A.O. Dufresne Exploration Achievement Award


A.O. Dufresne Exploration Achievement Award

For exceptional contribution to mining exploration in Canada

Origins & Conditions



The A.O. Dufresne Exploration Achievement Award was instituted in 1977 in honour of Dr. A.O. Dufresne, a revered Past President of CIM, who provided outstanding service to the mineral industry. Born April 10, 1890, Dufresne dedicated his entire career to the development of the province’s mining sector through his work at the Quebec Bureau of Mines, where he was eventually appointed minister. There, he would make significant changes to mining legislation and safety and helped develop mining communities. Dufresne was equally devoted to educating future mining experts and improving the province’s mines. He established several university scholarship funds and founded the École des Mines at the University of Laval in 1934. He was named the first French-Canadian president of CIM in 1950.


The A.O. Dufresne Exploration Achievement Award is presented to an individual or a team in recognition of exceptional achievements or distinguished contributions to mining exploration in Canada.


The contribution or achievement to be recognized may be by innovation, research, project management, education, or any form of outstanding personal achievement contributing to the extension or understanding of exploration in the Canadian mining industry. The term "exploration" may be interpreted broadly.


There is only one recipient of this award every year. This award is for both individual or team nominations.



John Cameron Rowntree

Geologist John Rowntree discovered seven major mineral deposits in Australia and Greenland during his 40+ active career years as a minerals explorer. 

His lifetime contribution to mining exploration started in 1963, before he even graduated from the University of Toronto in 1965, with ACA Howe International as an exploration consultant on a number of projects such as the Bernic Lake Tantalite Project inManitoba and nickel exploration in the Sudbury Basin, Ontario.

HIs 1969 tantalite discovery at Wodgina in Western Australia established his 50+ years of collaboration between Australian and Canadian mining industry colleagues on operations in Australia, Canada and Greenland.

He now focuses on his legacy work as senior advisor to Life Rocks School, a not-for-profit he founded in Australia in 2001 to develop earth science learning and teaching resources for early learners. He believes that to foster life-long curiosity and respect for planet Earth, we must cultivate a love for earth sciences in children through their earliest learning years.


Skeena Resources Eskay Deposit Exploration Team

The Exploration Team at Skeena Resources worked in an expedited manner to organically grow and deliver resources at the past-producing Eskay Creek Project despite the public misconception that the former underground deposits had been depleted by previous operators.   

Skeena optioned Eskay Creek from Barrick Gold Corporation in 2018 and later acquired 100% of the asset in 2020. After optioning the project, the Team began contemplating the former underground mine as an open pittable deposit. Through exploration and infill drilling, Skeena confirmed and subsequently expanded the remnant mineralization in four short years culminating in  2022 with open pittable Proven and Probable Reserves of 2.87 Moz gold and 75.5 Moz silver with average grades of 2.99 g/t gold and 79 g/t silver.   

In parallel with accelerating the delivery of mineral resources and reserves, the Exploration Group continues to have many discovery successes that have high potential to enhance the existing deposits and Mineral Resources. Skeena’s collective team contributions in this revitalization effort place Eskay Creek amongst world class open-pit deposits.