Since I am a proud Media Partner of the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) for this year, I am happy to send you information about the largest, and at least in my view, best mining conference on the planet. Every aspect of the mining industry is showcased here, from miners to explorers to prospectors on one side, showcasing their investment thesis to investors, to geophysical consultants, data engineers, engineering firms, service providers, etcetc all showcasing their services and products to the mining industry, complimented by lots of mining-related delegations from jurisdictions. All day long there are tons of presentations by mining companies, technical sessions and panels, and in the evenings there are parties everywhere in the direct vicinity, ideal for networking and dealmaking. It is all happening in Toronto on March 5-8, so make sure to register in time, which can be done here.
A bit of history and fast facts about this legendary event: PDAC was founded in 1932, as an association of prospectors gathered to fight a new Ontario Engineers Bill, requiring prospectors filing a work assessment to have the report signed by a mining engineer. The bill never passed. From 1933 onwards, with over 900 members already, the annual meetings were held in the King Edward Hotel, followed by dinner and dancing, already setting the stage for a charismatic, large scale event. In 1943, the annual meeting turned into a two-day convention, and in 1944 this convention, already grown into 1700 members, had to move to the legendary Fairmont Royal York Hotel.
This hotel was the stage for many decades, until the convention became so large it had to move to the current destination, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in 1997.
The association’s current name Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) initiated in 1987. Lots of new features in mining have been introduced at this convention, as the display of geological and geophysical maps, flow through financings, partaking in the revision of National Instrument 43-101, environmental excellence in exploration (E3, 3Plus), and many new innovations for AI, geophysical, exploration and mining methods have been showcased here. Over the years, the number of attendees has grown into huge numbers, from 2,300 in 1992 to 14,500 in 2006 to a record of 30,369 in 2012, a figure that still stands as the all-time high to this day. The COVID-19 pandemic caused the convention to skip an edition in 2021 for the first time since inception, but last year things got back on track again with 17,445 attendees.
To everybody’s delight last year’s convention was delayed because of the aftermath of COVID-19 to June, and everybody loved the hot summer weather, as opposed to the usual 0 to -30C March temperatures and freezing winds. Almost everybody I talked to wanted to maintain the June timeslot, but it appeared that it is held in March as most geologists and prospectors will be out in the fields when temperatures improve, so there is logic behind this date unfortunately. Regarding crowds, my estimate is that a regular PDAC crowd has about 23,000-25,000 attendees when I participated (every year since 2014).
The beauty of PDAC is that you can find and talk to anybody that has something to do with the mining industry, so from geology students to titans like Robert Friedland to Canada’s prime minister to the director of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to First Nations chiefs. It is the only industry to my knowledge where you have free access to very experienced and powerful people, and many attendees have the same incentive: making money on investments/projects, so there is almost always somebody to talk to about these subjects, and even a simple low-budget retail investor could bring interesting insights to the table when discussing stocks with a billionaire.
It helps of course if you have done your homework, know somewhat what you are talking about, have pre-selected a few dozen companies you want to know more about, contacted management of those companies and asked a first set of questions as preparation before you come to PDAC. Make sure you get as many RSVP’s as possible at the company booths for lots of breakfasts, lunches and parties as access is sometimes limited.
Just create an account at pdac.ca and proceed from there, and who knows we will get the chance to meet up at the booths, the afterparties or just a random bar in Downtown Toronto!
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