August 2010

Expanding resources to take on enduring challenges

New PDAC president committed to building bridges and capacity

By E. Moore

Scott Jobin-Bevans is the president and CEO of Ontario-based gold exploration company Treasury Metals Inc., as well as director and founding partner at Caracle Creek International Consulting Inc.

The Prospectors and Developers Assocation of Canada (PDAC) welcomed its new president in March. Scott Jobin-Bevans is the president and CEO of Ontario-based gold exploration company Treasury Metals Inc., as well as director and founding partner at Caracle Creek International Consulting Inc.

In his role as a director at PDAC, Jobin-Bevans co-founded the Student-Industry Mineral Exploration Workshop (S-IMEW), an annual two-week mineral exploration and networking workshop for budding geoscientists. CIM recently caught up with him to learn about his plans for his two-year term and beyond.

CIM: In 2006, PDAC set out to attract more people to the exploration sector, expand PDAC’s role internationally, secure access to land, and formulate a strategy for corporate social responsibility (CSR). Where has PDAC made the most, and least, progress so far?

Jobin-Bevans: We’ve made significant progress in CSR. We introduced “e3 Plus: A Framework for Responsible Exploration” at PDAC 2009 and we’re out there in the industry to promote CSR and good practices in exploration or mining operations. We’ve done that both on an international level and here at home.

The free entry and access to land issue is still a big challenge. In Canada, the effort to create green spaces tends to take away large tracts of land from the exploration process. The challenge fundamentally rests on educating the average citizen about the impact of mining operations and how important they are to the economy.

CIM: In your new role as president, what changes do you hope to bring to the organization?

Jobin-Bevans: I don’t foresee major changes. We have the resources now to get more proactive on some of our issues. Over the last half-dozen years, our finances have expanded more than our operations. We’re seeing good revenues from our convention and we don’t anticipate that will change much, so, going forward, we can now plan with a robust balance sheet. Another change would be building more capacity at PDAC itself; I think there’s room to expand our offices and staff.

CIM: What project are you most excited about?

Jobin-Bevans: The First Nations/ Aboriginal community engagement and education work we’re doing in Ontario, in particular, is very interesting. It’s a very complicated challenge but I think there’s a lot of goodwill out there between the communities and our industry to work together to continue building this relationship. I have worked in northern Ontario and have a project in northwestern Ontario, so I have a vested interest in working with the northern communities.

The big challenge is trying to make sure we keep our door open to work with First Nations groups and we don’t let the government, federal or provincial, mess that up by allowing a wedge to be driven into our relationship. Those communities are where the mining and mineral exploration industries will find our future employees.

CIM: S-IMEW is now in its fourth year. What lessons have you learned over this time?

Jobin-Bevans: What we have learned from the participants is surprising. These students are usually in their third or fourth year of geoscience, but some of them have actually come in still undecided on their career, and had some very negative comments about the mining industry at the start of the two weeks. At the end of the workshop, we canvass the students, and consistently find they have changed their minds and attitudes about the industry. In many cases they’re shocked about how responsible our industry is, how safe it is and how important it is to this country.

I think this demonstrates that the way students are educated in this country doesn’t give them practical hands-on experience or a balanced view on the industry. Their perception of mining comes from a newspaper or the web. As we know, TV reports, newspapers and the Internet sometimes give a bias. When you actually visit a mine and see how things are done, the reality starts to hit home. I think they all leave with more appreciation for what mining does for the economy.

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