November 2006

New Brunswick Branch annual convention

By R. Kempster

The CIM New Brunswick Branch held its 31st convention from September 7 to 9 in Beresford and Bathurst. Though this event had not been held since 2000, it was resurrected this year to help the branch celebrate its 50th anniversary. The branch was formed in November 1956.

Following a long-established format, the convention featured many technical presentations, award presentations, plenty of food and entertainment, and a golf tournament. Many posters depicting the events, awards presentations, scholarship winners, and past chairmen adorned the walls of the conference centre; as well there was a display of several of the branch’s trophies.

The event began with a meet and greet on Thursday night with many getting re-acquainted for the first time in years.

On Friday, Ellen Barry, assistant deputy minister of Natural Resources, gave the opening address, followed by four speakers: 

  • Steve McCutcheon gave a pictorial history of the operating mines over the past 50 years in 10-year increments.
  • Dick Potter spoke about the birth of potash mining in the Sussex area and the role played by the provincial department of natural resources.
  • Greg Baiden amazed everyone with his eye-opening talk on the use of tele-automation (remote control) in the mining industry and its implications, such as underwater mining and outer space work.
  • Dave Plante ended the session with a talk on New Brunswick’s minerals industry compared to other jurisdictions, and the impact of growing economies such as China.

During the luncheon, CIM District 1 Vice President Andy Cormier informed branch members of the activities of CIM national, including the upcoming conference and exhibition to be held in Montreal in April/May 2007. The luncheon was also attended by the president of the NBPDA, manager of the NB Mining Association, past president of the Mining Society of Nova Scotia, chairman of the CIM NB Branch, and local politicians and mayors.

Technical presentations continued in the afternoon with exploration/geology sessions running concurrently with operations/environmental sessions. Including the morning general sessions, a total of 16 presentations were given.

The focal point of the whole convention was the evening banquet, attended by over 140 people, which featured a multi-course seafood feast. Following the meal, all former chairmen of the branch were introduced and presented with a commemorative gold CIM pin. Of the 35 living past chairmen, 17 accepted the invitation and were present for the ceremony.

Three Friend of the Institute Awards were presented to Irene Halley, Georgette Assaff, and Ron Gates for their many years of service on the organizing committees of the convention. A fourth FOI Award was presented to Doucet Landscaping, represented by Alvin, Ronnie, and Cletus Doucet.

George Flumerfelt, president of The Redpath Group, spoke on the Challenges of Mining in Mongolia. The evening concluded with a performance by Moncton comedian Marshall Button, famous for his franglais alter ego “Lucien” the millworker.

Saturday started out cloudy with a constant threat of precipitation. Despite the ominous forecast the show went on. A putting contest, run by the Special Olympics, was held and the winners were Doug Chapman and Pat Buzas. This was followed by a luncheon and then golf. A total of 68 golfers hit the links.

After about five holes the rain and the wind came, making for very unpleasant playing conditions. Despite the foul weather, eight of the 17 teams persevered and managed to finish all 18 holes. Turkey was on the menu for supper, which helped warm up the participants while being entertained by a local singing group, “Take Note.” The convention came to a conclusion with the distribution of prizes for the golf tournament.

A special thanks goes out to the organizing committee, which consisted of convention chairman Wayne Hickey, Irene Halley, Georgette Assaff, Rita May Gates, Barbara Rose, Anita Hickey, Pat Traynor, Patrick Ferland, Steve McCutcheon, Jim Duncan, and Rory Kempster.

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