The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) 2015 Convention started with a flurry of announcements that support Canada’s mineral exploration and mining industry. Federal Minister of Finance Joe Oliver announced Sunday evening the government’s intention to renew the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit (METC), a financial instrument that helps Canadian junior mining companies raise capital for projects in Canada. Oliver also announced a proposed change to the government’s treatment of the Canadian Exploration Expense (CEE) program to include certain environmental and Aboriginal consultation expenses incurred prior to obtaining a license or permit as a CEE.

“The METC is a financial catalyst for investment in Canadian companies and helps them to remain competitive in the international marketplace,” said PDAC President Rod Thomas. “We welcome the government’s decision to renew this vitally important program. The government of Canada is an important partner in creating conditions that allow Canada’s mineral industry to flourish and we look forward to continuing to work together to improve policies and programs that support the industry, including the METC.”

Earlier in the day, Greg Rickford, federal minister of natural resources and minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, stood together with Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle to announce a joint study of an all-weather transportation corridor in the region.

“We know there is tremendous mineral potential in Northern Ontario and this is a very positive step that can help advance community access, mineral exploration and development in the Ring of Fire region,” said PDAC Executive Director Andrew Cheatle. In addition, Ed Fast, minister of International Trade, announced the appointment of Jeffrey Davidson as Canada’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) counsellor for the extractive sector.

“We are very supportive of the government’s selection of Mr. Davidson,” said Thomas. “Having worked in industry, nonprofit and academic settings, Jeffrey Davidson is well-known as a capable and highly regarded individual. We look forward to working with him and the Office of the CSR Counsellor in its new, refocused role.”

More than 23,500 from 100 countries converged on Toronto for the PDAC conference. “We consider this a very successful year, attendee feedback has been extremely positive and the number of attendees is similar to last year,” said Thomas. “The quality of networking and learning opportunities continues to be a prime attractor for attendees.”

Now in its 83rd year, the PDAC Convention is more diverse than ever before. A number of events, including the CSR Event Series, Aboriginal Program and Investors Exchange, garnered overwhelming support from the general public, reflecting the dynamic nature of the industry.