Erik C. Ronald, PG
Mining Geology HQ
Two weeks ago, I attended the 2017 Society of Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME) Annual Conference and Expo in Denver. I went into it with an open mind as one of my primary goals was to gauge the overall sentiment of the industry in the U.S. market. SME is not the first conference of the year but it certainly is a good litmus test for how the North American market is trending prior to the craziness that is PDAC.
The conference and trade show saw over 7,000 attendees, 800 exhibitors, with 50 sponsors making it the best attended and supported SME in several years. Beyond simply attending, everyone I spoke with was upbeat and positive about the direction of mining. It was great being a fly on the wall of the Hyatt hotel bar. Conversations were overwhelming positive including discussions of financing new projects, creating new roles, and overall company growth. It was obvious that many good projects had been sitting on the shelf the past few years, but companies are now willing to dust them off with bankers starting to take notice.
Unfortunately, I won’t be attending PDAC but early news out of Toronto has been even more positive than Denver. Preliminary numbers indicate over 22,000 attendees and 900 exhibitors. Recent chatter online has been that financing is finally loosening up making 2017 an exciting time to see how prices and demand continue through the year.
Of course time will always tell whether the current optimism is warranted but it’s certainly a great feeling after the past few years in the doldrums. I welcome anyone attending PDAC at the moment to add a comment and provide his or her thoughts and experiences. Cheers!