MiningIR were on the ground at 4 conferences throughout November, meeting clients and keeping up to date with developments in the mining investment space…
Straight off the bat, one event stood out as my personal favourite:
The 121 at County Hall from 20-21st November. This event was exceptionally organised, some 115 companies had booths with another 30 or 40 milling around and networking. There was some big money in the room and on the tables, which is a rarity for London events which are normally dominated by geos, academia and services.
What made this event special was the solid business format it brought to investors and companies, clear scheduled meetings and a well vetted audience meant, although everybody was rushed off their feet from 08:30-17:30 every day (perhaps with 10 minutes squeezed in for lunch and ablutions, for the lucky ones!), everybody kept their A game, interrogated CEOs and pitched their company strongly right to the final whistle. There were no big drinking events afterwards, but a selection of company hosted investor dinners and formal meetings.
This style of conference has been much needed for some time. It seems to have been designed around the German Edelmetalmesse (which we also attended in Munich 3 weeks ago, keep an eye out for our live podcasts coming this week!), where investors come to invest and companies don’t splash €40k on USB sticks and pens for nothing.
This may have been my personal favourite, but that’s not to say the other events didn’t bring something worthwhile to the field of play.
Mining Investment London was a small event at Le Meridien on Piccadilly (a great venue, but trying to get out of there on Black Friday was a nightmare!). This event is part of the Spire Events series which focuses on bringing smaller companies together with government agencies from around the world. They bring sponsors from West Africa, Central Asia and many unexpected corners of the globe (their next event will be in Mauritania!) and open doors to new developing industries. Its all very well for us to rave about bonanza finds in the Golden Triangle and Kimbalda, but an ever increasing portion of production is coming from developing states and this needs a stand to speak from too, to ensure these nations get a fair bite at the apple.
Critical Metal Connect was held at The Grange in Tower Hill and was a fantastic meeting, but fell way over my head in terms of content. Arguably it was the most important conference of the month, battery metal tech and chemistry is after all everything we’re relying on for our ‘EV Boom’ to kick in. A good set of companies and speakers attended, but I couldn’t keep up with the technicalities. A definite in the schedule for next year after a decent read up on the basics!
Mines & Money… The big one. This conference goes for the flash impact method, big open booths and a higher turnout and it was impeccably good fun. In a formal deal with Mines & Money, MiningIR filmed some 50 interviews and had a team of 6 on the ground reporting live, that kind of press coverage is hard to come by anywhere else…
The event has struggled in recent years in face of so much competition, but has clung on and is developing well.
There is definitely a suitable place in everybody’s calendar for Mines & Money. This one was less about fundraising and more about profile raising, with 5 media companies interviewing and photographing live, hundreds of students tweeting non-stop and big fancy displays from government agencies.
The event is also famous for its after-parties (I managed to make it to those kindly sponsored by TMX, SP Angel/WeAre121, Young Mining Professionals, Women in Mining and MinSouth, thanks to all involved!).
A free bar and high calibre of drinkers attracts a significant number of legal and service pros from the city who don’t have time in their daily schedules for a walkaround the event, but who’s attendance complimented the conference well and definitely boosted the overall quality of the event.
There are a lot of conferences in a lot of decent business hubs these days, every CEO gets a call a day from one somewhere requesting presence and sponsorship and knowing where to plough your dollars is tough. Smaller events guarantee you’ll be seen and interact with everybody there, while big events mean you’re facing competition directly, which can be more costly and may backfire if they market better than you!
From an investors perspective, do you want personal meetings and a sit down, or do you like the hotch-potch of chatting in a bar and then perhaps sipping a coffee the next day in their open booth while being snapped by the press? It depends how you like to judge people. I personally find you can get all of your stats and figures and history online or from a decent publication about any board or company. Seeing how the board handles a question about their gold-sulphide metallurgy, or long-term shareholder distribution, after 3-10 beers at 1am can tell you how much of it is bravado and how much of it they really believe.
There’s a welcome break in the event schedule before the MDSG in Cornwall drags us bag into the fray, followed of course by the MIF, VRIC and Round-up in Vancouver. You’ve all earned a bit of R&R, rest up well this festive season, I reckon January is going to be a big one for us all!
Conference review by Liam Hardy for MiningIR. MiningIR.com hosts a variety of articles from a range of sources, our content, while interesting, should not be considered as formal financial advice. Always seek professional guidance and consult a range of sources before investing.