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Don Bubar remembered by his prospector colleagues

Accomplishments of the late president of Avalon Advanced Materials recognized at Northwestern Ontario Prospectors awards gala
(Avalon Advanced Materials Facebook photo)

Don Bubar received posthumous recognition from his exploration industry colleagues last week in Thunder Bay.

The late president-CEO of Avalon Advanced Materials was awarded the Dave Christianson Lifetime Achievement Award at the Northwestern Ontario Prospectors Association (NWOPA) awards gala held April 24 at the Thunder Bay’s Valhalla Inn. The prospectors have been staging this ceremony since 2001, recognizing lifetime achievements, mineral discoveries and mine developments.

Considered an exploration pioneer in the northwestern Ontario lithium space, Bubar founded Avalon in 1994, serving as its president-CEO until 2023. He died last July from neurodegenerative disesases.

His company’s 1997 acquisition of the Separation Rapids lithium project, north of Kenora, put Avalon on the map. It is now one of the leading lithium projects in Canada.

Beyond his work in the rare metals field, Bubar was regarded as an “early and tireless advocate for meaningful engagement with First Nations partners," according to a NWOPA news release. 

He was instrumental in establishing the Prospector and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Indigenous Affairs Committee in 2004, serving as its inaugural chair. It led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between PDAC and the Assembly of First Nations in 2008. Bubar received the PDAC Distinguished Service Award in 2019.

The Dan Calvert Distinguished Service Award went to Pam Coles, the chief geophysicist at Abitibi Geophysics.

Over her 15-year career, Coles is said to have played a pivotal role in the success and growth of the company’s Thunder Bay office since its establishment in 2013.

A graduate of Memorial University in Newfoundland, Coles is active in the community and in the academic world as a contract lecturer at Lakehead University. Coles is also the current chair of Mining Day, a Thunder Bay event aimed at educating young people and the public about careers in mining.

Her contributions are felt at the board level with the Ontario Prospective Association and the Northwestern Ontario Prospectors Association, and as chair of the regional chapter of Women in Mining.

The Bernie Schnieders Discovery of the Year Award went to a trio of companies in Last Resort Resources, Bounty Gold and Beyond Lithium for its emerging Victory Lithium Project in the Dryden-Ear Falls area.

The project, still very much at the grassroots stage, is comprised of two spodumene discoveries, situated 40 kilometres east of Kenora and 70 kilometres west of Dryden, near the village of Vermillion Bay and the Trans-Canada Highway.

Last fall, Beyond Lithium entered into an option agreement with Bounty and Last Resort Resources to acquire the two discoveries, dubbed Victory and Victory West, and consolidated into one 16,600-hectare property. The two spodumene-bearing pegmatites occur along a six-kilometre corridor.

The Last Resort Resources Pegmatite, discovered by Kyle Brand and Jace Angell, contains pegmatite and is up to 40 metres wide and along strike for 200 metres. Grab samples return up to 5.11 per cent lithium oxide.

Jason LeBlanc discovered the Bounty Gold Pegmatite that widens out to 50 metres and is exposed along strike for 300 metres. Grab samples return up to 3.48 per cent lithium oxide.