VANCOUVER-- The Association for Mineral Exploration in British Columbia (AME BC) has announced the winners of its 2009 awards, which are presented annually to individuals or teams who have made significant contributions towards mineral exploration in the province. The awards will be presented at the Mineral Exploration Roundup Dinner Gala on Jan. 10 at the Westin Bayshore Hotel, in Vancouver.
The H. H. "Spud" Huestis Award, recognizing excellence in prospecting and exploration, goes to Shawn Ryan. Ryan is a self-taught Yukon prospector who combines thorough geological research, modern exploration methods, and old-fashioned boot-and-hammer prospecting to generate exploration targets, and his efforts have proven highly successful. His most recent discovery is the White Gold property, near Dawson City, where Underworld Resources (UW-V) is now outlining two significant zones of gold mineralization based on Ryan's findings. Underworld's successes, combined with Kaminak Gold's (KAM-V)results at the Coffee property, another nearby Ryan discovery, have prompted a staking rush in what is now being called the White Gold district.
Stephen Quin and Bruce McLeod have been named recipients of the E. A. Scholz Award for excellence in mine development. The two men led Sherwood Copper as it explored, permitted, financed, built, and commissioned the Minto copper- gold-silver mine in the Yukon. The mine started up in October 2007, ahead of schedule and on budget. A key factor in the process was the establishment of a progressive and co-operative relationship with First Nations and local communities, which has led to significant socioeconomic benefits for the region. In late 2008, Sherwood merged with Capstone Mining, (CS-T) putting the Minto mine in the hands of a successful mid-tier producer.
The Murray Pezim Award for perseverance and success in financing mineral exploration goes to Channing Buckland. A geological engineer, Buckland combined his technical background with a natural financial savvy to arrange hundreds of financings for exploration projects over the last 45 years. His ability to recognize opportunities in early-stage exploration mean Buckland has arranged several hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for junior companies; his list of successes includes funding development of the Faro mine in the Yukon, the Hemlo gold projects in Ontario, and the Ekati diamond mine in the Northwest Territories.
Barbara Scott Smith is being recognized for her work in kimberlite science with the Hugo Dummett Diamond Award, which awards excellence in diamond exploration, technological advances, and mine development. Smith has worked in some 25 countries as a consultant and educator and her work as a researcher has advanced the science of kimberlites and lamproites significantly. She developed the only school of petrology in the world and has published more than 35 peer-reviewed papers. Dr. Smith's contributions to a plethora of Canadian diamond projects, however, are largely hidden by issues of confidentiality and commercial sensitivity, which makes her a representative of the unsung heroes of the Canadian diamond industry.
The Colin Spence Award recognizes global exploration excellence and this year it is being awarded to Mark Rebagliati. Aided by various exploration teams at Hunter Dickinson, Rebagliati has shown a remarkable ability to examine and assess the potential of a deposit or prospect, consider the risk factors, and make sound decisions on exploration strategy. His work has uncovered several significant new deposits and revealed major extensions to existing ones. Rebagliati delineated the world-class Pebble copper-gold-molybdenum porphyry deposit in Alaska, the large Xietongmen copper-gold deposit and nearby Newtongmen porphyry in Tibet, and several massive sulphide deposits in Mexico's Campo Morado district.
Judi L'Orsa's commitment to environmental stewardship and social benefit has earned her the Robert R. Hedley Award for excellence in social and environmental responsibility. L'Orsa has been instrumental in the success of the Northwest Community College's School of Exploration and Mining, where the focus is on training local aboriginal people for employment in exploration and mining in northwestern B. C., and her networking efforts at Minerals North have been instrumental in advancing a support program to increase the number of aboriginal people with driver's licences, a major barrier to employment in the mineral sector. In addition, L'Orsa is developing a pilot project aimed at moving exploration camps away from dependence on fossil fuels by relying instead on an innovative pellet burning system.
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