CAPE TOWN (miningweekly.com) – This year’s Investing in African Mining Indaba has just ended here and the organisers are already putting their thinking caps on to make next year’s twenty-fifth anniversary of the event a grand affair.
The names Cyril Ramaphosa, Elon Musk and the top who’s who of global and African mining are already mulling through minds as potential leading lights to mark 25 years of yearly mining dialogue.
This year saw Ivanhoe Mines founder Robert Friedland knock socks off with his rousing clean-air revolution speech and its likely major impact on demand for platinum and copper.
He followed major contributions by the ever-impressive Randgold Resources CEO Dr Mark Bristow, with his plea to the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to play fair and ensure benefits across the board for the magnificently endowed Central African country that remains the prettiest girl on the copper and cobalt block.
South Africa’s political winds of change blew strongly through the halls of the Cape Town Convention Centre, which resulted in investment heads once again looking intensely at potential investment in this country.
Ditto Zimbabwe, which reached out and presented mining investment opportunities that one could overhear being discussed along corridors here.
Widespread commitment to transparency augers well for the people of host countries, now armed with social media to expose errant government and corporate behaviour as it happens.
“The international appetite for Africa is back,” Investing in African Mining Indaba MD Alex Grose stated in an interview with Mining Weekly Online on Thursday.
Political change in Africa and what it means to investors was a strong theme of this year’s event, which Grose said attracted 23% more international investors this year than last year.
More than 400 international investors attended, with big fund managers engaging strongly with junior mining companies in general and those active in Zimbabwe and South Africa in particular, where the political winds of change are blowing hardest at a time of an improving commodities cycle.
“Better time in the cycle, better political landscapes translated into a lot of investor interest,” Grose commented.
It is also clear that the West Africa gold story is not slowing down.
“I still meet people who don’t realise that investors have been attending for free for several years now,” said Grose.
Attendees being prepared to sit and listen for longer was a notable feature this year.
The new Mining 2050 seminar programme, on what the African continent needs to do to be a world-class producer, proved popular in providing insight into how workforces can be given different jobs as automation enters the fray.
“It was a pleasant surprise to see how well that went down,” said Grose.
Also hosted free of charge were mining COOs and procurement directors on the basis of having a certain number of meetings with exhibiting suppliers, which took off exceptionally well.