The goal of the 2018 Investing in African Mining Indaba – to support junior, midtier and major miners through invest- ment and finance while enhancing the platform to include more discussion on sustainability – has been met, says event organiser Mining Indaba director of content Harry Chapman.
He tells Mining Weekly that this was achieved through increased investor and mining company attendance and community group engagement: “We directly engaged with community groups who brought delegates to the conference, and we will further analyse feedback from delegates in the coming weeks.”
In addition to a 26% increase in mining company attendance, there was a 23% increase in international investor attendance this year, which Chapman says was boosted by the conference’s enhanced investor programme and the new Junior Mining Showcase, where 50 junior mining companies that have a market cap below $300-million could meet and engage with investors.
“Improvements in market sentiment and the continued return of generalist investors to the sector bodes well for the industry and we look forward to supporting mining companies, investors and governments as the outlook improves,” Chapman enthuses.
The Junior Mining Forum was a highlight at the Junior Mining Showcase, Chapman says, noting that all the presentations held at the forum were well attended. “The 50 mining companies exhibiting were also a real highlight for all attending delegates. Junior mining companies are the future of the industry – investors are looking to harness these opportunities.”
Meanwhile, the Investment Battlefield competition, held for a second time, provided an opportunity for 21 promising junior mining companies to pitch their projects to a panel of expert investors and compete for prizes. Canadian minerals exploration company Thor Explorations was announced as the winner, after three days of pitching to investors as part of a Dragon’s Den-style session, which entails a business pitch in a short amount of time.
Thor Explorations presented its flagship Segilola gold project. The project in Osun, Nigeria, is considered the country’s most advanced gold project.
According to media reports, Thor Explorations CEO Segun Lawson said the economic robustness of the project, the regulatory framework of the Nigerian Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, as well as the potential for the company to increase the project’s size through further exploration were the key critical factors considered by the panel.
Canadian gold explorer and developer Algold Resources, which owns the Tijirit gold project, in Mauritania, was the runner-up.
The two companies pitched to top investors from Australian wealth management group Colonial First State, asset manager JP Morgan Asset Management and employee- owned hedge fund adviser Audley Capital in the final.
“These Dragon Den-style sessions were started a year ago to give mining companies that have a market cap below $50-million a real chance to get in front of top investors,” Chapman explains.
Development and Collaboration
Among key sessions hosted at the Indaba was the Intergovernmental Forum, which involved collaborative networking between African and international governments. “Attendance from Ministers worldwide, and one of the largest African Ministerial dele- gations we have ever had in the history of Mining Indaba was a huge highlight,” enthuses Chapman.
In addition to the large African representation, countries, such as Japan, Australia, Russia and India were also represented at Ministerial level.
The Indaba’s Sustainable Development Day, where engagement among key stakeholders took place to define a common vision for sustainable development in Africa’s mining industry, also played a more prominent role at the conference this year.
“The engagement from 40 members of community groups significantly increased dialogue on the day between governments, mining companies, communities and investors,” states Chapman. He adds that sustainability content was mainstreamed in other sessions, including presentations and panels, throughout the event.
Chapman emphasises that the Mining Indaba continues to be the largest platform for driving investment in African mining. “The fresh new look and feel of the event on site, coupled with the strategic shift in the event – following significant consultation with the market – to take it back to a fully focused investment conference, has given people a renewed sense of excitement about being part of the largest mining investment event in the world,” he notes.
Chapman concludes that the next few weeks will involve the Mining Indaba team digesting information, analysing and reporting on the 2018 event.