#TMS2013: “A great event, perhaps the best in the Industry”
The second annual Technology Metals Summit was, by all accounts, great event. At the end of the last session, Richard Brescianini from Arafura Resources General Manager of Exploration & Development at Arafura Resources (ASX: ARU) congratulated Tracy Weslosky, Publisher of ProEdgeWire and the organizer of the TMS2013, going as far as to say that this was “the best event in the industry….by far”. This sentiment was widespread. Participants, sponsors, speakers and delegates alike praised the panel format, which allowed for discussion, debate and a more in depth analysis of the ideas. Those with less expertise in the various issues addressed by the panels came out of the conference more interested and curious than when they had walked in. All the participants also appreciated the great opportunities to establish a wide range of contacts; to quote one very enthusiastic delegate: “we made a ton of contacts…it was a great event!”
Another delegate could be overheard commenting “we should be one of the sponsors next year”. Indeed, after Tracy’s closing remarks on April 22, there were many calls from the audience for a third annual Technology Metals Summit in 2014. Congratulations Tracy; you pulled off what seems by all counts to have been a truly great event. Perhaps, the most telling example of the event’s success, beyond the contacts and industry debates, was expressed by one of the non-industry participants. He noted that the whole range of topics was very interesting and that he felt that he had discovered a new subject to study, having been so stimulated by the subject of rare earths and all that these minerals imply.
The various panels did indeed touch on many disciplines, all of which explained aspects of the next industrial revolution. Evidently, the combination of ‘industry’ and ‘revolution’ is very powerful and implies coverage of topics ranging from pure science, applied science, social science, history, geography, philosophy and even poetry. Yes, poetry; because when a personality as vibrant as Dr. Tony Mariano receives a special award in recognition of his passion – which in his case happens to encompass geology and rare earths – it is poetic. Few of us get to do what we love, and Dr. Mariano evidently found that love long ago, pursuing it to this day. Constantine Karayannopoulos, Molycorp’s CEO, presented Tony Mariano with an Industry Achievement Award, which moved all those present, reminding us that there are some truly remarkable personalities in this industry. As someone said during the Award presentation dinner, quoting Robert Frost, as two roads diverged in the wood he “took the road less traveled and that has made all the difference.” The final lines from “The Road not Taken’, urge us to seek challenges, because ultimately, as humans, we need them to grow and improve.
TMS2013 addressed the various ways in which the industry can improve, from the business side, seeking innovative financing strategies as noted in a panel that received considerable attention, which was Panel G “Today’s Capital Market: Raises, Project Financings for Production – the real challenges, real solutions”. Tracy Weslosky moderated the panel, helping to generate a vibrant debate and one of the more exciting discussions of the Summit, addressing one of the biggest questions faced by mining executives and mining investors alike. The debate element was prominent in another very interesting discussion in Panel B, “The Metallurgy Advantage: debating Competitive Elements of tonnage, grade and Mineralogy”, hosted by Robert Mackay, President & CEO of Stans Energy (TSXV: HRE | OTCQX: HREEF), which explored the question of whether the mineralogy or the metallurgy of a given deposit is more important. Needless to say, there were strong arguments in support of both disciplines. However, Richard Spencer, CEO of U3O8 Corp (TSX: UWE | OTCQX: UWEFF), who moderated Panel J “Sustainability & Environmental Policy”, the last panel of #TMS2013, overturned both mineralogy and metallurgy, suggesting that the first consideration of any project should be its social and environmental sustainability.
Others focused on the role of the military and the need to establish a different kind of sustainability, that is a “Self-Sustainability and the Impact of Strategic Materials on Defense Needs: missiles, space vehicles, aeronautics, ammunition, navigation equipment”. The panelists were moderated by James Hedrick, President — Hedrick Consultants Inc. & Sr. Editor, REEHandbook.com, and addressed issues related to rare earths shortages and how these threaten the United States’ ability to produce the defense systems of the future. Ultimately, #TMS2013 addressed the issue of Future Technology and its impact on demand for critical metals panel. The Summit essentially addressed the wider outlook for current technological and scientific developments are slated to shape the future and the materials that will make such a ‘future’ possible. It was a great event and I for one, look forward to next year’s edition, which promises to have a huge following already.
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