TORONTO (Reuters) – While not the premium liquor and prime rib parties of old, miners are laying on the cocktails again after several lean years, booking hotel lounges and nightclubs to twin drinks with deal making.
An upbeat tone at the world’s biggest mining conference comes as global exploration spending snaps a four-year decline, underpinned by a rebound in metals prices and strong global economy.
After-hours plans at the March 4-7 Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference in Toronto range from cocktails for 200 at the Pinnacle Room, a 43-floor hotel venue with 360-degree city views, to a night at Rebel, a waterfront venue more familiar with rock stars than rock miners.
The parties are in stark contrast to grim affairs in recent years, which were marked by tiny budgets, wilting veggie trays and downbeat guests. But they also come with a catch – pitching ideas, striking deals and securing funding is the name of the game.
“It’s speed dating, straight up,” said Kevin Lonergan, operations director at Ireland-based Lisheen Mining & Technical Services. Canada’s Century Global Commodities chose a downtown hotel for its party after years of invite-only lunches and 2015’s office reception, where a project manager poured drinks from the front desk.