Featured Member of the Month: Donald McInnes

Partner of Oxygen Capital Corp., Donald McInnes continues to create positive change and opportunity for the people of Canada through his extensive background in mining and renewable energy ventures worldwide. Lucky for us, Mr. McInnes so happens to be an active member of Terminal City Club, one who played a vital role in building TCC’s squash program to what it is today.

Can you please tell us a bit about Oxygen Capital Corp.?
[DM] Oxygen Capital Corp. is a management platform for a number of mining exploration companies. We are a fully integrated mining house, with skill-sets in resource discovery and development, mine operations and production, capital markets, and business development.

What would you describe as your biggest professional success?
[DM] The successful projects I have undertaken are a result of the strong relationships I’ve built with the people of the local communities that we have been lucky enough to build in. My goal with every new venture is to bring wealth and transformative opportunity to the local community. I often say, “Governments give permits, people give permission.” The best example of this was prior to the creation of Oxygen Capital through the creation of Plutonic Power Corporation. Since 2007, we have invested over a $1.2 billion dollars in building clean energy assets in British Columbia. In my opinion, it is key to making your project a project of the people. In the case of Plutonic we ended up with nine First Nations partners and we concluded 15 agreements with them. The highlight of the relationships we built is captured in a quote from former Chief Ken Brown of Klahoose Nation. He said “We have spent the last 20 years managing poverty, now because of this power project we can spend the next 20 years managing opportunity.” The relationship was about building sustainable communities so I viewed our clean energy projects as a means to an end. As they say, “give a man rice and he’ll eat for a day, give a man a shovel and seeds and he’ll feed himself for a lifetime.”

What are some of the challenges facing mining companies in BC today?
[DM] One of the biggest challenges facing all natural resource development is the increasing disconnect between the real need for the products that come from natural resource development and the ability of natural resource companies to operate. Let me give you two examples. We all want clean energy, not fossil fuel generated power. A typical wind turbine will be made from over 16,000 lbs of copper and 126 tonnes of stainless. Secondly, all communication devices contain the products of mining, take a typical smart phone. They will contain gold, copper, silver platinum, palladium, arsenic etc… Today on average it takes over 12 years from discovery to production for a typical mine in Canada. Not only are natural resources required for our everyday lives the process of natural resource extraction creates wealth for governments to pay for our extensive health and education system. Every coal train that reaches Roberts Bank gives governments enough revenue to pay for 8 teachers’ salaries for a year. In Alberta, the public welcomes natural resource development and accepts that all extraction industries have impacts so they find solutions to mitigate those impacts. In BC, we often assume impacts cannot be mitigated and ignore the potential value such projects could bring to our economy and citizens.

Can you share with us some of the volunteer work you do?
[DM] I am the past Chair of the Board of Prostate Cancer Canada. Prostate Cancer is one of the most neglected diseases and yet the most prevalent disease among Canadians today. It is my goal to increase awareness of the disease and raise funds to expand research into the prevention and detection of it. Previously, I have volunteered for various industry associations including Clean Energy BC and The Association for Mineral Exploration of British Columbia. I’ve also coached my son’s soccer teams for many years.

How do you spend your time outside of work?
[DM] With my Saint for a wife, Amy, and our three children, aged 10, 12 & 14.

What is something few know about you?
[DM] I started TCC’s squash program with the support of Sergio and a few other members. We brought a group of members together and entered our first Club team into Vancouver Squash League in 1998 when the new building was built. Also, we lived in the building when it was first built and our first child was and maybe still is, the only baby to be born in the TCC Tower. Fourteen years ago this year!

Why did you become a member of Terminal City Club and what have you enjoyed most about the Club over the last sixteen years?
[DM] I originally became a member when I first purchased a condo in the TCC Tower as membership was included. Since then, the Club has become a big part of my weekly routine. You can find me twice a week in the Fitness Centre with my fabulous personal trainer who I like to call “Doctor Evil”. In all seriousness, it is the people who make this Club a place where you want to be. The familiarity and relationships you build with the staff and other members is invaluable. This is a great chance for me to make a shout out to a few of our staff members who have been here since I first became a member – Nick, Sheila, Charlene, Wayne, Sergio, Len & Sultan, Thank you for everything you do!

Name one thing other members may not know about the Club that you enjoy?
[DM] The shoe shine station in the coat room!

What would you say to someone considering joining TCC?
[DM] Write the cheque! There is tremendous value in being a TCC member to help you meet, both, your business, fitness and social goals.