Indaba attendance expected to improve in line with investment climate

HIGH PROFILE EVENT Twenty-four African Ministers, 30 investor company speakers and 35 mining company speakers will be in attendance at the 2017 event

HIGH PROFILE EVENT Twenty-four African Ministers, 30 investor company speakers and 35 mining company speakers will be in attendance at the 2017 event

27th January 2017

By: Nadine James

Features Deputy Editor


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The cyclical nature of mining continues to be reflected in the attendance figures of the yearly Investing in African Mining Indaba, which is expected to attract greater numbers this year, indicating an improvement in economic conditions and the mining investment environment, says event organiser Mining Indaba.

“With mining companies struggling, commodity prices at a low point, investors making cautious and conservative decisions, and exchange rates against the pound also at a low point, it is only natural that fewer people attended last year,” says Mining Indaba marketing and public relations director Phillip LoFaso, recalling last year’s attendance figure of about 6 000.

However, he emphasises that developments over the past ten months indicate that the tide is turning and Africa’s mining sector is gaining momentum.

“We are seeing cautious optimism from the investment community – just take a look at mining company share-price gains for evidence of increased confidence,” LoFaso points out, adding that such confidence is expected to strengthen, as many African governments have taken decisive steps to build a more favourable investment climate.

By December, the number of investors registered for the Mining Indaba at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, which will be held from February 6 to 9, had increased by more than 80%, compared with the figure for the same period in 2015. The number of individuals from mining corporates also increased by more than 50% on the 2015 figure.

LoFaso notes that the global outlook for mining is also increasingly brighter. “Not only have commodities been back on the radar of some of the longer-term heavy-weight investment players for some months now but mining majors like Glencore and Vale have also recently announced plans to resume dividends – a welcome shift for investors.”

Further, he notes that mining executives, many of whom will speak at the 2017 Mining Indaba, regard exploration as a key growth area and are optimistic about opportunities and investments in African mining in the year ahead. “Nordgold CEO Nikolai Zelenski expects to see increased investment by mining companies,” LoFaso remarks.

Exploration company B2Gold CEO Clive Johnson concurs in the expectation for increased exploration investment, “especially in underexplored countries that have a good history of dealing with mining companies and wish to attract foreign investment”. Johnson further predicts that Africa will yield numerous additional, major gold discoveries.

Meanwhile, Canadian Council on Africa (CCAfrica) president and CEO Nola Kianza commends the 2017 Mining Indaba’s introduction of new pricing incentives and targeted programming for mining companies and investors, which “has been met with a positive reaction from Canadian participants and has increased interest in joining the Canada Pavilion at the Mining Indaba”.

The addition of new programming, specifically the Investment Discovery Forum and Sustain- able Development Panels, has also allowed for increased networking opportunities, which, together with the investment opportunities, CCAfrica is looking forward to, he adds.

“Given the upbeat sentiment from investors and mining companies . . . we believe our theme for the 2017 Mining Indaba – Leveraging the next wave of growth: How can you invest in African mining to make long-term profits? – is very appropriate,” LoFaso states.

He affirms that the company wants delegates to take advantage of the rebound in the mining sector and, in aid of this, under the leadership of new Mining Indaba MD Alex Grose, the organiser has focused its energies on ensuring that attendees at the event can truly be exposed to the opportunities that African mining has to offer.

“The 2017 Mining Indaba will bring together mining corporates who seek investment, investors who want to strike deals and Ministers who are looking to engage with both groups to discuss new opportunities in their countries,” LoFaso states.

He comments that the event has already confirmed the attendance of 24 African Ministers, 30 investor company speakers and 35 mining company speakers. “More importantly, what matters to these three factions the most is the quality of attendees, not the quantity.”

Measurable Benefits of Attendance
LoFaso believes that the changes implemented by Mining Indaba are resonating with the right people, with the organiser also having instituted several major enhancements to allow for “attendance in force”.

Firstly, the commodity-focused speed networking will match mining companies, investors and others that are interested in the same commodities.
Mining companies and investors can also take advantage of the private-investor mining company event, the Investment Discovery Forum, supported by investment banks RBC and Investec.

Attendees looking to gather some insight on the most notable junior mining project CEOs can attend the inaugural Investment Battlefield – a competition where junior miners pitch their projects to an expert investor judging panel, with several prizes to be won. This event, as well as the new Emerging Miners Pavilion, is supported by the Chamber of Mines of South Africa, the Department of Mineral Resources and the newly formed JSS Empowerment Fund.

Further, attendees interested in investor- focused content can attend sessions, with more than 30 investor speakers presenting at sessions, including representatives from firms such as JP Morgan Asset Management, Van Eck, Colonial First State and the China-Africa Development Fund.

“In addition, the right kind of service providers – investment banks, brokers, law firms, consultancies, insurers and top equipment companies, besides others – will be there to offer much-needed services as the industry rebounds,” LoFaso concludes.

Edited by Tracy Hancock
Creamer Media Contributing Editor


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