6th March 2013

PDAC – The numbers are there, but the money isn’t – by Lawrence Williams (Mineweb.com – March 6, 2013)

posted in Canada Mining, Canadian/International Media Resource Articles, PDAC |

http://www.mineweb.com/

This year’s PDAC is seeing plenty of visitors, but a dearth of capital which will lead to serious shortages ahead, and ultimately far higher metal and stock prices.

TORONTO (MINEWEB) - I’ve been attending PDAC meetings since the late 1970s and have seen it through a number of major downturns and subsequent recoveries, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a downbeat convention as it is proving to be this year.

What sets it apart is an underlying feeling that this time the downturn may have longer to run.

Even in 2009, following what may have been an even bigger market crash in Q4 2008, there were already signs that the industry might be pulling out of its fall; this time around that optimism is not at all apparent – and this is within a community which is by its very nature a generally optimistic one. If you’re a prospector or a geologist or a miner you have to be an optimist by definition.

It is interesting viewing the local press in this respect. There were indeed comments leading up to the opening of the event that the situation among the TSX-V juniors in particular was so dire that there were almost certainly going to be a big number of no-shows with the companies not going to be able to afford to send personnel, and put them up at the kind of inflated Toronto hotel prices currently prevailing because of the general influx of visitors for one of the bigger events in the Toronto convention calendar.

True there were indeed some no-shows, but they were actually very few and far between – and maybe personnel were having to sleep on the streets in sub zero temperatures, but the show must go on and they were dutifully at their booths when the show opened each day. OK that is an exaggeration!

And yes the visitors did come too. Perhaps not quite in the numbers seen a year ago when some 30,000 attendees were present, but judging by the crowds thronging the show – perhaps mostly looking for jobs – it won’t prove to be far short of last year’s record number, and could possibly yet exceed it – but it somehow doesn’t feel quite as crowded as last year.

So the visitors did indeed come, but what seems to be lacking is the money needed to finance exploration and mine building. Few juniors can raise any capital at all, except perhaps in minuscule amounts, and at a high cost, which may enable them to stay solvent for another couple of months until the long awaited upturn happens….. if it does.

When it does come, which it surely will at some time, it may well be too late for a number of junior explorers, and perhaps for some operators working too close to the margins given that precious and base metals prices are currently at lower levels than they have been for some time.

For the rest of this article, please go to the Mineweb.com website: http://www.mineweb.com/mineweb/content/en/mineweb-pdac?oid=180772&sn=Detail

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