Mineral exploration and mining’s role in the global shift towards a low carbon future could dominate discussions at this year’s Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Convention, PDAC executive director Lisa McDonald tells Mining Weekly.
“To meet demand for electric vehicle batteries, as well as solar panels and wind turbines, minerals – such as copper, lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite, various rare earth elements, aluminium and manganese – are required in greater quantities. We expect this subject will be widespread at this year’s event.”
Other topics that remain popular and should continue to attract high attendance at the eighty-eighth PDAC Convention – which will be held from March 1 to 4 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, in Canada – are diversity and inclusion, sustainability, capital markets and Indigenous affairs.
The keynote is also always a popular session in the line-up, says McDonald.
“It’s no secret that our industry can be difficult to predict. Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, exploration success rates have declined as deposits become scarcer.”
Therefore, this year’s keynote programme – Discoveries of the twenty-first century – is a chance for industry leaders to examine Tier 1 deposits that made it into production, how it was possible and the keys to success for future discoveries.
The keynote will include a presentation by Barrick Gold president and CEO Mark Bristow on finding and developing world-class projects on different continents, and Pretium Resources president and CEO Joe Ovsenek’s presentation, titled Brucejack Mine: From discovery to production. Ivanhoe Mines executive co-chairperson Robert Friedland will discuss Ivanhoe Mines’ delivery of “the triple crown of Southern Africa’s mining future”: Kamoa-Kakula, Kipushi and Platreef.
“As a global industry, sometimes the biggest challenge is getting people together in the same place to discuss their exploration successes, learnings and challenges,” notes McDonald.
PDAC is committed to providing a line-up of speakers and presentations that address the latest issues, trends and technologies that are influencing the industry.
When identifying new topics for its short courses and technical sessions, PDAC is guided by the expertise of 16 committees, including the 40 professionals who make up the Convention Planning Committee.
These volunteers meet frequently throughout the year to create relevant and timely programmes to keep attendees returning year after year, says McDonald.
“Programming also reflects the year-round work carried out by PDAC on behalf of its 7 500 members and Canada’s minerals industry.”
This year, attendees can expect a seminar on practical tips for building an investor toolkit, which covers how to start investing in the minerals industry and increase the odds of getting returns on investments.
New short courses and technical sessions include: Mining investment: How to navigate the changing landscape; Trends in resources policies in the Americas: Opportunities and challenges, Moon and Asteroids: The next exploration and mining frontier; New exploration technologies; Metallurgical coal and iron-ore; and Supply and services market potential.
In 2019, the Prospect Generation Challenge was introduced as a way to encourage students and recent graduates to pursue staking and maintaining claims, which is an expensive exercise, by connecting worthy ideas with funding and mentorship from sponsors.
Hosted by nonprofit organisation Next Gen Geo and the PDAC, the ‘Dragons’ Den’-style event provides an opportunity for students and early-career geoscientists to pitch their original ideas for mineral exploration prospects.
Five finalists will be chosen in advance for the two categories – undergraduate and early career – to compete for cash prizes and investment.
“I’m told that submissions are trickling in for 2020,” says McDonald, predicting that many entries will be submitted last minute.
The PDAC Convention is a one-stop shop for professionals, students, companies, governments, Indigenous communities and anyone interested in the sector to connect, learn and collaborate, she states.
While attendees have various reasons for returning to the mineral exploration and mining event each year, networking, investment opportunities, educational and training sessions are key factors, highlights McDonald.
“Because of the cyclical nature of mineral exploration and mining, it is difficult to predict attendance of the PDAC Convention. In 2019, we welcomed 25 843 attendees from 132 countries, and we hope to see a similar attendance in 2020.”
She adds that nowhere else can industry stakeholders connect with more than 1 100 exhibitors and 2 500 investors, and gain access to senior management teams and the latest core samples from worldwide projects.
Additional exhibition space was added to Trade Show North in 2019 in response to demand. Trade Show and Trade Show North were already sold out for 2020, as of January 28.