Tepid global demand for metals driven by recession fears and China’s weak economic recovery have done little to shake the idea amongst miners that battery materials are heading for an epic bull run.
That was the sentiment of 1000’s of executives, investors, government officials and bankers who crammed right into a conference centre in Toronto for the past 4 days to showcase their assets, network and strike deals. For the event organizer, the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada gathering highlighted the industry’s push to be a part of the answer within the worldwide transition to cleaner energy.
“The theme is really getting most people to know their vision of the longer term — which is zero emissions — and the true importance of the mining industry to assist us achieve that,” PDAC President Alex Christopher said in a Wednesday interview. Copper — the wiring metal that’s key to the energy transition — was top of mind for base metals producers on the gathering, though “lithium” was the most-searched word on the organizer’s website, he said.
The frenzy for battery metals has prompted a flurry of activity from investors not typically related to the mining industry, including automakers and pension funds — a theme that got here up during panel discussions. Governments in North America and Europe have also began making moves to encourage domestic metals production to counter China’s dominance.
One small firm, Giga Metals Corp., drew a lot of people to its booth to study its three way partnership with Mitsubishi Corp. to advance a nickel project within the western Canadian province of British Columbia, in line with development manager Lyle Trytten. The Vancouver-based firm even received a pitch from a man-made intelligence provider.
“We all the time must welcome those recent ways of fascinated by things in what is typically seen as a legacy business,” Trytten said in an interview.
Lancaster Lithium Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer Penny White got here to the event mainly to talk with the financial community concerning the West Vancouver-based firm’s lithium brine property in Recent Mexico before going public via a reverse takeover. While she met brokers, financiers and investors, she also had approaches from suppliers of direct lithium extraction technology and a bunch offering lithium assets — prompting her to bid on one project.
“It’s been very successful,” she said in an interview. “I’ve been targeted by lots of people who find themselves particularly fascinated about this specific industry.”
The event drew 23,819 attendees this yr, greater than a 3rd higher than last yr’s abbreviated June event when PDAC returned to in-person programming after a pandemic pause.
“We’ve seen a very good crowd this yr, with a lot of positive engagement,” said Christopher, who ends his two-year term as PDAC president when the conference closes. He’ll be succeeded by longtime mining analyst Raymond Goldie.