During the last week, I attended the annual PDAC (Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada) conference in Toronto. For those of you who do not know, the PDAC conference is one of the largest mining events in North America. It is a premier destination for mining companies to mingle with suppliers, customers, potential investors, consultants, and analysts.
I witnessed firsthand some of the prevailing industry trends. There has been significant consolidation within the mining industry in Canada. Large diversified miners are buying medium to small size mining companies and exploration companies. The size of the space in the conference center for junior miners was about 1/3rd of the space they had just 3 years ago. Weak companies have filed bankruptcy and the higher quality land packages have been acquired by larger mining companies. This massive industry consolidation has also come with vast cost cuts. Most major gold miners have drastically reduced their cost of mining. A few years ago many projects needed a minimum of $1300 USD or higher gold price to be sustainable, now many projects only need a minimum of a $1000 USD gold price.
Overall, the tone of industry participants was more upbeat than in prior years. Now that most of the key cost cutting efforts are starting to pay off, more investment dollars are flowing into the ground. With more investment comes more opportunity, both for mining employees and investors.