Have you ever imagined attending a fancy awards event and walking the red carpet with your idols? I have, believe it or not. In fact, my first Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention was a life-changing experience. This convention is a world-changing one too.
As the unofficial spokesperson for Nouveau Monde Graphite (NMG), I like to think of myself as the OG of ore. But as the leading voice of the mineral exploration and development community, and with about 7500 members around the world, PDAC is the real OG of the mineral sector.
You can imagine my excitement at seeing 30,000 people from our industry from 130 countries come together to talk shop. Get all my highlights below.
Toward a new era of graphite supply… and handshakes?
The coronavirus crisis has led to comical fist and elbow bumps, bowing, and simple smiles in lieu of handshake greetings. But while slathering myself with Purell, I realized that, in addition to the chance of coming down with the disease, we are also vulnerable when it comes to our supply chain of strategic minerals, particularly graphite.
Since all purified spherical graphite comes from China, I think it’s high time we diversified our supply sources.
I think you can see where I’m going with this, as my one and only graphite extracted from the Matawinie deposit, just two hours from Montreal, represents a big advantage for buyers in the North American and European markets.
Women get their due
On the eve of International Women’s Day, women were well represented at the convention. A little birdie told me that every year, more and more women are joining the mining community at all levels, from operator jobs to administration, engineering and leadership positions.
Women who have established their place in this male-dominated industry stood out during the panel discussions with their expertise and innovative ideas. Although NMG is ahead of the industry curve with a staff made up of 23% women, I think we need to keep up our training and employment efforts to diversify our team even more to better reflect our amazing region.
ESG: A hot topic
What else was everyone talking about at the convention, besides my best bud graphite? Environmental, social and governance, or ESG criteria. You should have seen me going from booth to booth touting the practices of Nouveau Monde Graphite and telling the story of how we will be the first all-electric and carbon-neutral open pit mine that fits within a circular economy model. I also told everyone how we will ethically and sustainably produce ore in compliance with the highest environmental standards while placing great importance on working conditions and corporate responsibility for employee health and safety. I also talked about how we respect the land and community well-being and how we took our time to meticulously develop the project to minimize its environmental impact. (Whoa, I had a lot to say!)
No matter how you slice it, this approach is the best way to maximize significant and lasting benefits and enhance business practices.
And you know what? These criteria are also important for our partners, suppliers, investors, customers and employees! It goes without saying that when everyone puts their mind to it, we can do great things.
Oh, Canada! Our home and native land… of strategic minerals!
In a crowd of people from all over the world, Canada had a strong showing. Federal representatives extolled the expertise of our local talents and confirmed their support for companies that not only work to develop and exploit strategic minerals but also do so in a way that reduces our society’s carbon footprint.
Canada stood out as a land of innovation that has safe work practices and high environmental protection standards. Our country is not afraid to confirm its commitment to reducing greenhouse gases and is doing a remarkable job of aligning its environmental and economic policies. I may be a VIP in the world of graphite, but Canada stands out as a leader in the global market… And this is just the beginning!
Until next time!
Rick, Graphite Freak
VIP at Nouveau Monde Graphite
PS: Looking for some reading to get you charged up? At only 6000 pages long, Nouveau Monde Graphite’s environmental impact study on our Matawinie mining project is a page-turning tome that sheds light on the mine’s development, environmental mitigation measures, tailings management practices, and the company’s commitments.