Last year’s 2023 PDAC Awards Gala in Toronto. Courtesy of PDAC.

Each year since 1977, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) has recognized outstanding groups in the mining industry in five award categories: the Bill Dennis Award, the Skookum Jim Award, the Sustainability Award, the Thayer Lindsley Award and the Viola R. MacMillan Award. PDAC has announced the 2024 award recipients, which will be formally recognized during at an awards gala in Toronto on March 5, 2024, during the PDAC 2024 Convention. 

“Their successes are an inspiration and demonstrate the expertise, ingenuity and determination needed to find the minerals that are essential to modern life,” said PDAC president Raymond Goldie in a Nov. 9 press release. “Our awards recipients also show that, both in Canada and worldwide, mineral explorers and developers are practising innovative and effective approaches to community engagement and sustainability.”

The 2024 PDAC Award winners are as follows:

The Bill Dennis Award, which recognizes individuals who have made a significant mineral discovery or contributed to the progression of the mining industry in Canada, will go to John Burzynski and the Osisko Mining Inc. exploration team for their discovery and expansion of the Windfall deposit’s Lynx gold zones in Eeyou Istchee James Bay, Quebec. 

From 2016 to 2022, upon unearthing one of Quebec’s most significant gold discoveries, Osisko completed a 35-rig drilling campaign at the Lynx deposit, which is considered to be among the largest drilling campaigns in the world. In addition to featuring Canada’s longest diamond drill hole that exceeds 3,400 metres, the Lynx deposit gained worldwide attention as the volcanic belt area was not known as an area with significant deposits. A $1.2 billion investment at Windfall was announced in May 2023 to fund the mine’s future potential. 

The Skookum Jim Award, which is given to an Indigenous group that has demonstrated exceptional achievement and/or service to Canadian Indigenous exploration or the mining industry, will go to the Wabun Tribal Council (WTC), which represents six First Nations including Beaverhouse, Brunswick House, Chapleau Ojibwe, Flying Post, Matachewan and Mattagami, which host several of Ontario’s mining camps on their land.

WTC is known for its engagement approach towards the mining industry through a company-community collaboration model called the Wabun Model. This model aids First Nation communities by offering support with negotiations and partnerships with the mining industry through equitable and consistent consultation from exploration to development. 

O3 Mining will be awarded the Sustainability Award, which is given to an organization that showcased leadership, initiative and achievement in conservation work during mine exploration or operations. O3 is being recognized for its environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance, including its achievement of the Environmental Choice (ECOLOGO) certificate for mineral exploration companies, a voluntary environmental certification that sets a standard for ESG practices.

Founded in 2019, O3 Mining has demonstrated a strong commitment to ESG targets, and last year invested $2.3 million to implement best practices that exceed regulatory targets. An example is the company’s use of biodegradable oils for heavy machinery in all operations. The company also formed a sustainable development department and a committee within the board of directors to oversee corporate social responsibility.

The Thayer Lindsley Award, a recognition given to a significant mineral discovery anywhere in the world, will go to the Lundin Group Vicuña exploration team for pioneering the creation of a new mineral district on the border of Chile and Argentina in a remote area of the Andes where the Maricunga and El Indio gold-silver belts are located. 

The expansion potential for the company’s key resources at the Filo de Sol, Josemaria and Los Helados deposits collectively amount to 38 billion pounds of copper, 28 million equivalent ounces of gold and 356 million ounces of silver. Recent preliminary projections of high yields in the Lunahausi location, formerly known as Potro Cliffs, is reinforcing the Vicuña district to be a vital global hub for copper, gold and silver production in Argentina and Chile using the latest geological concepts and models. 

The Viola R. MacMillan Award will go to John McConnell and the Victoria Gold Corporation Team for outstanding leadership in management and financing for overcoming multiple challenges, including economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, to secure $500 million for the construction and development of the Eagle gold mine in Yukon’s Mayo mining district. 

Despite shareholder doubts and critics, McConnell and the Victoria Gold Corporation team managed to and lowered capital costs after the mine’s completion. McConnell and his team’s commitment to safety operations and a financially strategic approach did not falter throughout the process.