Alex Christopher, 38th President,

PROSPECTORS & DEVELOPERS ASSOCIATION OF CANADA (PDAC)

"PDAC’s focus is to ensure that the mineral sector remains viable through the pandemic."

What were the reasons behind moving the PDAC 2022 event to June?

Capacity limits for indoor gatherings and large events are currently in place by the Government of Ontario, with no guarantee as to the timing of their removal. We could not confidently continue planning for an in-person event in March with so much uncertainty.

The PDAC 2022 Convention will now take place in-person at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from June 13-15 and online from June 28-29. By rescheduling from March to June, we are offering the best chance of success for all of our stakeholders.

As always, the convention will offer an outstanding lineup of programs, educational opportunities and networking events. We look forward to welcoming the world’s mineral exploration and mining industry back to Toronto in a new and warmer season.

Could you give us some personal background highlights, prior to being appointed President of PDAC?

I am a professional geologist by trade and joined Teck’s Exploration Group in 1984, and I was appointed SVP, exploration, projects and technical services in July 2016. I have been involved in industry associations for approximately 20 years, including being a member of the Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia, and recently became the 38th President of PDAC.

How much of PDAC will become hybrid moving forward?

The PDAC staff and volunteers did a tremendous job in switching track and hosting a successful virtual convention in 2021. We have decided to do a hybrid event in 2022 for our 90th annual convention. We now have experience in running both kinds of events and believe that next years’ convention will also be a success in terms of content and interaction. The protocols being put in place by both PDAC and government will ensure appropriate health and safety for conference staff and the public attending.

What are the biggest challenges the mining industry is facing?

Currently, PDAC’s focus is to ensure that the mineral sector remains viable through the pandemic. Many companies, especially juniors, rely on flow through share financing where there is an expenditure timeline to adhere to for the purchasers to benefit from the flow through of the tax credits. It was important for the government to step up and extend the time allowed to spend flow through funds as there were wide-sweeping travel interruptions that impacted the ability for companies to operate. PDAC worked with the federal government and advocated strongly for this extension. We are also advocating for an extension of mineral exploration tax credits and even doubling the exploration tax credits for critical minerals to encourage grassroots exploration and increase the viability of mining that will drive us into a greener future. We are also working closely with the government to unlock geoscience funding to build out the country’s data set, which will attract FDI. This funding can also support evidence-based data management decisions and provide the information needed to make more informed decisions on land conservation and development. Worldwide, there is a great focus on critical minerals, and we want to drive the concept that Canada can be a supplier of choice for minerals and metals that contribute to the green agenda.

What advice would you give juniors?

Before the pandemic, delivering a consistent news flow has always been a primary challenge for junior exploration companies and building market trust is critical for success. With potential for backlogs in support services like drilling and assaying and other supply chain related issues, maintaining a consistent news flow is even more challenging. With high commodity prices and investor appetite returning to the mineral industry, there appears to be a lot of available money for exploration and delays in news flow can impact how a company finances future activities. Fortunately, we have many opportunities to speed up data transfer and communicate results, but pre-planning and being transparent with the market is critical at this point.

In terms of public perception, how do you think the future of the mining industry will play out?

I view the mining sector as being a high-tech industry with a strong underlying focus on the environment and sustainability. PDAC is working closely with industry and government to inform public perspective of how minerals and metals are inextricably linked to our modern life, through communication and education. We all have the responsibility to create transparency and inform society on the environmental and social performance of the mining industry and what benefits this sector has for sustainable social and economic development. PDAC’s core focus is to support a competitive exploration and development mining industry in Canada.