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“This is certainly a trying year for the mining sector and many feel attendance at
the convention will be lower than last year,” says industry observer and mining blogger
Stan Sudol. “Financing is hard to come by, but if you have a good project you will find
the money,” says Sudol, of republicofmining.com (Toronto Star – March 1,2015)
Metal prices are at rock bottom levels, but that won’t stop 25,000 miners from four days of networking at the annual prospectors’ convention
Thousands of miners and investors are flocking to Toronto this week for the world’s largest annual prospectors’ convention, amid a severe downturn in all things metallic.
The frigid temperatures that Toronto has struggled with lately are nothing compared to the deep freeze the mining industry has endured over the last couple of years, analysts say. Everything from gold and platinum to copper and zinc continue to take a beating on metals markets, and small-cap junior exploration companies are desperately seeking financing to stay in the bush.
Even giants such as Canada’s Barrick Gold Corp. and Goldcorp Inc. have suffered record losses, slashed budgets and taken massive write-downs on problematic projects — mainly because it’s not economic to build and operate mines with rock-bottom metal prices.
But that won’t stop about 25,000 geologists, investors and old-timers who stake claims from converging on the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for four days of networking and deal-making until Wednesday, as they have every winter since 1932 at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) conference.
“I can’t think of another conference in this industry that has the power to bring so many people together in one place every year,” says Jamie Sokalsky, former Barrick CEO and lifelong mining executive, who attends every year.
More than half of the capital for all global exploration and mining projects is raised in Toronto, including a good chunk of it at this week’s show, where miners display drill core samples, talk about the latest finds and make sales pitches, both on the convention floor and into the wee hours at hospitality suites hosted by mining companies.
Delegates from 125 countries will vie for new capital to fund projects, with major groups coming from South Africa, Peru, Chile, India, Brazil, China, Mongolia and elsewhere, including some first-timers from southern Spain.
Toronto hotels are booked solid through Wednesday and downtown restaurants and bars are usually packed for the hard-rock bonanza, which pumps an estimated $80 million into the local economy.
“The junior mining companies are a part of the lifeblood of finding new deposits and many are challenged to raise capital to make that happen. Simple survival is at issue for many of these companies,” notes Sokalsky.
The team of geologists at Sokalsky’s new gig — he is chairman of Probe Mines Ltd. — is being honoured Monday for Canadian mineral discovery of the year, for the high-grade Borden Lake gold property near Timmins. Goldcorp announced in January a $526 million friendly takeover of Probe to gain control of the coveted deposit.
He says the recent mergers and acquisitions activity signals the start of a rebound in the moribund sector. “I believe that the worst is behind us in the mining industry. In my view, commodity prices have bottomed out and we are seeing the signs of a turnaround,” he adds.
According to the Fraser Institute’s latest annual survey of mining companies, the most attractive jurisdiction in the world for mining investment this year is Finland. The other Top 10 ranked jurisdictions are Saskatchewan, Nevada, Manitoba, Western Australia, Quebec, Wyoming, Newfoundland & Labrador, the Yukon, and Alaska.
Since the conference was first held at the old King Edward Hotel 83 years ago, the primary prospector’s image has changed dramatically from the stereotypical, grubby old guy with a pickaxe and shovel to the technologically advanced junior mining companies and exploration firms, organizers say.
As the conference grew, the venue hopped from King St. E. to the Fairmont Royal York Hotel and then to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, where it dominates both the north and south buildings for most of the week.
“This is certainly a trying year for the mining sector and many feel attendance at the convention will be lower than last year,” says industry observer and mining blogger Stan Sudol.
“Financing is hard to come by, but if you have a good project you will find the money,” says Sudol, of republicofmining.com
Sinking commodity prices have made the sector a very challenging place to do business, says Dave Lawson, president of global mining and metals markets at engineering giant Amec Foster Wheeler.
“The exhibition allows us to connect with our current and potential customers on the tradeshow floor and to see, hear and feel the pulse of what’s new and innovative in the industry,” he says.
“It’s a great place to get a conversation started and subsequently, to close deals after the show.”
For the original source of this article, click here: http://www.thestar.com/business/2015/03/01/miners-descend-on-toronto-amid-brutal-market-downturn.html