|Page 7||Task Force Recommends Geoscience Registration|
The final report of the Mining Standards Task Force (MSTF), established by the Toronto Stock Exchange and the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) in the wake of the Bre-X Minerals Ltd. collapse, has made firm recommendations on self-regulation of geoscientists.
Among the 66 recommendations, which generally seek better standards in order to improve public and investor confidence in the mining industry, are specific calls for use of independent "Qualified Persons" to review and approve all explorations results that are to be published.
The report, released Feb. 2, states: "We recommend that the securities regulatory authorities recognize self-regulating professional associations of geoscience and/or engineers that meet the acceptable standards for the members to act as Qualified Persons."
It is further recommended that "geoscientists be included in the professions regulated by the provincial and territorial engineering associations or, alternatively, that enabling legislation be enacted providing for self-regulation by provincial associations of geoscientists. In this connection, the task force strongly supports the expeditious adoption of enabling legislation in Ontario to providing self-regulating professional status for the Association of Geoscientists of Ontario (AGO)."
(Last year, in a membership vote, Professional Engineers Ontario, rejected incorporating geoscientists into that association.)
Responding to the task force recommendations, Ontario Northern Development and Mines Minister Chris Hodgson said: "We will help the Association of Geoscientists of Ontario to further consult with the people affected by this initiative. Ontario is among the last provinces that do not provide registration for geoscience professionals. Its time we caught up with the rest of the country."
Meanwhile, AGO President Bill Pearson stated: "We are fully supportive of the task forces recommendations and are encouraged by the governments willingness to move forward to implement legislation within the two-year period outlined in the MSTF report."
The AGO has established an independent advisory committee to work with AGOs Board and Ontario Northern Development and Mines officials. The committee, composed of experienced mining, environmental, financial and legal professionals, will provide advice on preparing legislation, developing a business plan and ensuring that the resulting self-regulatory organization will enable geoscientists to fully meet the requirements of the "Qualified Persons" concept.
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