Mining suppliers adopt a green future
The Mining Suppliers Association of British Columbia’s primary goal is to bring the province’s suppliers and operators together.
The Mining Suppliers Association of British Columbia’s (MSABC) primary goal is to bring the province’s suppliers and mine operators together. “We were formed in 1986 to support a stronger mining industry and provide a vehicle for closer interaction between suppliers and mine operators,” said Rodger McLean, newly appointed chair of MSABC and senior manager of Britco Construction.
These interactions are invaluable in the mining industry. “From the suppliers’ perspective, it creates an opportunity to get facetime with the mining operators and developers,” said McLean. “It creates an opportunity for suppliers to get their products out there.”
Joint effort between MSABC and MABC
As an industry supplier who sits on the executive board of MSABC as well as the Mining Association of British Columbia (MABC), McLean and his counterparts help drive both associations forward from the perspective of the suppliers. In this capacity, he addresses where the mining industry sees benefits and areas lacking. “That is in the form of positive policies to promote investment in mining projects and positive policies that can promote sustainability with operating projects as well,” he said. These suppliers are involved in every aspect of a mine, from construction to operation and maintenance.
Some specific areas that both associations are working to improve include reduction of electricity premiums, tailings management and efforts to drive costs down. Essentially, the associations hope to create a level playing field throughout the province versus the rest of the world. “We compete on the global stage,” McLean said. “It’s imperative that our fee structures are competitive across the globe. Lots of other jurisdictions get subsidies—favourable electrical rates, for example.”
The MSABC also works closely with MABC to promote a positive awareness of the industry. McLean explains that MSABC and MABC have a co-agenda working towards the same benefits. “We are trying to drive advocacy for the mining industry with governments and the investment community to ensure the viability of mining overall,” he said.
Their efforts to promote a positive image are varied. “Our association supports mining advocacy initiatives; we host networking events and attempt to raise funds for various industry charities with the help of the Mining Association of British Columbia,” said McLean. One of the charities the associations regularly donate to is the BC Children’s Hospital through their Mining for Miracles campaign.
The “green” shift
Perhaps one of the most notable directions that MSABC and MABC are jointly taking is updating their mandate to prioritize environmental responsibility—a shift towards “green” practices. MSABC is working with its equipment suppliers to look at new technologies that minimize waste, carbon footprints and environmental impacts. “We are trying to create a good feeling about the mining industry as a whole, showing that we are not only contributors to the economy, but corporate citizens as well,” said McLean.
The new mandate of MSABC will embrace new technology and move forward with it. The mining industry has evolved substantially over the years, “but with the way that technology changes so rapidly, we want to make sure we aren’t left behind,” said McLean. “We are trying new things, embracing new technologies and moving to be greener.”
The adaptation of new sustainable and environmentally responsible technologies will consequently increase operating efficiency in many cases—a win-win for the mining industry.