A look back at PDAC 2015

By Kathleen Napier

The 83rd edition of the PDAC International Convention, Trade Show & Investors Exchange once again brought together the world’s mineral exploration and mining community to discuss the latest trends, technologies and challenges shaping the sector.

Over 23,500 investors, analysts, mining executives, geologists, prospectors and government officials from 116 countries attended the four-day convention in downtown Toronto, including 1,280 students, 240 accredited media, 30 federal Members of Parliament, as well as eight Cabinet Ministers, and six provincial and territorial Ministers. 

“It was another successful year at the PDAC. Despite the short-to medium-term challenges that confront our industry, the mood at PDAC 2015 was very optimistic for the future of our business,” says PDAC President Rod Thomas. “The PDAC Convention is designed to help the sector find the creative answers it needs to meet the challenges it faces. This year the convention offered a number of sessions examining how to leverage current funds and look for new possible options, including alternative financing. The convention itself remains the industry’s premier meeting place for deals and options on properties to germinate or take place.”

PDAC 2015 started with a flurry of announcements in support of Canada’s mineral exploration and mining industry, including the federal government’s renewal of the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit (METC) and the appointment of Jeffrey Davidson as Canada’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Counsellor for the extractive sector. The federal government, in partnership with the Ontario government, jointly announced the study of an all-weather transportation corridor in the Ring of Fire region.

In addition, for the first time in the history of the PDAC Convention, a sitting Federal Finance Minister attended. The Honourable Joe Oliver, Federal Minister of Finance, announced the Government of Canada’s proposal to renew the 15 per cent Mineral Exploration Tax Credit (METC) for one year during his speech at the Media Reception Sunday evening.

“The provincial and federal governments in Canada are important partners in creating conditions that allow the mineral industry to flourish nationally and internationally,” says PDAC Executive Director Andrew Cheatle. “Over the years the PDAC Convention has grown beyond a traditional trade show and investors exchange to include conversations around industry and community best practices. As the show grows it continues to expand, offering a range of public policy discussions and attracting stakeholders and government officials from municipal to international levels. We’re proud to facilitate the dialogue between industry, communities and policy leaders. Looking forward we expect this dialogue to deepen and stronger tripartite relationships and understanding to develop.”

For PDAC 2015 photos, click here

Since its inception in 1932 the PDAC Convention has grown steadily year over year, and this past year was no exception as the convention was expanded into the North Building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) to host additional exhibit space, as well as the Core Shack. A crowd favourite, the Core Shack showcased the latest discoveries from around the world, including Finland, Mongolia, Panama, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Canada and the United States of America.

PDAC 2015 featured 19 Technical Programs covering a range of topics, from the Copperbelt in Central Africa to operating and investing in Latin America to Canada’s diamond industry. The program also included a keynote session on the role of retail investors in the junior mining sector. “The convention is designed to help the sector find the creative answers it needs to meet the challenges it faces,” adds Thomas. “Programming reflects economic and industry trends, and aims to provide networking and educational opportunities to encourage a healthy mineral exploration industry.”

The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Event Series returned to the PDAC Convention for its sixth year. The series invites industry, government and civil society to participate in dialogue and peer-learning sessions on issues related to responsible exploration and mining. The PDAC 2015 series included a session organized by the World Gold Council and Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals Metals and Sustainable Development called The Socio-Economic Contribution of Responsible Gold Mining. The session examined some the key findings of the World Gold Council’s 2nd annualResponsible Gold Mining Value Distribution Report and the contribution that responsible gold mining can make to social and economic development.

This year’s Aboriginal Program drew over 700 attendees, including over 500 self-identified Aboriginal participants. One of the highlight’s of this year program was the Reaching Agreement, Maximizing Benefits session that examined key issues in company engagement and Aboriginal participation. The session, chaired by PDAC’s Aboriginal Committee Chair Michael Fox, featured a panel discussion on the unique nature of exploration agreements, a presentation by the Working Group on Natural Resources Development, as well as a presentation on the subject of consent that was followed by a panel of community leaders who spoke about their perspectives on consent in relation to mineral development projects.

“Programs like the CSR Event Series and the Aboriginal Program offer industry, organizations, communities and governments from all levels the chance to participate in open dialogue on best practices and unique challenges facing communities and regions across Canada,” says Andrew Cheatle. “We’re proud of our programming and the conversations we’ve facilitated over the years that have helped improve relationships between our industry, the communities where we work and the government.”

Kathleen Napier is the PDAC’s Coordinator of Public Relations & Social Media