PDAC agenda to be dominated by energy transition, coronavirus

THE global mining community is preparing to descend on Canada’s financial capital Toronto en masse for the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Convention, arguably the mining world's biggest annual meeting point for company leaders, strategists, geoscientists, technologists and, increasingly, futurists.
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The PDAC convention is a chance for the sector to gather and discuss the trends, challenges and opportunities

Henry Lazenby

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One topic that PDAC president Felix Lee expects to receive widespread coverage this year is the role mineral exploration and mining must play in the global shift towards a low carbon future.

"To meet demands 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 ever greater quantities. We expect this subject will be widespread," Lee said.

Other popular themes highlighted in the comprehensive program include diversity and inclusion, sustainability, capital markets and indigenous affairs, with an emphasis on the latter given recent events affecting Canada's reputation as an attractive destination for investment dollars.

Lee said discussions underpinned by the PDAC's 2019 report on the State of Mineral Finance, would also receive significant attention.

"The industry finds itself at a crossroads. The PDAC convention is a chance for the sector to gather and discuss the trends, challenges and opportunities being faced by the industry around the world," he said.

"We're excited to bring another outstanding line-up of speakers, short courses, technical sessions, and programming to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to provide the networking and education opportunities needed to succeed."

Lee said the PDAC was guided by the expertise of its volunteers, including more than 40 professionals on the convention planning committee, meeting frequently to create relevant and timely programmes to keep attendees from all over the world returning.

"Programming also reflects the year-round work carried out by PDAC on behalf of its 7500 members and Canada's minerals industry. Finance and taxation, innovation, geoscience, students, Indigenous, securities, international affairs, sustainability, all these critical branches of the sector can be found at the PDAC convention in detail."

For those looking for an opportunity to make connections, The Network is a brand-new reception for domestic and international professionals to discuss matters shaping the industry.

"It's no secret that our industry can be difficult to predict. Since the beginning of the 21st century, exploration success rates have declined as deposits have become scarcer. The PDAC 2020 keynote session is a chance for industry leaders to examine tier-one deposits that made it into production, outlining how it was possible and the keys to success for future discoveries," Lee said.

Among the top highlight events count the mineral outlook luncheon, hosted by Catherine Raw, Barrick Gold's COO for North America, who will discuss ‘M&A in the mining sector: The return of the mega deal, the reasons why and implications for the future'.

Many companies and governments also use the PDAC convention stage as a platform to make announcements.

"Often these are not known in advance, however, we do know that the Seamus O'Regan, Canada's minister of natural resources, will introduce the Action Plan of the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan on Sunday, March 1 at 2:15pm," said Lee.

Lee also said the organising committee was paying close attention to direction from the World Health Organisation, the Public Health Agency of Canada and Toronto Public Health on the specifics of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

"At this time, there are no programming changes scheduled and PDAC 2020 will continue as planned," he said.

Attendees will quickly notice enhanced health and safety procedures on the exhibition floors, including increased cleaning and disinfection of all high-volume touchpoints, an increased availability of alcohol-based hand sanitiser and signage reminding attendees of hygiene recommendations.

"We continue to monitor the situation closely and will adapt plans accordingly," Lee said.

This year marks the 88th PDAC convention in Toronto.

Last year's event had 25,843 attendees from 132 countries, including more than 1,100 exhibitors and 3,800 investors.

"Because of the cyclical nature of our sector, attendance at the PDAC convention fluctuates. We hope to see similar attendance to recent years but won't know exact numbers until March 4," said Lee.

The PDAC 2020 convention takes place from March 1-4 in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and full information about programming can be found on the website at https://www.pdac.ca/convention.

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