March Madness and PDAC – Let the Games Begin!
The NCAA can claim whatever it likes – everyone in the financial community knows the real March Madness starts now.
The real name of this annual event is the “Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, International Convention”, but everyone just calls it The Mining Show, The Show, or PDAC. About 25,000 people come to Toronto in the first week of March from 100 countries and from every industry possible, to catch up with old friends, hear new ideas, refresh old ones, source financing, talk about prospectus exemptions, plant seeds that might bloom later in the year, learn at technical seminars, and just do deals.
The host organization, PDAC (Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada), “represents the interests of the Canadian mineral exploration and development industry. The association is a national organization with more than 7,000 individual members and more than 1,200 corporate members.” Part of the way it fulfills its education and networking mandates is to annually host this massive trade show cum MardiGras.
In addition to the technical sessions, there’s the Core Shack displaying split core from mining projects around the world, a Prospectors’ Tent with non-core samples, an Investor Exchange with about a thousand exhibitors, presentations from the industry’s leading independent commentators, CSR and Aboriginal Sessions, and full day sessions sponsored by countries looking to increase foreign investment into their mining projects. At those sessions there are always questions about royalties, taxes and repatriation of capital.
Securities law underwent an evolution this year with many new prospectus exemptions introduced. The rights offering regime and the takeover bid rules also saw fundamental change. The Tuesday session on The Future of Mineral Exploration Financing and the Wednesday session on those exemptions should be well attended.
And of course, there’s the nightlife. Parties, er, um, client appreciation nights, start around 4 in the afternoon and seem to end never. The mezzanine level at the venerable Fairmont Royal York Hotel is still the centre of PDAC’s universe, a funnel for hotel guests returning from outside functions before heading up to a suite party. Sometimes networking on the trade show floor can be a little forced and artificial – more hands-on networking gets done at the parties.
I always have been and continue to be an unapologetic fan of PDAC. As the world’s largest mining trade show, The Show brings millions of tourist dollars to Toronto, confirms Toronto (and Canada’s) stature as the world’s leading mining financing jurisdiction, and brings together people from every corner of the globe. We’ve mentioned before that in 2011, at an impromptu lunch meeting, we sat with Russian private equity investors, some of the Chileans involved in rescuing the trapped miners at Copiapo, a rep from a California cloud data company, an auditor from one of the BigFour firms, a Bay Street corporate lawyer from Chile, and some other miners / deal junkies. That doesn’t happen this easily anywhere else in the world.
There are two metals that I think will not have as difficult a year as the rest of the periodic table. I think we’ll hear a lot about lithium at this year’s show – that element is a key component in batteries for the growing electric vehicle market. Whether or not Tesla Motors ever achieves its sales goals, Tesla is doing a strong job of creating investor perception that lithium will be in high demand. Lithium’s perception could become reality. The other metal is gold: it’s back in favour, trending around USD$1270. The juniors have shown some life as air is breathed back into the commodity.
Like many other companies, during this challenging resource market GTA Resources elected not to incur the cost of a booth this year, so instead the leadership team will be walking the floor and stalking the classrooms. Also like many other companies, GTA will likely have a surprise or two to share during the Show.
The technical part of the Show has already begun. The Investor Hall opens Sunday, March 6 this year and runs to March 9 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Start the Madness!
(As has been disclosed previously, the author is an insider of GTA Resources.)
Mr. Clausi is an experienced investment banker, executive, director and shareholder activist. A graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School called to Ontario's bar in 1990, ... <Read more about Peter Clausi>