Robert Elver Mineral Economics Award


Robert Elver Mineral Economics Award

For the most significant contribution to the mineral economics field

Origins & Conditions


Born in Toronto in 1934, Robert Elver is celebrated as one of Canada’s foremost mineral economists. After graduating from the University of Toronto, Elver joined the Mineral Resources Division of the Department of Mines and Technical Surveys, where he would spend his entire career.

Elver was instrumental in bringing Canadian involvement to international metals committees, such as OECD and Economic Commission for Europe, especially in steel. He enhanced mineral development domestically as well, and was instrumental in reviewing mining public policy in the 1970s.

His death on July 16, 1979, following a brief illness, led to the creation of the Robert Elver Mineral Economics Award, which honours a CIM member who has made significant contributions to the field of mineral economics in Canada.

The Robert Elver Mineral Economics Award criteria and other information:

  1. The Robert Elver Mineral Economics Award is awarded for significant contribution in the mineral economics field in Canada.
  2. The award is to be presented from time to time as circumstances warrant.
  3. All nominations must be accompanied by a brief description of the meritorious contribution and its value to the mineral economics field in Canada.
  4. The CIM Chief Executive Officer shall refer all such nominations to the Awards Committee of the Mineral Economics Society, which includes the three immediate Past Chairmen of the Society.
  5. The Committee shall present its report and recommendations to CIM Council not later than the last Council meeting held prior to the next annual CIM Convention.
  6. No member of the Awards Committee shall be party to the nomination of any candidate.
  7. When reasonably possible, the recipient shall be expected to receive the Award in person at the annual CIM Convention following the announcement of the Award, or at such other place and time agreeable to CIM Council.


There is only one recipient of this award every year. This award is solely for individual nominations (no teams).

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Mauro Chiesa

Mauro Chiesa made his mark in infrastructure financing and natural resource development—his work changed the developing and emerging world in tangible ways that continue to this day. His technical reports and analyses were renowned for their insight, precision, and broad sweep.  

Chiesa’s career began with Export Development Canada (ED) in Ottawa, where he worked on export financing, with a focus on Africa. During his time in New York with two international banks (Banque Indosuez, Sumitomo Bank), he specialized in industrial finance, working on project financing (for power generation and mining) and complex turn-arounds. At the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in Washington DC, he led IFC teams in emerging countries on government-focused advisory missions specialising in public sector P3, joint-venture and privatisation potential. As an independent advisor, he was known for his technical prowess in project financing of large-scale industries; his expertise was evident in the several CIM keynote addresses and in his contributions to CIM Magazine. 

Mauro Chiesa passed away on February 8, 2023 at the age of 70. 

Distinguished Lecturer 2015-16

Lecture Abstract


Full-costing in the selection of good mine projects

Mine projects are depleting assets that are very capital-intensive. As replacement assets are becoming increasingly difficult to find, finding the capital to finance these assets is also becoming difficult. Adding further complexity, the public sector is becoming increasingly hesitant to support such developments, insisting on all mining companies to form two queues: one for permits and one for co-financing; much like the institutional investor, the public sector also is faced with pension obligations, and deficits. The resulting issues, which can be seen with over $1 billion of asset provisions in but 30 months for the majors alone, has sent the institutional investor packing. The majors are shedding producing assets to raise cash, instead of purchasing promising assets from the juniors; the juniors in turn find themselves “crowded out” from the capital by the producing assets, and are faced with a difficult market. Industry valuations have suffered as a result, paradoxically, in a buyer’s market.

The mining company must now better screen and select its existing and future projects and perform to pro forma expectations to regain the market’s confidence, and valuation. The mining company has the data and budget, but often not the timely information or patience to improve this risk matrix. The presentation focuses on the framework including a “full costing” approach to reduce the risk of a blunder, reduce the political risk and inflation risk of the project facing either public-sector “queue.” The presentation also focuses on the public sector and what it must undertake to remain current; it too faces scrutiny. For the mining company, a more timely performance in delivering projects and the lower resulting volatility in valuation will regain the market’s confidence. For the public sector, this will result in economic development and revenues.


Michael J. Bourassa

Michael J. Bourassa is a member of the global mining group at Fasken LLP. He was co-chair of the International Bar Association’s (IBA) Mining Law Committee and is now a council member of the IBA’s Section on Energy, Environment, Resources and Infrastructure Law. He also served as a director and officer of the Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law and a director of the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada.  

In the early 2000’s on a pro bono basis, Bourassa helped establish the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario which allowed geoscientists to become Qualified Persons for technical reports required by NI 43-101. As a result, he was named an Honorary Geoscientist by the APGO and a Fellow of Geoscientists Canada. He also served as a member of CIM’s mineral valuation committee (CIMVAL) which established a mineral valuation standard for Canada.