The largest challenge facing the mining industry globally is the disconnect between investors’ timeframes and the timeframe to discover and develop mining projects, says exploration and development company NexGen Energy, the winner of nonprofit organisation the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada’s (PDAC’s) Bill Dennis Award.
“Long-term capital management is, generally, reserved now for passive investment and not for fundamental investment in businesses. This is, of course, a general statement and there are many exceptions, including most of our shareholders who have and are investing for the long term in our process and business,” NextGen Energy VP of corporate development Travis McPherson tells Mining Weekly.
He says the world is consuming more materials than ever to feed global growth and the changing technological landscape means that energy, specifically clean energy, will become absolutely critical, which dovetails nicely with uranium and nuclear.
The Bill Dennis Award was awarded to NexGen Energy for its discovery of one of the largest undeveloped high-grade uranium deposit in the world – Arrow – in the Athabasca basin of Saskatchewan, Canada, in 2014. Based on recent preliminary economic assessment, the blind discovery has a net present value of $3.49-billion.
“This award is recognition by a well- respected group and our peers of the disciplined process our whole team has followed and continues to follow and how this has resulted in the unprecedented efficiency of the discovery and development of the Arrow project,” says McPherson.
Such a prestigious award “makes the company look back in gratitude” at all its past and present employees, shareholders, stakeholders, regulators and service providers who have helped it on its exciting journey, he adds.
The PDAC will recognise exceptional leaders in the mineral exploration and mining industry during its annual PDAC International Convention, Trade Show and Investors Exchange from March 4 to 7. It will celebrate the winners of the seven categories at a gala dinner at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, in Toronto, on March 6.
Thayer Lindsley Award
Canadian mineral exploration and development company Arizona Mining COO Donald Taylor received the Thayer Lindsley Award for his discovery of the eponymous deposit at the Hermosa silver project, in Arizona, in the US, in 2014.
“Under Don’s guidance, the Taylor deposit has expanded rapidly over the past three years to become the world’s best zinc project and it continues to grow, but this is just the beginning. We are excited by the district-scale potential of the Hermosa project and we believe it will yield more discoveries in the future,” says Arizona executive chairperson Richard Warke.
Environmental and Social Responsibility Award
West African gold mining company Golden Star Resources is the winner of the Environmental and Social Responsibility Award. It operates the Wassa and Prestea gold mines on the Ashanti gold belt, in Ghana, and the company has been recognised as a global leader in environmental and social initiatives.
“We are honoured to receive this award and we are delighted that the PDAC recognised our commitment to responsible mining. Doing right by our employees and our host communities is at the heart of our company and we are proud to have contributed to Ghana’s economic growth during the 18 years we have operated there,” Golden Star president and CEO Sam Coetzer tells Mining Weekly.
He says the company is also investing in initiatives, such as healthcare programmes and sustainable livelihood projects, while creating opportunities for Ghanaians and broadening gender diversity in its workplace.
“We attribute our success to the strong partnerships we have formed in Ghana and to ensuring that Ghanaians are represented at all levels of our company, from the board and management team to all levels of the operational team,” Coetzer says, adding that 99% of Golden Star’s workforce is Ghanaian.
“Investors are increasingly asking us more about our approach to corporate social responsibility. Therefore, in the future, it may be more difficult for companies to gain access to capital if they are not doing the right thing for their host countries.”
The Distinguished Service Award has been awarded to geologist and former mining analyst Ted Reeve, who has made invaluable contributions to the PDAC’s annual convention in the past.
The Kookum Jim Award was awarded to consultant and member of the Whitecap Dakota Nation in Saskatchewan Lana Eagle for her contribution to Canada’s mining industry by working to bridge the divide between the industry and indigenous communities.
The Special Achievement Award has been awarded to the late Jean Descarreaux, who is known for his role in developing the Quebec minerals exploration sector.