In late February 2008, the CIM Maintenance and Engineering and CIM Metal Mining societies held a well-run and well-attended MEMO conference in Val-d’Or, Quebec. This was one of a number of conferences over the past year, including the Conference of Metallurgists (and International Copper-Cobre Conference) in Toronto and the Annual Canadian Mineral Processors Operators’ Conference in Ottawa, which had excellent industry turnout. I want to compliment the organizers and sponsors of these events as they have done well in promoting the objectives of the societies and CIM as a whole.
Some of the themes coming out of the conferences related to the current high price ripples, as well as the higher cost environment — how do we manage through these events and sustain our industries in a meaningful way? These conferences provided a forum for good discussion around our issues and potential solutions.
In previous articles I talked about the softer side of our business — safety, education and other elements of corporate social responsibility and how CIM will be involved. I did, however, get another message from our industry support group, which includes our suppliers, consultants and contractors. They are an extension of the producers and, in fact, are sometimes closer to the communities than the major corporations themselves.
A large number of our support organizations have their own governance, environment, and health and safety policies modelled, to a large degree, after the larger producers. We do, however, have a number of smaller entities that simply do not have the same resources at their disposal. So, my request to all producers is to take a moment to talk to your support group — are we on the same page and are we helping each other to get to our sustainability objectives? Contractors are often the first line into new communities and set the stage for the future. This support group of companies is also a large part of the mining community and may in fact have more influence on society’s view of our industry.
Having them with us at the table as we talk to our communities and stakeholders from day one will go a long way to achieving our common objectives. We are all in this together.
Jim Popowich, CIM President