Something for everyone

SCBC Branch executive focuses on meeting all members’ needs

By Alexandra Lopez-Pacheco

From left: Terry Lynds, Ross Lowry, Jack McLeod, John Austerberry and Randy Lynds enjoy a game of golf | Kelly Tuohey

South Central British Columbia (SCBC) is rich in more than metals and minerals: the region has a strong, tightly knit community of mining professionals, who come together to form the CIM SCBC Branch in Kamloops. At over 220 members, the Branch is one of the strongest in the province and was awarded the Mel W. Bartley Award for its vitality.

“I think the credit goes to our executives, who are very dedicated and work very hard, and to the loyal support of our sponsors, the mines in the region and our members,” says Richard Weymark, the Branch’s chair.

According to Weymark, the Branch’s success is due to the high calibre of the technical sessions at events, and the strong personal ties members have de­veloped over the years. “There’s a lot of shared history and a lot of long relationships among our members,” he ex­plains. “People look forward to coming back to our annual general meeting and seeing all their friends. They have high expectations of the social programs, as well as of the quality of the technical papers, charities, and schol-arships that we are able to fund with all the revenue generated from the event.”

Mining activity in the region is booming with copper mines like Highland Valley Copper and Copper Mountain operating at full steam, nascent mines like New Afton ramping up, and gold exploration at a high. And the SCBC Branch is keeping pace, providing educational opportunities, fun times and a sense of community to the large numbers and a diverse group of mining professionals coming into the region.

“When we’re planning our technical programming, we try to cover a really broad spectrum, from updates on certain projects within the province, to interesting developments at an existing mine, from people, to regulatory to environmental to ­­maintenance issues,” says Weymark. The social programming also has to appeal to all, so it includes everything from wine and food pairing to a golf tournament and banquet on the final evening. “We meet six times a year and debrief on every event, talking about what we did and what we could do better,” he adds. “In the past, our attendance at the banquet wasn’t up to what we wanted it to be, so this year, we switched it to a gourmet barbeque. We went with something more casual so people could go after the golf tournament without having to throw their tie and jacket on. We got a lot of positive feedback.”

Throughout the rest of the year the Branch activity calendar is full of events, such as Distinguished Lecturers’ presentations and the annual Kamloops Mining Day, which attracts thousands of people of all ages. “We invite all the different mines in the area and vendors to have booths with family-­oriented ac­ti­vities. It’s a fun day to raise awareness about mining,” ex­plains Weymark. The Branch will also continue to focus on providing relevant events and will be hosting MEMO 2013 next fall.

SCBC executives plan to maintain the vitality of the Branch by recruiting new members and by sharing expertise and enthusiasm with the younger generation. “Our biggest challenge has been getting people from the newer mines in the area involved,” Weymark says. “But after a lot of phone calls, many came on board. Going forward, our challenge will be getting the younger members engaged in our executive.”

In keeping with CIM’s commitment to promote the development of the next generation of mining professionals, the Branch invests heavily in education, including $150,000 for a room in Thompson Rivers University’s House of Learning, regular contributions to the Mineral Resource Education program of British Columbia, and various annual bursaries to students.

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