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Where the world's mineral industry meets

Ask any delegate why they attend the PDAC International Convention, Trade Show & Investors Exchange and chances are they will point to the numerous opportunities available to network with global leaders from the mineral exploration industry. It’s also one of the main reasons why overall attendance at the convention has steadily increased with each passing year.

Convention Footfall

In 2013, more than 30,000 delegates attended the four-day event, surpassing the 30,000 mark for the second year in a row. And of that total number, approximately 7,000 were international representatives from 126 countries. An impressive statistic when you consider that the convention attracted a grand total of 2,300 delegates in 1992—the first year it was opened to the world—with a mere 37 delegates on hand from 10 countries. 

Nicole Sampson, PDAC’s Convention Director, says that growth in the convention’s international presence—especially from Latin America, China and India—has resulted in a greater number of global-minded programs and services being offered during the event. Evidence of this can be found in the record number of presentations given by various governments at PDAC 2012 on topics ranging from global investment opportunities, to new discoveries and development, and insights on communication strategies.

And to assist international delegations in getting the most out of their convention experience, Sampson and her team of organizers continue to keep track of international groups in order to invite key members to private events where they can network with global counterparts.

“Because it can also be difficult for some international delegates to obtain visas to attend the convention, the PDAC offers an online form to request an international invitation letter,” says Sampson. She adds that the mobile application Mobi, which was launched last year at convention, is furthering the convention experience by enabling participants to download everything from program schedules to exhibits and technical sessions.

“Delegates are constantly on their smartphones, so we figured such an app would improve their experience by making it more convenient than searching through the printed convention program,” she adds. And if someone needs help using the app, Mobi Masters are on site at the convention to lend a hand. Because he views it as the premier world convention for the industry, Ian Sutherland, Coordinator of the Australia Pavilion, hasn’t missed the event since 1998. In fact, Australia’s national and state governments have been promoting the country as a prospective and reliable site for exploration and mining investment for more than a decade. 

“There are deals being made constantly at the convention,” says Sampson. “I frequently see people rolling maps out on the floor and squatting around them to have an impromptu meeting in a hallway. It’s fun to watch and we’ve added more venues for people to actually sit and meet. These meetings can happen in a comfortable lounge setting or in a private meeting space that can be booked for one-hour blocks.” The extra meeting space may prove useful for the Finnish delegation. Dr. Pekka A. Nurmi, who has headed the Finnish entourage for nearly two decades, believes that in addition to the convention being a great venue for forging and strengthening international contacts, it also serves as a practical way for the management heads of Finnish companies to meet annually.

“There is currently a mining boom in Finland. In the past, many of the companies with exploration or mining projects [in Finland] have met at PDAC Convention for the first time,” says Nurmi. “Personally, I think the event provides the best way to update myself on global developments, new expertise and techniques.” For David Corrigan, Sales Manager at Australiabased Intrepid Geophysics, a company that provides software and related services to potential field geophysics applications, showcasing the company’s latest advanced software for specialized, quantitative geology and geophysics applications is why the convention is so important to his business. 

“As the conference is held in North America it enables us to provide a face-to-face interaction with our international customer base as well,” says Corrigan. “In conjunction with the conference, IG runs targeted workshops tailored to meet specific customer requirements.” Delegates wanting to participate in knowledge seminars crafted by industry experts have always found the Commodities and Market Outlook presentations (25-minute talks on the global outlook of major metals and minerals) of interest.

At PDAC 2014 there will also be a session on alternative financing sources for junior companies, human resource opportunities in prospecting and mining, as well as a keynote luncheon that will examine Ontario's Ring of Fire region. Whether it’s new food services or expanding the frequency of shuttle bus routes between hotels and the venue, Sampson says her team tries to add something new every year to enhance the overall experience for each delegate. “All in all I hope delegates enjoy their time and can take something away from the program,” says Sampson. “And of course want to come back again next year.”
- By Susan Mohammad