Some optimism is starting to creep back into the mining sector — but not much. Sentiment is fairly muted so far at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) conference, which kicked off Sunday in Toronto. The conference, which is the world’s biggest gathering of mining professionals, serves as a good barometer for the state of the industry, and this year’s show is a reminder that things are pretty grim.
he commodity boom is long over, and metal prices as a whole remain extremely weak due to oversupply and concerns about China’s economy. Most junior miners can’t raise a penny of capital, and share prices are, in many cases, lower than they were before metal prices started to rise in the early 2000s.
“We, as an industry, wasted the opportunity offered by the largest and biggest boom in commodity prices,” Mark Bristow, the chief executive of Randgold Resources Ltd., told the audience, citing the industry’s very poor spending decisions and billions of dollars of writedowns. Continue Reading →