I recently made a presentation at the Union of Ontario Indians Lands, Resources and Economic Development Forum in North Bay. As I travel from coast to coast, it is always a welcome respite to get an invite to my home town to speak, so I happily accepted. I am usually preaching to the choir when it comes to the benefits and virtues of Canadian mining. Let me start out by saying there weren’t too many choir members in attendance at this session.

The group was attentive and engaged. I should first say that they were in general supportive of mining and recognized that properly carried out, mining operations provide lots of opportunities and benefits for everyone. But they had lots of questions, and comments, all very relevant. Here is a sampling:

“Robots and autonomous equipment are great at saving money, but how will automation impact our future jobs?”

“Don’t use the term stakeholders. We are land owners.”

“The Union of Ontario Indians unanimously voted to ban any use of nuclear power on their lands.” (Note to self: research your audience. Wish I had known that before I mentioned it as an alternative power source!)

“What is the government doing about revenue sharing models?”

“How do mining companies decide which groups will participate in their IBAs?”

After the session I had one-on-one discussions with a number of audience members. They are very engaged, passionate and interested in what the future of mining will be. Not coincidentally that description also applies to CIM members.

The organizer sent me a note of appreciation after my presentation, part of his note is as follows: “I thought that you handled yourself well during the presentation and the Q and A, as you always do. The conversation took a bit of an unexpected turn. Scott (the moderator) joked later that he learned that it is never a good idea to bring up small modular reactors before lunch.”

In hindsight, which is a great learning tool, I realize I should have been there to listen, not to speak. One of Dr. Covey’s seven habits is, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Now to do that would have been wisdom in action. At my next visit, if I’m invited back, I will definitely be there to listen.