The 2017 Prospectors as and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Convention and Trade Show in Toronto witnessed a more upbeat mood than was evident in recent years.
Delegate numbers were up from 21,000 to about 25,000. Analysts were reasonably confident that the improvement in many metal prices seen during 2016 would continue. CRU Group forecast an average increase of 12% for metal and mineral prices in 2017 with zinc, copper, cobalt and aluminium leading, but suggest a weakening in coal and iron ore. The improvements are based on world GDP rising by 2.5%. However, uncertainties remain surrounding the new US Presidency, European elections and Brexit.
Relative to a peak of $ 21 Bn in 2012, worldwide spending on exploration remains subdued at $ 6.9 Bn, but is showing signs of recovery, as is the ability of junior companies to raise equity.
Ireland fielded one of its largest and strongest teams at PDAC 2017. The Ireland Booth at the Trade Fair – co-hosted by Government Departments from the Republic of Ireland and from Northern Ireland – was the focus for promoting the minerals industry across the island of Ireland. Participants at the Ireland Booth were the Exploration & Mining Division of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment; the Geological Surveys of Ireland and Northern Ireland; Geoscience Ireland; the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geoscience (iCRAG) and the Department for the Economy (Northern Ireland).
A separate Ireland Presentation – “Ireland – Open for Business” – hosted by the Geological Survey of Ireland and Enterprise Ireland attracted significant interest with over 130 delegates in attendance. Introduced by Ireland’s Ambassador to Canada, H.E. Jim Kelly, the Ireland Presentation included presentations from the Fraser Institute, once again confirming Ireland’s ranking as a top 10 destination for mineral exploration and mining. Ten mining and mineral exploration companies – including several new entrants – presented significant progress on projects in base metals, gold, lithium and molybdenum. Of particular interest was the presentation by Boliden Tara Mines on its recently discovered zone “Tara Deep”, which should ensure operations continue for another decade. Invest Northern Ireland (INI) spoke for the first time at the Ireland Presentation.
Ten Member Companies from the Geoscience Ireland network attended PDAC, representing geological, mining and environmental consultants, drillers and mining contractors. Three companies had exhibition stands.
Commenting on the event, Keon Verbruggen, Director of the Geological Survey Ireland said:
“PDAC remains the single most important platform for promoting Ireland, both as a location for mining FDI and as a base for providing services to the mining industry worldwide. The all-island and multi-agency team approach is critical in this regard.”