For the first time in years, the global mining industry’s annual extravaganza has rattled into life surrounded by what looks suspiciously like a bull market.
Many commodity prices, from copper to zinc, have rocketed higher in recent months. Share prices have followed suit, and attendees to this year’s Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention in downtown Toronto no longer bear the dazed look of accident survivors.
But, even so, the opening day of the industry’s big bash on Sunday still struck a wary tone. Organizers expect 22,000 people to attend the show, which runs through Wednesday. That is roughly the same number as last year, but it is far below the 30,000 who flooded through the doors at the height of the commodity boom in 2011.
In happier times, the convention prided itself on being the spot for both hard-drinking parties and non-stop deal-making. It has become a more sober, restrained affair in recent years as the industry has struggled through a prolonged bleak patch.
Attendees to this year’s convention welcomed signs that the sector’s long ordeal is finally over, but nobody was declaring victory just yet. “There’s definitely optimism here, but it’s of a cautious sort,” said Paul Robinson, a director at mining consultants CRU Group in London, and a speaker at the conference.
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