March/April 2010

Mining industry comes together in Vancouver

“Don’t become so big that you can’t continue to grow,” cautions Goldcorp’s Jeannes

By P. Caulfield


Goldcorp’s CEO Charles Jeannes

Nearly 6,000 people gathered in Vancouver for the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia’s (AME BC) Mineral Exploration Round­up in January, according to conference chair Jason Weber. The annual technical conference, held January 18 to 21, attracts individuals and organizations involved in exploration and mining around the globe.

Speakers at this year’s Roundup covered such topics as exploration, deposit geology, corporate social responsibility, Aboriginal and community relations, and financing trends. “There were more exhibitors than last year and lots of positive buzz,” said Weber.

Reflecting that optimism, Charles Jeannes, president and CEO of Vancouver-based Goldcorp Inc., addressed a lunchtime crowd on the theme of growth. For mining companies, “growth is the most important attribute for long-term success,” he said.

Jeannes outlined three challenges to sustained growth: replacing reserves, finding new prospects and successfully addressing what he called “the problem” — balancing size and growth. “Don’t become so big that you can’t continue to grow,” warned Jeannes. To avoid this, he explained, it is essential for mining companies to hold on to their high-performing projects and continually dispose of those projects that are not adding value.

“The key is to manage your portfolio in such a way as to add value, not ounces,” Jeannes said. “Your ultimate goal should be to grow the value of the company and to increase its share price.” He explained the ongoing success of a mine depends on reserve replacement at a company’s existing mines. “It’s easier and cheaper than making a new discovery,” he said.

Jeannes offered a checklist for mining success: explore the mine site for new deposits; invest in new exploration projects; invest in early-stage project generation; and acquire new projects that add value and fit your company’s strategy.

Jeannes also commented briefly on Goldcorp’s own growing pains. Barrick Gold is trying to halt the company’s planned acquisition from New Gold of a 70 per cent stake in the El Morro copper-gold project in Chile, which Barrick is also trying to acquire.

“I’m bullish on gold,” Jeannes said, in response to a question from the audience. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it hit $1,500 an ounce in the next year or two.”

Sister conference

The Vancouver Resource Investment Conference, which took place January 17 and 18, also enjoyed a strong turnout. Howard Fitch, president of event producer Cambridge House International Inc., said this year’s conference attracted 8,000 visitors, compared to 6,000 in 2009. The conference, which was held at a pair of downtown hotels, also saw a jump in exhibitors — to 260, up from 230 last year — despite being displaced from Canada Place because of preparations for the Olympic Games.

Also at Roundup…

The Annual Awards Dinner gala celebrated the 2009 recipients of the AME BC awards for their contributions to the British Columbia mineral exploration industry. The awards and their winners were:

  • The H.H. “Spud” Huestis Award, for excellence in prospecting and mineral exploration — Shawn Ryan
  • The E.A. Scholz Award, for excellence in mine development — Stephen Quin and Bruce McLeod
  • The Murray Pezim Award, for perseverance and success in financing mineral exploration — Channing Buckland
  • The Hugo Dummett Diamond Award, for excellence in diamond exploration and development — Barbara Scott Smith
  • The Colin Spence Award, for global exploration excellence — Mark Rebagliati
  • The Robert R. Hedley Award, for excellence in social and environmental responsibility — Judi L’Orsa
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