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PDAC 2018 and the bright future for the mining industry

A few days ago, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) organized its annual Convention, Trade Show & Investors Exchange in Toronto. This event, which has become one of the most relevant around the world for the mining industry, attracted thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, corporations, advisors, government officers and international organizations interested in or related to the mining world. As I had the opportunity to attend, I will share some of my impressions for your analysis.

As we all know, mining is booming around the world. Commodities prices are generally raising again, and the present and future need of minerals is clearer than ever. Since it is a matter of survival, the world is going to exploit more minerals to generate clean energy and reduce oil and gas dependence (I say reduce, since oil and gas will be relevant, at least for decades, in the world energy basket). As one World Bank Extractive Industries Unit officer cleverly mentioned: “There is a way to imagine a world when oil is not burned anymore. However, it is just impossible to conceive a world where minerals are not used for human activities”.

Having spent four days attending conferences and panels, checking information stands and talking to a great number of attendants of PDAC Conference, I have a few important takeaways:

1. Sustainable mining is here to stay

My impression is that a concept that might seem evident, but was not always present in the extractive industries history, which is sustainable mining, is now part of the mindset of any formal mining entrepreneur or developer. Sustainability understood as the execution of a project with respect to regulation, community and environment surrounding the site, doing the best effort to achieve the concept of social license, which comes not from the government authorities but from the stakeholders surrounding the development.

I saw several signs of this trend:

  • The PDAC organization acknowledged, several times during its speeches, the role and importance of the aboriginal people of Canada, and the importance of sustainable mining. This might sound like a rhetoric statement, however I feel that a change of attitude is the first step that communities need in order to reduce the mistrust existent between the parties involved in extractive industry projects.