Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) 2021 Recap – A Year like No Other

Published on: March 16, 2021
Author: Gilbert Chan

It has been exactly one year since our last normal week in Canada where people are free to travel and socialize.  It has also been a year since the last face-to-face PDAC conference took place in Toronto.  Our lives have never been the same since then.  

It is a pity indeed that during such a bull market for most metals, the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada Convention, the world’s largest mining convention needs to be a virtual one.  Sometimes, however, it is better to have decisions being made by the global circumstances you are forced to do the best you can to accommodate.  As a result, this year, the PDAC Convention was held entirely online for the first time in its history.    As one of the major supporters of the PDAC for the past 15 years, NAI500 also had a virtual booth at this year’s event.  We have to admire the diligence of the PDAC team in pulling off this virtual conference; they have done so quite admirably.  They have spent hours to iron out all fine details in terms of making this event unique and meaningful for all participants and stakeholders.  

It didn’t start off very well on the first day as the gold price took another dive to $1680 USD midday. People are wondering if the “PDAC Curse” continues even during the pandemic.  We were glad to see the price of gold slowly climbing up over the next few days to finally stop the curse.   

Highlights from the PDAC Convention

Some of the great highlights from the convention include the discussion on responsible and sustainable mining between Blackrock’s Evy Hambro & Barrick Gold’s Mark Bristow.  Mark has repeatedly stated his determination in showcasing how gold mining can have strong ESG practice. Impressive talk by Keynote Speaker Douglas Silver argued that the myth of discoveries in modern days is far less than in the past, only because of the lagged times as these discoveries are pronounced when they are in the later stage of engineer studies.  

Keynote Speaker Douglas Silver

One of the best talks of the whole convention, I have to admit, was the CRU Group’s chief economist Jumana Saleheen ‘s insightful “Mineral Outlook Keynote” where she claimed that it is still early to announce the super-cycle in metals.  Not only was her talk full of persuasive data and knowledge, but her presentation logic was right on point. She pointed out that since the lockdown, people are now getting used to the new green, low-carbon economy, and that has the potential to become the new normal.  

 Jumana Saleheen’s  “Mineral Outlook Keynote” 

I personally found the event more comfortable this year because I can go to different talks and different booths virtually without breaking a sweat. When you get old you appreciate opportunities where people can come to you rather than you having to go to multiple places.

NAI500 Virtual Booth at PDAC 2021

NAI500 Virtual Booth at PDAC 2021

Recent news on metal stocks

On the news front last week, Newmont spread its wing last week where it’s buying GT Gold for about CAD 393M, at $3.25 per share.  This is definitely a show of good faith in the Golden Triangle region in BC where the largest gold company in the world is putting such projects in its portfolio.  

Energy Metals like Lithium, Graphite, especially Nickel continued to get a lot of attention during the event.  BHP took the opportunity to announce that it is moving its exploration headquarters for nickel and copper — two metals expected to see increased future demand because of electric vehicle industry growth — to Toronto.  Such a move sent a strong signal that Canada is still the mining center of the world.  

In conclusion, it is fair to say that since the PDAC event is limited by its time difference, the “live” portion of the event will not be too well attended by people from Asia.  So hopefully we will be able to get back to the offline convention next year where Toronto will become the hub in hosting people from all over the world, and more meetings and deals can be done in the city during that time.  

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