Simply stated, the oil sands industry is a victim of its own success. Skilled workers cannot be hired quickly enough, and supporting infrastructure cannot
be built fast enough to answer the ever-growing demand for oil. And although these are “good problems to have,” they are still big problems. Their
significance is marked by the fact that some in the industry viewed the recent economic downturn as a blessing in disguise; it gave them the opportunity to
play catch-up in various areas, namely recruitment, training and infrastructure development. Still, keeping up and catching up are just first steps, as the
global appetite for energy that is powering growth and development in the Athabasca region will not be satiated any time soon.
In our feature “The Athabasca Express,” we take a detailed look at some of the key challenges confronting the oil sands industry – from pipeline and
roadway capacity to construction costs and regulatory hurdles – and how operators and suppliers are addressing them.
We also explore developments in Canada’s other energy powerhouse, the coal industry, throughout the issue. Our coverage includes a new approach to converting coal fines to revenues, Sherritt Coal’s Paintearth mine’s collaborative approach to safety and a profile of Coalspur Mines Ltd.’s flagship Vista Coal project. We feature an interview with Ann Marie Hann, president of the Coal Association of Canada, whose deep understanding of both industry and
government helps put current developments in context.
You will also find calls for nominations for our prestigious CIM Awards, which recognize the outstanding achievements and contributions made by individuals
and companies to the mining and minerals industry, and are handed out every year at our CIM Convention. Be sure to make your nomination before the December
1, 2012 deadline, so that you can shine the spotlight on an industry leader.
And speaking of awards, I would also like to take the opportunity to pass along my congratulations to the CIM Magazine editorial and production teams for
the recent acknowledgement by the 2012 Tabbies International Editorial and Design Awards. Our November “Quebec’s Plan Nord” issue was among the Top 25 in
the “Best Single Issue” category, which is quite an accomplishment as there were over 500 entries from business and trade publications from around the
world. It is an honour to be part of such a dedicated and talented team.