TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Organisers of the world's biggest mining event already expect attendance at this year's Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention to beat the official count of just over 22 000 recorded in 2010, which was itself a new record.
The annual trade show and conference, which draws visitors from more than 100 countries, will take place in Toronto from March 6 to 9 this year.
With demand and prices for many commodities surging, mining companies are enjoying strong cash flow, which means that new and expansion projects are moving forward briskly once again after the grim mood and spending curtailments of late 2008 and 2009.
“We have pretty well put behind us the downturn in the industry a few years ago and I think now there is even more enthusiasm going forward, with very strong commodity prices driving everything,” said Joe Hinzer, who chairs the PDAC’s convention planning committee.
Exhibitor booths at the event have sold out, and there are waiting lists for both the main trade show, which draws mining service and supply companies and governments, and the Investors Exchange hall, which is limited to mining companies, stock exchanges and financial institutions.
With top executives, bankers and a plethora of junior and early-stage exploration companies in the same town for four days, the PDAC convention is traditionally a key time for dealmaking in the industry.
About a quarter of the visitors to the convention in 2010 were from outside of Canada, and there were more than 118 countries represented at the event, according to the PDAC, and the level of international participation is likely to increase further this year, Hinzer said in an interview.
“The countries where we are getting the most interest from are South American countries, Asia, as well as Africa.”
The PDAC has lined up commodities guru Eric Sprott as the keynote speaker for its mineral-outlook lunch on March 7, and Energy Probe Research Foundation MD and National Post columnist Lawrence Solomon will deliver the lunch speech on March 9.
Chilean Mines Minister Laurence Golborne will join Hinzer as chair of the keynote session following the opening ceremonies on March 7.
Hinzer said he's expecting presentation sessions on rare-earth metals, uranium and new exploration techniques to get a lot of interest during the week.
An awards evening is also held each year during the convention week. This year, prospector Shawn Ryan will be awarded the PDAC's Bill Dennis award, for his gold prospecting work in the Yukon. Ryan worked for close to 15 years to locate the source of the alluvial gold found in the Klondike gold fields and in 2004 he identified the anomaly that led Underworld Resources to its White Gold deposit and a subsequent $138-million takeover by Kinross Gold.