The Newfoundland and Labrador Prospectors Association held its first annual general meeting (AGM) in Gander Sept. 29.
Having volunteered with the organizing committee for the new group and taken the lead through the association’s early days, Norm Mercer has been voted in as the first president.
Membership at the start of the AGM was 180, he said, before adding new members have come on board both during and since the event.
“There were two earth science students who came out, heard it on the radio, and they wanted to get involved in prospecting,” he said.
“We’ll be 200, I’d say, by the end of October.”
During the AGM, with about 50 prospectors in attendance, it was agreed a student membership would be made available by the association. It is aimed at students in both post-secondary institutions and high school who are interested in earth science and geology, and costs $10. A regular membership is $20.
The regular and student memberships allow the holder to participate in association activities and offer input on what should be tackled by the group, according to vice-president Wayde Guinchard.
“As I see the association, I mean, it’s something that we’ve needed for a long time. Basically, we’ll take the issues that are brought forward from the membership,” Guinchard said.
He said some of the key issues discussed in Gander were the province’s “genuine prospectors designation,” land use, permitting and government grants.
“Education and training is a big one. We’re trying to make sure we deliver what they want,” he added.
Working groups on each topic were broken out during the general meeting and initial feedback was sought.
“Now we have to digest and put together what we’ve learned from our groups,” Guinchard said.
Some of the ideas put forward could best be accomplished in partnership with other organizations, the leaders said, including the existing go-to for miners and mining companies active in the province — Mining Industry NL.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Prospectors Association’s secretary-treasurer, Kevin Ryan, said he sees a lot of communication back and forth between the two groups.
He expects Mining Industry NL and the prospectors’ association will “help each other in advancing the lot of the prospectors.”
At Mining Industry NL, executive director Gerry O’Connell says he wishes the new organization nothing but the best. O’Connell attended the group’s first AGM.
“They have themselves very well organized, in my opinion,” he said, congratulating Mercer and his team on their hard work to date. “I’m sure we’ll be getting together to work on things of mutual interest.”
Representatives with the new association will now work on getting the first projects laid out for members and a website up and running.
The leadership will also begin monthly meetings and making appearances at regional, provincial and national conferences, promoting prospector projects and opportunities in the province.
Mercer noted the association has been endorsed by the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada.
PROSPECTORS ASSOCIATION BOARD
The first AGM for the N.L. Prospectors Association included the election of the association’s first board. Elected representatives are:
President: Norm Mercer
Vice president: Wayde Guinchard
Secretary-Treasurer: Kevin Ryan
Labrador: Peter Rodgers
Western Newfoundland: Derrick White
Central Newfoundland: Cyril Reid
Eastern Newfoundland: Gordon Cooper
At Large: Sandy Duffitt, Donald Bruce