Locals had a great time exploring Quesnel’s mining roots at the recent Gold Show in April. Ronan O’Doherty photo

Quesnel set to host mining conference in 2020

Minerals North will bring between 200 and 400 mining sector professionals to the city

Quesnel has won its bid to host Minerals North 2020, an annual conference and trade show for northern British Columbia’s mining sector.

The 32nd annual conference will bring approximately 300 delegates and trade show participants to Quesnel in April 2020.

The bid to host the event was made by city of Quesnel staff as part of its push to become a hosting community.

“We’re thrilled that our community will host this important annual conference, as mining is a critically important part of this region’s past, present, and future economy. This conference will also showcase Quesnel and our ability to host such events,” says City of Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson.

Simpson says the conference will benefit Quesnel’s hotels, restaurants and retailers, and hopes it will have a bigger impact in the long term.

“If we host an event well and we use it to whet the appetites of all those people coming in for it, we can grab them as repeat visitors, as people who can come back and spend their money in our community on longer trips. If you do that well, you may be recruiting your future residents and future investors. It’s all part of that broader strategy of repositioning Quesnel as a place that people are deliberately choosing to come to to visit, live or invest,” he explains.

The conference will bring together professionals in the mining industry to network, learn about current activity in mining in northern B.C., and to foster dialogue on responsible resource development.

“This is a part of British Columbia in which mining has figured significantly in the region’s development and currently a place of operating mines and several high profile mineral exploration projects,” says Minerals North Conference Association (MNCA) president Andrew Webber.

“This is an ideal backdrop to discuss mining’s place in community development. Quesnel also offers excellent facilities for holding an event of this type and scale.”

Webber says the most recent conference in Houston had about 300 delegates and around 150 additional vendors and attendees for the trade show.

“The attendance varies, but I would expect a community the size of Quesnel, with the proximity to Prince George – around 300 delegates should be achievable.”

He says the conference attracts local government officials and First Nation leaders from Northern B.C., in addition to the mining sector.

“And a lot of people come up from Vancouver and other places that are involved in exploration or services,” he explains.

A press release sent out by MNCA notes that local suppliers and non-profit groups will be engaged to provide services for the conference. It also says organizers usually runs education programs in local schools and colleges in conjunction with the conference, to make it a community-wide event.

“You can use the opportunity to open [the event] to the public to let people know about Quesnel’s role in mining. The most successful Minerals North events become community events,” says Webber.

The 2018 Minerals North conference was held in Houston last month. The 2019 conference will take place in Chetwynd.

In order to be considered to host, the city submitted a four-page proposal to the MNCA outlining delegate accommodations and proposed venues, and including things like letters of support from local organizations and ideas to make the conference special.

Simpson says the conference will be hosted at West Fraser Centre, Arena 2 and the Quesnel Curling Club. Recent funding garnered from the Northern Development Initiative Trust’s Strategic Initiative Fund to upgrade and link the three facilities allowed the city to bid for Minerals North. The NDIT funds will go towards technologically linking the three buildings with a closed-circuit television system and better WiFi, and adding power outlets in the plaza area, so outdoor events can also take place more easily.

“At the end of that project, which should be wrapped up by the end of August, we will have a three-facility hosting venue, and we’ll have to use all three for Minerals North.

“We think what we’ve got in that investment will give us a very high class hosting venue.”

READ MORE: Quesnel to upgrade curling rink, outdoor plaza area

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