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Northern leaders, projects among 2023 mining honourees

Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada has announced annual award winners
From left, Glenn Nolan, John A. McCluskey and Chris Taylor are among the 2023 honourees being recognized by the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada.

The Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) has named its 2023 award winners, and three Northern Ontario leaders are among them.

PDAC, considered the national voice of the mineral exploration and development industry, annually hands out awards to people who have demonstrated excellence in their contributions to the field.

Among the recipients are Glenn Nolan, an executive with Ring of Fire Metals; John A. McCluskey, president and CEO of Alamos Gold; and CEO Chris Taylor and the exploration team at Great Bear Resources.

Glenn Nolan will receive the Skookum Jim Award, an award he helped create as chair of PDAC's Indigenous Affairs Committee.

The accolade goes to a member of a recognized Indigenous group in Canada who has demonstrated exceptional achievement within an organization operating in the mining industry.

A member of the Missanabie Cree First Nation, Nolan has 40 years of experience in the industry, with a long history of volunteerism and fostering economic opportunities for First Nations on their traditional lands.

Nolan was elected a director of PDAC in 2005 and served as its first Indigenous president from 2012 to 2014.

Described as “an accomplished bridge builder between Indigenous communities and the mining industry in Ontario,” Nolan has helped foster stronger local Indigenous involvement and participation with Ring of Fire Metals.

He continues to advocate for more Indigenous participation and involvement in mining activities in Canada and around the world.

John A. McCluskey will receive the Viola R. MacMillan Award, which is given to an individual or organization demonstrating leadership in management and financing for the exploration and development of mineral resources.

He is being recognized for a willingness to take risks in the acquisition and development of the Island Gold mine, located east of Dubreuilville.

Despite shareholders' skepticism of the value of the asset, McCluskey and the senior management team at Alamos Gold remained confident in its potential, and its acquisition has paid off since Alamos bought it from Richmont Mines in 2017.

Island Gold's reserves and resources have almost tripled to 5.1 million ounces from 1.8 million ounces in 2017; the mine life has more than doubled to 18 years at higher production rates; and the exploration potential has expanded through the acquisition of a substantial land package surrounding the mine.

Five years after the transaction, Island Gold is valued at nearly three times its acquisition price and the operation continues to grow.

Chris Taylor and the exploration team at Great Bear Resources will receive the Bill Dennis Award, which goes to individuals who have made a significant Canadian mineral discovery, or made an important contribution to the prospecting and/or exploration industry. 

They're being recognized for the discovery of the Dixie gold deposit in the Red Lake gold camp in northwestern Ontario.

Industry consensus at the time was that the area had little remaining development potential. But Taylor and his team disagreed and decided to do more exploration, starting with the Dixie Limb zone.

They made their first major discovery, the Hinge Zone, in August 2018 and raised $10 million to do more work. Subsequent exploration led to more discoveries, which unveiled sheet-like gold mineralization through the area.

In February 2022, Kinross Gold purchased Great Bear Resources for $1.8 billion; the company plans to develop the project into a top-tier, long-life mine.

Rounding out the award winners are Kevin Frost and Morgan Frejabise, of Chalice Mining, who will receive the Thayer Lindsley Award, and The Lundin Foundation, which will receive the Sustainability Award.

Award recipients will be recognized during PDAC's annual convention, scheduled to be held March 5-8, 2023 in Toronto.

Full biographies of the award winners are available here.