Courtesy of Anne Marie Toutant

In March 1896, CIM was founded in Montreal at the second annual meeting of the Federated Canadian Mining Institute and it was quickly thereafter incorporated by an Act of the Parliament of Canada in 1898. 

125 years ago, the founding members likely didn’t envision the Canadian landscape currently experienced by the minerals and metals industry. They didn’t imagine surveying by drone technology, moving muck via autonomous scoop trams or webinar participants sharing knowledge simultaneously to global audiences. Heck, I didn’t envision any of this when I started my career in the 1980s.  And I’m almost certain they didn’t imagine a future with women in mining as welders, mine managers and investment bankers. It has, however, been documented that the founding members came together seeking a vehicle for lobbying for safety laws and workers’ protection, as well as a method of ensuring the communication of ideas.

125 years later, these founding tenets are as relevant as ever. Promoting healthy, safe, sustainable and productive practices, fostering diversity and inclusion, improving mineral literacy, preparing the next generation of leaders, volunteering within the communities where we operate, and celebrating the achievements of our industry and its members are the focuses of CIM’s many societies, branches and committees across Canada and internationally.

With the recent escalation of geopolitical instability and risk and re-nationalization of items of strategic importance, Canada is increasingly a favoured jurisdiction in the world for the exploration, extraction, refinement and recycling of the minerals and metals needed to address the global challenges that society is facing including having adequate food, clean water and transitioning the world’s energy requirements.  By consistently demonstrating our commitment to environmental, social and governance values, partnering with Indigenous and local communities for sustainable prosperity and seeking collaborative alliances with those beyond traditional mining boundaries, we can continue to improve safety, productivity and environmental performance for generations to come. 

Just like CIM’s founding members, we will not correctly imagine what the minerals and metals industry in Canada will look like a century from now. I am however confident that our industry will resiliently evolve for the better by being curious, inviting and continuing to collaborate. Together as an institute, we can accomplish so much more than we can achieve individually.

As we prepare to celebrate CIM’s 125th anniversary in Montreal from April 30 to May 3 at the CIM Convention and Expo, it’s the perfect time to pause, reflect and then boldly step forward to shape the role Canada’s national institute of mining will play in the exploration, extraction, refinement and recycling of the minerals and metals needed by the world.

Happy 125th anniversary, CIM!