Blair Lancaster, VP of business development for Ferus Natural Gas Fuels, from left, Sean Kinmonth, CEO of Chieftan Energy, and Ron Daub, CEO of Vuntut Development Corp. speak at a panel during the 2018 geosciences forum in Whitehorse on Nov. 20. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

The Yukon Geoscience Forum wraps up for another year

Record attendance at geoscience forum

The Yukon Geoscience Forum keeps growing, said Samson Hartland, executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines.

Five years ago, it drew 350 delegates. In 2018, that number nearly doubled, bringing 700 delegates from across Canada.

“Everything from the keynote speakers to the public participation in the family day to the attendance at the trade show this year was a record year,” Hartland told the News on Nov. 20, the last day of the four-day forum.

“It’s just steadily growing.”

The forum included keynote speeches from Ken Coates, the Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation, Glenn Mullan, president of Prospectors and Developers of Canada, and media personality Rex Murphy.

Murphy’s inclusion in the event was petitioned by a number of Yukoners after he wrote a National Post column questioning the credibility of Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

Despite that, Hartland said Murphy’s Saturday afternoon address was well-attended.

“I have never seen the banquet room (at the High Country Inn) that packed in my life and I’ve gone to a lot of stuff, even when the prime minister is in town,” he said.

The rest of the week’s talks included updates from companies such as Golden Predator Corp. and Fireweed Zinc. Corp., a fireside chat about “engaging investors in an age of pot and crypto,” and an exploration update on the Rackla Gold Project.

There was also a talk from Core Geosciences Services, called “why Faro won’t happen again” and one on innovative partnerships funding Yukon mines.

That panel included Blair Lancaster, VP of business development for Ferus Natural Gas Fuels, Sean Kinmonth, CEO of Chieftan Energy, and Ron Daub, CEO of Vuntut Development Corp.

Daub explained that Chieftan was established when VDC realized that fuel had always been the largest expense for Air North (owned by VDC).

In order to mitigate that, said Kinmonth, Air North had to be in control of its fuel supply. It did that through Chieftan, which eventually established a partnership with Ferus — an Alberta-based provider of liquified natural gas.

Lancaster said Ferus was eager to partner with Chieftan because it had the expertise necessary to properly meet the needs of the North.

Hartland said he was also encouraged by the diversity at the forum this year, including participation from women in mining, Yukon prospectors mingling with executives from Vancouver and Toronto, and the Golden Predator Elders Council speaking about their role in working with Predator employees to bring an understanding of First Nations value and culture as it applies to mining.

Hartland said the Yukon Chamber of Mines annual general meeting took place on Nov. 20, and that strategic planning for the year ahead begins from there.

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com

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