The Ottawa area has a strong mining history dating back to 1880. Many minerals are found in abundance around the area, including mica, quartz, apatite and feldspar. The countryside surrounding the city is dotted with almost 2000 old mining sites, said Dr. John Udd, a past-chairman of the Ottawa Branch. “Ottawa is surrounded by mineral deposits,” he said.
Today, mineral production comes from many operations within the Ottawa area, including calcium carbonate from a rich marble deposit near Perth and limestone, which provides important granular materials for building the city’s infrastructure.
“Historically, there was a long period when Ottawa was a very powerful CIM Branch, with industry’s presence coupled with the federal government.”
The Ottawa Branch currently has 58 members, and this number has increased substantially in the past year due to the hard work of the branch executive. From September through June, the branch holds monthly meetings and other social events. During the 2004-05 year, a golf tournament and field trip were also organized and were well attended.
Meetings are generally held at the Natural Resources Canada Booth Street location, and feature a catered lunch followed by a guest speaker. Speakers are drawn from the CIM Distinguished Lecturer Program, as well as local organizations and government. “We try to select topics that draw the largest cross-section of members,” said David Young, the current chairman of the branch. “Our annual program covers a pretty broad range, from very technical to general in scope.”
In December, the annual Christmas dinner and speaker event is held at a local hotel. Members and their spouses attend and are treated to dinner followed by a guest speaker addressing an interesting mining-related topic that appeals to this general audience.
The final meeting of the year is the annual general meeting, held each June.
Mineral policy makers, the Geological Survey of Canada, mineral research centres such as CANMET, and the Mining Association of Canada are all present in Ottawa, making up the bulk of the Ottawa Branch membership. Consultants and retirees account for the rest of the membership, "Our membership numbers have been increasing lately," said branch chairman David Young. “We are making a concerted effort to attract new members to the branch.” Students from both Carleton University and the University of Ottawa are always invited to attend the luncheon meetings free of charge.