More than 30,000 mineral exploration industry leaders, companies, executives, government representatives, students, scientists, and those involved or interested in mineral exploration and development are coming together this week for the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada’s (PDAC) 2024 Convention, the world’s premier mineral exploration and mining showcase, on March 3 to 6 in Toronto.

The focus of the global event is on surveying, project planning, materials extraction and processing, transport and post-closure, with not as much focus on environmental protection and climate action as some would assume for 2024. Or at least a lack of clear communication regarding such initiatives.

However, there are signs of progress. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting is on the rise thanks to initiatives such as the International Sustainability Standards, as well as the Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures and the Taskforce on Nature-Related Financial Disclosures released in 2023.

More than 30,000 people come together across both the North and South Buildings of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, as well as special events held at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.

Other positive developments were announced by Marc Serré, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and Member of Parliament for Nickel Belt, who participated in the opening ceremonies. Serré shared details on efforts to position Canada as the global supplier of choice for minerals, especially critical minerals, and the clean energy and technologies that they enable. Serré also elaborated on Canada’s leading ESG expertise, which is increasing the competitiveness of Canadian products and materials while helping to lower emissions and protect biodiversity at home and internationally.

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“Canada is a mining nation and, as such, is a world leader in the sustainable and responsible management of our mineral resources. As the demand for critical minerals and the clean energy and technologies they enable increases, our high ESG standards and the expertise of our workforce will be critical advantages in the low-carbon economy of the future,” said Serré. “And by partnering with our international allies to advocate for responsible mining practices around the world, we are ensuring that the materials we need to lower emissions and ensure a prosperous economy are sourced in a manner that protects our planet.”

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Marc Serré, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and Member of Parliament for Nickel Belt, participates in the opening ceremonies for PDAC 2024. Credit: PDAC.

As part of Canada’s commitment to international collaboration, Serré announced a $1.95-million investment under the Global Partnerships Initiative (GPI) to contribute to the existing Climate Smart Mining Initiative (CSM), which will advance the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The CSM aims to decarbonize and reduce the material footprint of minerals needed for the clean energy transition, particularly in resource-rich developing countries.

This initiative aligns with the objectives of the Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy and will allow Canada to influence and introduce new areas of programming that align with Canadian decarbonization goals. In particular, it will build on Canada’s strengths in critical minerals sector innovation, clean technology adoption and clean metals.

Canada holds a global leadership role in the responsible and sustainable production of critical minerals to feed supply chains, driving global ESG standards and working effectively with allies through bilateral and multilateral engagements. Canada’s Critical Minerals Strategy outlines the need for Canada to leverage international partnerships to advance global sustainable mining practices.

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This funding comes from the $70 million allocated for the Global Partnerships Initiative (GPI) announced in December 2022 to advance Canada’s global leadership on critical minerals under Canada’s Critical Minerals Strategy.

Through multilateral engagements, Canada is pursuing collective action on critical minerals to support the global transition to clean energy and more-resilient supply chains. Notable multilateral organizations and initiatives include the G7/G20, the International Energy Agency (IEA), Sustainable Critical Minerals Alliance, the World Bank, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF) and the Energy Resource Governance Initiative (ERGI).

Vanessa Watson, Business Development Manager of Environment Journal, with Allie Shapiro, Manager of Corporate Communications with Gigametals Corporation, which has partnered with Mitsubishi Corporation to advance the multi-billion-dollar Turnagain nickel/cobalt project in northern British Columbia. The Turnagain project is expected to have a multi-decade lifespan and will be designed to leave a positive legacy for future generations, with sustainable features including carbon sequestration, tailings management and responsible development in collaboration with local communities. The Pre-Feasibility Study was released in October 2023.

PDAC 2024 Convention highlights and attractions include:

  • Trade Show, Investors Exchange, Core Shack, Prospectors Tent – including more than 1,000 exhibitors.
  • The Keynote Program: Commodity outlook, Mining industry outlook, Technology and Innovation, and the Discovery of the year.
  • Programs: Indigenous, Capital Markets, Sustainability, Technical, Exploration Insights, Investment Leaders Forum, Short Courses.
  • Networking events including: The Network, Awards Gala & Nite Cap, Student-Industry Mixer, Pub Night Finale.
  • Student & Early Career Program.

car reveal from CES

Special attractions on the exhibit floor include Project Arrow. The Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association (APMA) of Canada launched the first, original, full-build, zero-emission concept vehicle named Project Arrow in 2023. An all-Canadian effort, it was designed, engineered, and built through the joint efforts of our world-class automotive supply sector and post-secondary institutions. Answering Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s call for a Zero-Emissions future by 2050, Project Arrow brings together the best of the best of Canada’s electric-drive, alternative-fuel, connected and autonomous and light-weight technology companies. Credit: APMA.

A positive development for PDAC 2024 is the Clean Energy Initiative, sponsored by Teck. This year, all greenhouse gas emissions produced by the convention will be offset through the purchase of renewable energy. For every kWh of electricity use, a kWh of pollution-free renewable energy will be injected back into the grid.

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Vanesa Tunney and Andrii Syromolot of River Birch Global Water Inc. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, the company aims to be a global leader in water technology and services, with plans to grow both organically and through strategic acquisitions, leveraging synergies across its various business lines and distribution channel partners. River Birch focuses on desalination, purification, filtration, water treatment, wastewater treatment, storage, circulation, and nutrient removal.

 

Visit www.pdac.ca/convention for more information.

Featured image credit: Turnagain nickel project in British Columbia/GigaMetals.

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