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Chamber changes

Tooling up for the future

Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (May 02/01) - The NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines is about to give itself an overhaul in hopes of becoming a more effective voice for the Northern mining industry.

After a two-day meeting last week at the Lupin mine, chamber general manager Mike Vaydik said the establishment of a series of committees is an attempt to capitalize on the expertise of chamber members.

"It's kind of crazy not to use them," Vaydik said.

Heading up the committees are senior managers with some of the biggest companies doing business in the North, or anywhere else for that matter.

John McConnell, vice-president of NWT projects for DeBeers, is overseeing industry promotion.

Diavik public affairs manager Tom Hoefer will chair a committee on education and training. Hugh Wilson, Miramar Mining Inc.'s manager of environment services, will be chairing an environment committee. Eira Thomas, president of junior mining company Navigator Exploration will take charge of regulatory planning, and a Nishi-Khon/SNC Lavalin executive will head up a committee dealing with infrastructure.

"There had been (a committee system) years ago ... but it started to fall apart when the junior sector sort of left the territory a couple of years ago," Vaydik said.

The committees will be used to refine a strategy to promote mining development in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. The chamber is in the process of establishing an office in Iqaluit.

The committee chairs bring expertise specific to their respective committees. For example, in addition to his day job at Diavik, Hoefer also sits on the board of Aurora College, which plays an integral part in delivering training programs in the North. As the president of a junior mining company, Thomas deals with regulatory planning on an almost daily basis.

The main challenge to the committees is getting everybody together.

"Some of those people, even though they're working up here, are still based in Toronto and Vancouver, because that's where the money, the stock exchanges, is," Vaydik said.