June/July 2008

President's notes

Innovation for a sustainable future

By J. Gowans

The mining industry is in a phase of unprecedented growth, and nowhere is that more evident than in our own country. The products from Canada’s mining activities are in high demand around the globe and exploration has reached record levels across the country. Statistics Canada recently reported that Newfoundland and Labrador had “China-like” economic growth of 9.1 per cent based on increases in oil development and mining, thereby unseating Alberta as having the fastest growing provincial economy.

Despite these advances, energy remains in great demand. We also face challenges as a result of the Canadian dollar’s show of strength against its U.S. counterpart, causing costs to increase and affecting productivity.

It is in this context that CIM held its CIM Conference and Exhibition 2008 in Edmonton this past May, the theme of which was Moving Beyond: Innovation for a Sustainable Future. The conference provided an important venue for members of the Canadian mining industry to get together to network and learn from one another.

It was widely acknowledged that our industry has to provide the necessary leadership and innovation to secure its place in society today. Students attending this year’s conference are the innovators of tomorrow. They carry with them the challenge of demonstrating that we have a social license to operate under increasing pressure to minimize humanity’s collective environmental impact, while still maximizing productivity.

The communities in which we operate are looking to our industry to provide greater returns, and not solely economic ones, but also social, cultural and technological. We can create positive social change with willing partners. I am glad to see the growing success that the industry is achieving with First Nations communities in Canada. Through collective effort and innovation in training, economic development and leadership opportunities, this industry can positively impact a community that has long been neglected. This is innovation for a sustainable future in action.

The Canadian minerals industry has become one of the most technologically advanced in the world. The focus is on minimally invasive practices to extract more value out of our resources and to lessen the impact on our environment. Creating a smaller individual footprint and a more positive social impact are integral to this innovation.

As I begin my tenure as CIM president, I look forward to taking the steps necessary to move beyond the current challenges faced by our industry, alongside the more than 12,000 CIM members who are working to create an innovative and sustainable future. This is the essence of CIM.

Jim Gowans, CIM President

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