2012 Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Award Winners Videos

 Bill Dennis Award for a Canadian discovery or prospecting success

(L to R) Scott Jobin-Bevans, outgoing PDAC President; Gerald Panneton, President and CEO of Detour Gold Corporation

This award, named for a former president of the association, honours individuals who have accomplished one or both of the following: made a significant mineral discovery; made an important contribution to the prospecting and/or exploration industry. The award may also be used to recognize an important mineral discovery in Canada.
Gerald Panneton, president and CEO of Detour Gold Corp., receives this award for his leadership of the team that has advanced the Detour Lake property in northern Ontario into a world-class, low-grade, high tonnage gold deposit. Panneton spearheaded the initial acquisition and subsequent evaluation of what is now determined to be Canada’s largest undeveloped gold deposit. Recognizing the potential of Detour Lake in 2006, Panneton commissioned a large-scale drilling and re-sampling program. By the end of 2010, the project had proven and probable open pit reserves of 14.9 M oz of gold. Detour Gold Corp. is now moving ahead with the development of the project. 

Environmental & Social Responsibility Award 

(L to R) Pierre Gratton, President and CEO Mining Association of Canada; Ross Gallinger, Executive Director of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada

This award honours an individual or organization demonstrating outstanding initiative, leadership and accomplishment in protecting and preserving the natural environment and/or in establishing good community relations during an exploration program or operation of a mine. 

This award recognizes Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM), a stewardship program developed by the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) that aims to improve the mining industry’s overall performance by aligning its actions with the priorities and values of Canadians. The program was created in 2004 to help mining companies evaluate the quality, comprehensiveness, and robustness of their management systems under several performance elements (tailings management; energy use and greenhouse gas emissions management; aboriginal and community outreach; crisis management planning; biodiversity conservation management; and safety and health). Participation in TSM is a condition of membership in MAC.

It requires members to subscribe to a set of guiding principles that are backed by specific performance indicators against which member companies must report annually. These reported results are externally verified every three years. A community of interest advisory panel provides feedback to MAC on the implementation, reception, and use of TSM performance indicators.  TSM has been recognized as one of the best industry association sustainability initiatives in the world, receiving the Globe Award for Environmental Excellence in 2005. Since that time, independent studies by Five Winds (2008) and the Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (2009) have both ranked TSM as ‘best in class.’

Distinguished Service Award   

(L to R) Deborah McCombe, Executive Vice-President, Business Development for Roscoe Postle & Associates; Patricia Dillon, Past PDAC President

This award recognizes an individual who has achieved one or more of the following: made a substantial contribution to mineral exploration and mining development over a number of years; given considerable time and effort to the PDAC; made outstanding contributions to the mineral industry in the field of finance, geology, geophysics, geochemistry research, or a related activity.

Deborah McCombe is the recipient of this year’s award for her many contributions and distinguished service to the mineral industry and its supporting organizations, including the PDAC. Mrs. McCombe served as a PDAC director from 1996 to 2011. For much of that period, she chaired the association’s international affairs committee. She was also a member of the convention planning committee and served on the governance and strategic planning committees. Mrs. McCombe has also been an active supporter of the CIM, serving on the Mining Millennium 2000 convention organizing committee and chairing the CIM Toronto branch in 2003.

She is a member of the CIM standing committee on mineral resource and mineral reserves and is a Canadian representative of the committee for mineral reserves international reporting standards (CRIRSCO). Deborah received the CIM Fellowship Award in 2005 and a 2001-2002 Distinguished Lecturer Award for her presentations on National Instrument 43-101 across the country.  She is a past director of Mining Innovation, Rehabilitation and Applied Research Corporation (MIRARCO). Mrs. McCombe served as a member of the APGO council as councilor at large from 2007-2009, subsequently becoming vice president and then president.  Deborah was president of Watts, Griffis and McOuat before joining the OSC as chief mining consultant in 2000. Currently, she is executive vice president, business development for Roscoe Postle & Associates.

Skookum Jim Award for Aboriginal achievement in the mineral industry  

(L to R) Charlie Lyall, the former president of the Kitikmeot Corp.; Glenn Nolan, incoming President of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada

Recipients of this award will have demonstrated exceptional achievement and/or service in an aboriginal-run service business for the Canadian mining industry or a Canadian aboriginal exploration or mining company, or have made a significant individual contribution to the mining industry.
This year’s award is being presented to the Nuna Group of Companies for providing mining and construction services to mining companies in northern Canada and training and employment opportunities for Aboriginal People in the North.  Nuna was formed in 1993 and is 51% Inuit-owned [Nunasi Corporation (25.5%); Kitikmeot Corporation (25.5%); and Nuna Management (49%)].  Services the Nuna Group provides, through a group of seven subsidiary companies and fourteen joint ventures and partnerships, include: construction services, logistics, contract mining, infrastructure planning, earthworks, large diameter drilling, and mining support services and mining products.

Sharing the economic benefits of the business with Inuit, Aboriginal People, and northerners has resulted in the company having, among owners and subcontractors, a very high proportion of northern content on projects. The company, which is dedicated to ongoing employee training, has a work force in excess of 600 people on various projects in northern Canada and sources 66% to 81% of the goods and services it uses from the North. Nuna was contracted to build the 567-kilometre ice road from Yellowknife to Lupin, Nunavut, and since 1998 the company has operated and maintained this roadway, which provides access to northern mining sites each winter.

Viola R. MacMillan Award for company or mine development

(L to R) Sean Roosen, President and CEO, Osisko Mining Corporation; Rod Thomas, Second Vice-President, Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada

This award is named in honour of the PDAC’s longest serving president and is given to a person or company demonstrating leadership in management and financing for the exploration and development of mineral resources

The PDAC has selected Osisko Mining Corp. to receive this award for successfully developing and bringing into production the company’s Canadian Malartic gold property in Quebec’s Abitibi gold belt. In November 2004, Osisko acquired the property, which had produced some 5 million ounces of gold from 1935 to 1983 from four mines (Canadian Malartic, Barnat, Sladen and East Malartic). A detailed compilation of the extensive historical database was followed by the start of a major drilling program in March 2005. The mine began commercial production on May 19, 2011, and currently has an estimated 10.71 million ounces in proven and probable reserves. The company has been exemplary in its attention to community concerns and involvement throughout the development of the open pit mine (which included the resettlement of more than 150 homes and the construction of five institutional buildings) and acknowledges that the collaboration of residents and the town council has been crucial to the success of the project.

Thayer Lindsley Award for an international mineral discovery 

(L to R) David Giles, Vice-President Exploration, Fresnillo Plc.; Edward Thompson, PDAC Former President and Chair of Awards Committee

This award, honouring the memory of one of Canada’s greatest mine finders, recognizes an individual or a team of explorationists credited with a recent significant mineral discovery anywhere in the world. 

David A. Giles is the recipient of this year’s award for heading Peñoles and Fresnillo plc exploration teams that have seen considerable success in the number of their new economic gold and silver deposit finds in Mexico and Latin America.  Most notable of these was the discovery of a new vein system in the Fresnillo district, leading to the opening of the Saucito mine in 2011 and consolidating Fresnillo as the largest silver district in the world. Other principal finds included the San Julian silver-gold and Orisyvo gold deposits in Mexico, both now under development, and the discovery and geological reinterpretation of the Francisco I. Madero SEDEX deposit that led to the opening of an important new mine in 2002.  

Special Achievement Award 

(L to R) Hugh McSwain, North Slave Metis Alliance, Mine Training Society Board; Joe Hinzer, Co-Chair of the PDAC 2012 Convention Planning Committee

From time to time, the PDAC presents a Special Achievement Award that recognizes exceptional contributions to the mineral industry. This year, the association has chosen to honour the Mine Training Society (MTS) for providing Aboriginal people in northern Canada with the opportunity to develop usable job skills for the mining industry and for developing a pool of skilled workers for the industry.  MTS is a non-profit organization comprising Aboriginal, industry, and government partners. Its objectives are to: i) screen, select, train, and place northerners in all areas of mining; and ii) in cooperation with the NWT’s education system and communities, build a legacy of education and awareness about the employee and skill requirements of the mining industry.

MTS works with mining companies and industry service providers to bring training and jobs together, funding up to 50% of eligible costs for training programs. Priority for funding is given to training proposals that are skills based and lead directly to employment. The MTS is a pioneer in this area and serves as a model for the other training societies across the North. Since 2004, the MTS and its partners have trained 854 individuals out of a total 1,095 applications, and 600 people have been employed in the mine and mine services sector. Courses offered include: general trades training; environmental monitoring; first aid first responder; driller helper; underground mining (heavy equipment operator, etc.); and mineral process operation.

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