August 2012

A sea of opportunity

MSNS’ 125th anniversary celebration highlights contribution of mining to Nova Scotia

-By Lynn Elizabeth Moore

The Mining Society of Nova Scotia (MSNS), Canada’s first professional mining association, marked its 125th anniversary with a festive annual general meeting at the historic Keltic Lodge in Ingonish, Nova Scotia from June 6 to 8. The event, which drew a record-breaking 200 attendees, celebrated the society's storied past, took a hard look at the future of mining in the region, province and country, and featured top-drawer entertainment.

The AGM went well beyond the traditional Nova Scotia lobster dinner, served at an awe-inspiring shore locale. “We wanted to celebrate what the East Coast has to offer, and we did,” says outgoing MSNS president, Matt Ferguson.

Highlights of the event included Thursday’s luncheon keynote presentation, where Dr. Howard Donahue, a retired geologist with the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources and a past-president of MSNS, provided a history of the society; a speech from Charlie Parker, Nova Scotia’s natural resources minister, which underlined the mining industry’s vital role in the province; and an inspiring keynote address by CIM president Terence Bowles, which focused on Canada’s role in the global mining industry.

"Whether you are an engineer or a geologist, work in finance, operations or environmental science, work on the supply side, or in the many universities, you are integral to the mining kaleidoscope, helping Canada gain and maintain its strong foothold in the global market,” Bowles, who is also president and CEO of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp, told attendees.

Technical presentations on shale gas exploration, the state of the gypsum sector, the Touquoy and Cochrane Hill gold projects and the US$1.06 billion Donkin Coal project, provided attendees with an opportunity to learn about the state of the industry. The speech of Fred George, former president of Gammon Gold, the largest single gold mining producer in Mexico, held the audience captive, as George explained how he took Gammon Gold’s market cap from $10 million to over $2.4 billion in five years.

Evening entertainment was just as engaging. Rick Mercer, host of CBC current affairs program, “The Rick Mercer Report,” delivered a comedic take on Canada’s assets in his speech, “Canada: A Nation Worth Ranting About.”

“The calibre of the technical presentations and keynote speakers, the high level of entertainment, and the fellowship and networking amongst those involved in the mining industry, came together to make our 125th anniversary celebration most successful,” says incoming president, Willie McNeil, who was inaugurated at the AGM. “I look forward to working with our executive and council in the coming year to promote and celebrate the mining industry and what it means to Nova Scotia.”

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