Coronavirus fears hang over Toronto mining conference, but some executives see opportunity – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – March 3, 2020)

One industry veteran predicts anti-microbial copper would face increased demand as superbug viruses continue to emerge and pose threats to society

Tens of thousands of mining executives from roughly a hundred countries started pouring into downtown Toronto’s convention centre over the weekend to attend an annual commodity conference, apparently unfazed by the growing concerns about coronavirus.

Nonetheless, the deadly Covid-19 strain that’s spreading across the world surfaced as a topic of near constant discussion at this year’s Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada event.

While a number of major global events such as the IHS CERAWeek 2020 event in Houston, the CRU-Cesco World Copper Conference in Chile and Geneva Autoshow were cancelled due to the virus outbreak, PDAC organizers have persevered.

While the organizers have not released any data on attendance, they acknowledged that a number of exhibitors, particularly those from China, were forced to cancel because of travel restrictions.

In a sector where travel to faraway and foreign countries is often part of the job description, perhaps making it more skeptical to viral outbreak anxiety than others, analysts, executives and investors debated the potential impact the virus would have on the global economy and by default on the mining sector.

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