Ten years ago, mining companies in the Yukon formed the Yukon Mining Alliance to promote the mining and exploration industry in the Yukon. Saying the YMA has been successful is a vast understatement. Just how successful was underscored at this year’s Cambridge Vancouver Resource Investment Conference.
As Anne Turner explained to me, Walmart knows that when customers walk into a venue they turn right. So, when you went in the entrance to VRIC and turned right, past Zimtu (a draw in itself) the Yukon Trail began. Invest Yukon had its own presentation space where events were happening hourly and where – and this was clever – there was a free espresso stand. Come to hear a speaker, stay to have a latte or vice versa.
Surrounding the entrance to the presentation space were companies as big as Victoria Gold – ready to pour gold in September 2019 and as small as Trifecta Gold. At the moment, the YMA has 17 member companies. Everyone knows each other and, while there are certainly rivalries, all of the members want to see the Yukon become a world-class mining destination.
Along with consistent member support, a key pillar of the YMA’s success is the ongoing Yukon Government commitment to mining in the Yukon. How big a commitment? Well, Deputy Premier and Minister of Mines, Ranj Pillai was in attendance on the Yukon Trail for, as far as I could tell, the entire day Sunday. Frankly, this is pretty much unheard of. Ministers, if they go to trade shows at all, do meet and greets and make remarks. Pillai certainly gave an excellent speech at the end of the day on Sunday, but he’d spent the full day meeting the Yukon mining CEO’s, talking to investors and explaining why the Yukon was a great mining jurisdiction.
Part of the Yukon Mining Association’s advantage is that it concentrates its members’ marketing dollars on events like Cambridge. And it is able to leverage Yukon Government marketing dollars as well. Which, in turn, gives the YMA the clout to get prime real estate and an excellent speaking venue. In essence, the YMA and its member companies, as well as Invest Yukon – the Yukon’s Economic Development arm – have become the “anchor tenant” for conferences like Cambridge.
I spent some time walking down many other aisles at the well-attended conference. There were some great booths and some great stories but all the other exhibitors were on their own. They did not have a clever, engaged organization running a dynamic “conference within a conference” at Cambridge. The Yukon did and the Yukon Trail was the place to be.