Lesson: Keep positive people close, leave the negative people behind.
So, I ended up in a lawsuit from an incident in 2020. While I feel vindicated the Supreme Court of British Columbia (BC) ruled in my favour in my defamation case (see page 11 for the title of this piece by clicking the button below), it is frustrating that 3 years after the VRIC incident, the person named in the case is now taking this to the BC Appeals Court.
So how did I end up here? My career has taken me from my first job in the Yukon, working for the Yukon Government, to working with First Nation governments, the mining industry and eventually taking on the role of a Vice President of a public company and managing First Nation Relations. All this led to becoming and eventually serving for 7 years as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Golden Predator Mining Corp., a job I no longer hold due to some life changes following the incident in 2020 (more on that later). I have managed, during my career, to establish the Yukon Mint® which produced our own 100% green gold featuring First Nation art. I also led a team that implemented the nationally recognized Elders-in-Residence program, plus creative and innovative solutions in the mining industry, including replacing the smelter process and cyanide on a test gold project.
And while I have moved on from the Yukon since the legal action, I like others, have wonderful tales with many successes and failures in the mining and extraction industry. It’s important not to judge the industry by one person’s bad behavior, or past projects that would never be permitted to operate in 2023. The mining sector drives our quality of life through the production of vital metals, it provides the opportunity for the creation of wealth, it maintains national security, creates jobs, infrastructure and most important, to me, it allows rural communities to prosper and families to live and work together. Done right, it is the best industry in the western world.
Now getting back to my previous blog post where this whole adventure started: living and working in Faro and Ross River, Yukon…eventually the Faro mine did close and most people moved on. My son was born in Faro the day the mine closed, and I remember it all so very well. Many people moved on to other projects around the world, and some (including me) stayed in the Yukon. The environmental legacy of the Faro mine is still a concern today and a situation that many parties created and failed to manage over decades. Thankfully the Ross River Dena Council is now actively involved in reclamation efforts and setting a new path forward. The other point to make is the way mines operated 30 or 50 years ago is nothing compared to today’s environmental and safety practices.
But that shouldn’t cloud the point I want to make here—that is, responsible mining, which is what we do in this modern western world – is a significant and positive force in the social and economic well-being of the North, rural communities, indigenous communities, and the country as a whole. The industry is heavily regulated, operated professionally and besides what you may think from my legal action, filled with many progressive men and woman who want a better industry inclusive to all. There are amazing opportunities for women, young adults, and many people we need in order to make mining a vibrant industry. We need to welcome them, give them opportunities, and offer different perspectives. Not everything is sunshine and rainbows as you can see from my experience in 2020. We need to encourage talent of all sorts to the sector and, I for one, have met many incredible people who have offered me nothing but support, encouragement, and amazing opportunities (combined with a lot of hard work). We collectively need to offer more respect to people in the exploration and mining sector and these vital industries which sustain all of us. We have come a long way baby.