degree (honours) in geology from the University of British Columbia. In the early part of his career, he worked as a geologist for Kennecott Copper Company in New Guinea; for Samedoan Oil Company in North Queensland, Australia; and for Johnesburg Consolidated Investments, in Barberton, South Africa.
From 1974 to 1977, he was employed as a geologist for Cominco Ltd. in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. After leaving Cominco, he set up his own company, C.F. Mineral Research Ltd., Kelowna, B.C. Mr. Fipke, who continues to operate the company today, coordinated and assisted in the design of its facilities, which house a heavy mineral and conodont laboratory unique to the western world.
Charles Fipke’s dream and determination has transformed the entire economy of the country’s north. His original discovery sparked one of the biggest Canadian staking rushes ever. A decade and half later, the resulting discoveries led to the development of three diamond mines in the Northwest Territories, Ekati (1998) Diavik (2003), and Nunavut, Jericho (2006), developed and after a decade and half established Canada as the world’s third largest producer of diamonds.
Furthermore Debeers is in the process of building two more mines, Snap Lake in the Northwest Territories and Victor near James Bay in Ontario.