Ladies and gentlemen, Thank you very much.
As many of you are aware, since I joined the PDAC Board in 2004, I have been actively advocating for greater participation by aboriginal peoples in our industry and greater co-operation between companies and communities. Thor Lake has provided an opportunity to practice what I have been preaching and for Avalon to actively implement some of the community engagement principles of E3 Plus that PDAC has been encouraging all of its members to adopt.
In this regard, I have been very fortunate to have Bill Mercer, another vocal advocate for better CSR practice in our industry, as a committed and inspirational partner.
Perhaps the two most successful and innovative initiatives were the driller helper training program which is a largely a tribute to Bill’s prodigious energy and enthusiasm and the Naming Ceremony an ambitious undertaking organized by our equally energetic community advisor in Yellowknife, David Connelly.
It takes dedication and persistence to be successful in community engagement and with these two individuals, now joined by David Swisher, we are blessed with a surplus of it on our Avalon team.
But it also takes visionary community leadership to build successful partnerships and we have been fortunate to have been able to work with a number of strong community leaders in the Dene nation, several of whom join us here tonight.
I would like to take this opportunity to recognize:
Chief Ted Tsetta Yellowknives Dene First Nation
Chief Steven Nitah, Lutselk’e Dene First Nation
Chief Louis Balsillie, Deninu Kue First Nation
Chief Roy Fabien, Katlodechee First Nation
And finally, I want to acknowledge a number of our other Nechalacho team members who share in our vision and have been key to implementing it on the ground, including our project Geologists Chris Pedersen, David Trueman and Martin Heiligmann, site manager Randy O’Keefe and, last but not least, PDAC’s own 2nd VP, Chief Glenn Nolan who first inspired Bill with the idea of the training program.
We hope others will be inspired by our success to embrace E3 plus as well as good CSR practice is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do from a business standpoint.