I have been an avid reader of your newspaper for approximately 14 years and it is my opinion that The Northern Miner is an open, unbiased chronicler of the junior exploration and mining scene. Whether the news is positive or negative, it is reported. Your publication has helped bring Canadian explorers and developers to the forefront of the world mineral exploration scene.
As a professional miner, however, I have one major concern. Let’s review some of The Northern Miner’s recent choices for Mining Man of the Year.
* David Walsh of Bre-X Minerals, to my knowledge and according to my search of public record, never mined a ton. Bre-X Minerals was recently delisted.
* Robert Friedland went looking for diamonds where none had been found. He got lucky when two smart geologists stopped a helicopter (when they weren’t supposed to) at Voisey’s Bay, Labrador. What Friedland mined was at the Summitville gold mine in Colorado, which is now a US$150-Million Superfund site. Galactic Resources was delisted.
* Peggy Witte, as president of Royal Oak Mines, was involved in the most violent labor dispute in modern Canadian history at the Giant gold mine in the Northwest Territories. Nine good men were killed there. The ounces Royal Oak budgeted for were seldom achieved.
* Clifford Frame was with Curraugh Resources when 26 men, some of whom I knew, were killed at the Westray coal mine in Nova Scotia. In addition, the Yukon and federal governments were left on the hook for ongoing mitigation requirements for acid rock drainage at Curraugh’s Faro lead-zinc operation in the Yukon. Curraugh Resources was delisted.
I have decided that one of two things must happen. You must either change the title of the award to Promoter of the Year (and leave the selection criteria the same) or change the criteria and present the award to the Real Miner of the Year.
I would like to nominate the underground supervisor of the Con mine in the Northwest Territories, who discovered one of his men in the chains of a mill hole on his second pre-shift inspection (one is the statutory requirement).
Although badly injured, the man was extracted by rescue personnel. I do not know who that supervisor is, but I would be proud to meet an individual of such character and sense of duty to his fellow man.
Should neither of the above occur, I will be forced by conscience or democratic integrity to cancel my subscription.
Greg MacMaster, Calgary, Alta.
(Editor’s note: The Northern Miner did not name Robert Friedland “Man of the Year” for the Voisey’s Bay discovery, nor at any other time. Instead, we gave the award that year to prospectors Albert Chislett and Chris Verbiski, who made the nickel discovery. And Peggy Witte did not kill those nine miners at Giant; another miner did. However, your point is well-Taken, and, in future, the criteria for the award will be more stringent by closer examination of the overall track record of the individual being considered.)