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.
The world-class Hemlo deposit was the major gold discovery in Canada during the 1980s and is still responsible for a significant portion of Ontario’s gold production. The three individuals who were responsible for discovering one of the country’s richest gold camps were Don McKinnon, John Larche and David Bell.
John Larche first became involved in mining and exploration in 1943, when he worked on diamond drills and underground at the Preston East Dome Mine. In 1955, Larche became an independent prospector and mining exploration contractor. He has concentrated his prospecting in Ontario and Quebec with some work in Manitoba, Nova Scotia and the Northwest Territories.
Larche has been involved in a number of staking rushes, including Mattagami in the 1950s, Kidd Township in the 1960s – he staked the Windfall claims – and Hemlo.
Until 1964, Don McKinnon had only dabbled in prospecting. That year, along with John Larche and Fred Rousseau, they staked and sold the Windfall property and he has worked in prospecting ever since.