Onsite at the PDAC 2012

Toronto’s largest annual mining convention came and went, bringing with it minerals and expertise from places as far off as Mongolia and Argentina. Thousands of exchange investors, CEOs, business executives, and mining industry specialists flooded the Metro Convention Centre in early March for the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) International Convention, Trade Show, and Investors Exchange. The PDAC conference took place from March 4 to March 7 and hosted a multitude of mining companies and investors  — big, medium, and small. According to a PDAC news release, the goal of the convention is not necessarily to increase the number of participants every year. Rather, the goal is to retain the quality of the show and create a space of networking and education with technical sessions and short courses.

The PDAC has represented the interests of the Canadian mineral exploration and development industry since 1932, hosting the PDAC convention annually. There are currently 7 684 individual members of the PDAC, which include prospectors, developers, geoscientists, and consultants and 1 081 corporate members, which includes senior, mid-size, and junior mining companies. Over the past five years, the PDAC has focused much of its resources on the association’s role in the international mining community and this is evident in what the PDAC convention has become today.  Since its inception as an Ontario-focused organization, the PDAC has grown to become an international affair with, according to a PDAC news release, “a successful advocacy program and a highly-developed corporate responsibility program.”

The convention has been hailed as one of the most diverse mining shows in the world, hosting companies and exhibitors that mine for gold, uranium, manganese, silver, copper, and the list goes on. Last year, over 27 700 people attended, representing 120 countries from almost every continent. This year, at the 80th PDAC convention, it is reported that 30 000 people attended.

Monday morning, the second day of the convention, was bustling with activity. In the Investor’s Exchange room and the Trade Show, companies set up booth to showcase their achievements, assets, and most importantly, why investors should consider investing in their company. According to the PDAC website, the Investors Exchange “attracts companies seeking opportunities for business development, joint ventures, property acquisitions and financing.” Exhibitors at the Investors Exchange included: exploration companies, mid-size producers, mining companies, and brokers and financial institutions with mining interests. Who are they speaking to? Banking executives, brokers and analysts, mining executives, fund managers, and government representatives, to name a few. At the booths and stalls, investor relations representatives busily chatted with passersby about what their company has to offer to the mining industry. From Abacus Mining & Exploration Corporation to Zincore Metals Inc., thousands of exhibitors and companies have travelled to Toronto for the week to garner support and excitement for their mining and development expeditions. In particular, junior companies have been working hard trying to attract hesitant investors.

Once you are finished perusing through the Investors Exchange, the PDAC also organizes a number of corporate presentations and presentations about mining-related activities from around the world. Monday and Tuesday’s corporate presentations included: Tintina Resources Inc. on copper, Magma Metals Limited on nickel and PGM, Eldorado Gold Corporation on gold, New Millennium Iron Corporation on ferro metals, coal and potash, and Silvercorp Metals Inc. on silver.

Investors also got a taste of the international mining scene with presentations about responsible mining in Ecuador, new opportunities in Nicaragua and Mauritania, and exploration highlights from Greenland. The Aboriginal program and presentations have also been key facets of the convention, exploring ways of building relationships with communities and respecting agreements and expectations.

You are also never too young to learn about geosciences and the mining industry: the PDAC convention hosted Mining Matters, a charity that educates students and teachers about the industry and the importance of mineral resources. Groups of school-aged children donning “Mining Matters” t-shirts got a chance to experience the show themselves, as they roamed the PDAC convention grounds alongside thousands of suited-up executives and investors. Back in the classroom, a room booked at the convention, students get hands-on experience with various minerals. All the proceeds from the fifth annual PDAC-Caracle Cup Hockey Tournament, held on March 3, went to the Mining Matters program. In particular, the tournament helped raise funds for an Aboriginal outreach program that assists in building awareness of employment opportunities in the mining industry. The program offers in-class workshops for students and educators, as well as community-based summer camps. The Mining Matters program is yet another way the PDAC has been engaging with youth and marginalized communities to build interest and employment in the ever-growing industry of mining exploration and development.

Every year, the PDAC convention becomes a meeting place for investor exchange exhibitors, CEOs, industry specialists, and executives to gather, network and share ideas. The four-day convention is not only about what is happening in the industry right now, but it’s a chance to discuss what is to come and what is in store. The title of one of Monday’s keynote sessions sums up the industry: “Dealing with uncertainty.” With presenters from The Scotiabank Group, the Metals Economic Group, and the International Council of Mining and Metals, “Dealing with uncertainty” offered a critical, yet confident look into the future of mining. Opening the convention on Monday morning, the session helped unravel the future by addressing emerging market demands and predicting future discoveries. The last technical session on the final day of the convention also provided a glimmer of hope with presentations on new discoveries and developments from across the globe. As PDAC membership continues to grow and the industry continues to boom, it is almost certain next year’s convention will be an even bigger success. We look forward to more developments and even more exciting and timely mining projects. See you all in 2013!