Engineering & Mining Journal

APR 2019

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52 E&MJ • APRIL 2019 www.e-mj.com MINING IN BRITISH COLUMBIA AND YUKON Vancouver: The World's Mining Hub The British Columbia mining industry looks outwards to export its expertise Days after the all-share merger between Barrick and Randgold became effective in January 2019, Newmont Mining Corpora- tion entered into a definitive agreement with Goldcorp in a stock-for-stock transaction valued at US$10 billion to create Newmont Goldcorp, as Newmont announced it will move its North American regional operations office from Nevada to Vancouver. While few mining companies can match Goldcorp's financial clout, the Vancouver-based major has one thing in common with hundreds of players across the value chain headquar- tered in B.C.: none of its operating mines or development projects are based in British Columbia. Vancouver can lay claim to being the cap- ital of world mining, with over 800 mining companies and juniors headquartered in the city, more than Toronto and Perth (home to the second and third most) combined. How- ever, B.C. lags behind Québec and Ontario in terms of its ability to attract exploration ac- tivity and investment, according to a Fraser Institute report from July 2018, citing factors including onerous regulatory and permitting processes. 2017 saw the first increase in ex- ploration spending in B.C. since 2012, an indication that enthusiasm is returning to the province's domestic industry. Nonetheless, the real driver of Vancouver's mining econo- my has become its global reach: "Vancouver is truly a mining hub as well as a leading ser- vice center for the mining industry. Canada's leadership at extracting natural resources, and Vancouver's unlimited expertise in the sector, leads many to headquarter in Van- couver and then export knowledge around the globe," observed Bryan Cox, president and CEO of the Mining Association of B.C. (MABC). This sentiment was echoed by Ken Em- bree, managing principal and president of Knight Piésold, the engineering and environ- mental consultancy that helps clients under- stand the regulatory regimes in which their projects are situated: "Many of our Canadian clients have mining properties in other areas of the world… We encourage them to apply the same innovative developments, technol- ogies and best practices to all their opera- tions, including their projects located outside of Canada." Global law firm Dentons has also noticed the evolving operational footprint of its cli- ents: "Until a couple of years ago, Dentons was primarily focused on the mining industry in Canada and B.C., but the company's fo- cus has now expanded to include Asia, Aus- tralia, Latin America, Africa, the Caribbean and Mexico," commented Brian Abraham, the Canada co-chair and a global lead for Dentons' mining group. The Canadian service sector has been supplying remote locations in Canada's north for generations, and this expertise is being applied to similarly hard-to-reach ar- eas throughout the Americas. "The cost of failure is high in remote locations, and we want to guard against this by being certain a system is designed for maximum operational up time," said Scott Plummer, president and CEO of RMS-Ross Corporation. Working with small and mid-tier compa- nies, RMS-Ross ships its heavy-duty mining equipment around the globe, designing and manufacturing recovery systems tailored to individual projects in over 60 countries. Its recent elemental analysis work performed at a gold mine in Bolivia led to the discovery of seven new saleable grade products. Vancouver-based companies have long been exporting technologies to overcome challenges unique to South America. Global UAV Technologies can now service the high- elevation, surveying obstacles faced by com- panies operating in the Andes: "These envi- ronments are too risky to fly with a manned helicopter, and surveying is physically im- possible by foot. Drones are thus the only solution, and we are able to fly surveys at an altitude of approximately 15,000 feet," said Michael Burns, Global UAV's CEO. The rise of royalty & streaming financing Since the end of the super-cycle in 2012, conventional equity and debt financing for mining projects has become incrementally harder to find, and even as optimism returns to the market, competition from the can- nabis industry has taken even more capital from the natural resource space in Canada.

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