I wrote this President’s Note before the COVID-19 pandemic appeared and I thought I would revisit and perhaps revise it based on what is happening today. Upon review, I decided not to. I have no medical knowledge that can provide you any advice on the current situation that you do not already have access to from countless other sources. So, I have left my final submission as CIM President to remind everyone of what a great industry we work in and that we will endure and continue to be a key driver in improving the quality of life of people around the world. Wishing you good health during these challenging times.

Jerzy Kosinski’s fascinating book Being There was made into an Academy Award-winning movie of the same name, featuring Peter Sellers as the lead character, Chauncey Gardiner. Chauncey had a particular area of expertise (gardening) but one day was somewhat inadvertently sent out into the complex world to cope. 

I can relate to Chauncey Gardiner. My own background has been in mine contracting and mine development, certainly a specialized area of mining, but when I took on the role of CIM President (a one-year term, which in reality is three years plus), I was given access to the full breadth of our mineral and mining industry. It has been a whole new phase of learning in my life. It has been a great opportunity to expand my own range of knowledge, and I got to practise a little bit of French along the way, as well. 

I used the title “Being There” for another reason. My own learnings, and my small contribution this year, have been derived from being there – from visiting branches and conferences and events, interacting with societies, actively listening and trying to best understand the challenges and success that each and every CIM constituent faces. Being there has been inspiring for me, as has meeting great people who have a bias for action and know-how to get the right things done. 

I have learned a lot this year and here is what I know.

I know that CIM is a community of incredibly smart, passionate and innovative people who want the best for Canada and the world and who know one way to do that is through our mining and mineral industry. They work hard for what they believe in and truly make a difference in our industry and in our society.

I know that Canada is fantastic. I guess I already knew that, but the opportunity to visit so many communities, and so many great people, across the country has been the highlight of my term. Because even though Canada is an incredibly diverse country from a geographic perspective, what makes Canada special is not its amazing vistas but its amazing people. 

I know and understand that the mining industry is playing and will play a pivotal role in the future of the world. Maybe it sounds like a brash statement, but the metals and minerals that we produce will be a key part of the solution to climate change, world hunger and many of the other challenges that face us on a global scale. Doesn’t it feel good to be part of the solution?

I know that Canada is a leader in the world when it comes to our industry. Contrary to popular belief, leadership isn’t derived from being the largest producer or having the biggest GDP or being the biggest company. Leadership is about setting examples and walking the walk for things that matter the most, like protecting our people, protecting our environment, practising diversity and inclusion. In these areas and more, Canada will lead our global industry to a place where it needs to be: one of social acceptance and a driver of a better quality of life for all. And we all know the world can always use a little more Canada. 

And I know CIM plays an important role in all this. By curating leading edge knowledge, establishing a robust network, and improving public awareness of our industry, we are enabling the Canadian mining industry to become what it needs to be, a global leader where it matters most. And in the process, making our kids and grandkids proud of us. How’s that for being there?