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The mining world converges on Toronto
The great big bash came and went for the 81st time: “With 30,147 investors, analysts, mining executives, geologists, government officials, students and international delegations, the PDAC convention remains the world’s premier event for the mineral industry,” said the organization’s concluding announcement on Wednesday. It’s the second consecutive year that attendance surpassed 30,000, coinciding with two terrible years in the markets.
So is the event a junket that’s become an annual entitlement regardless of company finances? Or is it a place where deals get done that wouldn’t otherwise get done? In an industry where optimism is often a job requirement, the latter response might be a sincerely held belief.
Venezuela at the crossroads
This is an election the mining world’s watching. “If Venezuela opens up it will be one of the top exploration areas in the world,” said Eagle Mountain Gold TSXV:Z president/CEO Ioannis (Yannis) Tsitos in Wednesday’s Globe and Mail. “It has huge potential.”
The country faces a crucial election within 30 days of the Tuesday death of nationalization/confiscation enthusiast Hugo Chavez. Some possible outcomes include the Chavez status quo under yes-man Nicolas Maduro or maybe a change of policy under a new president like Henrique Capriles. Or, as Vancouver Sun columnist Jonathan Manthorpe suggested, a possible military coup.
Should a new regime re-open the country to investment, previously expropriated miners might finally get compensation. And, to the horror of socialist ideologues, Venezuela might unload its money-losing confiscations on companies that know how to run them.
We’ll think no more of Inco
As foreign delegates left PDAC on Wednesday they might have wondered why Canadian mining publications paid tribute to the just-departed Stompin’ Tom Connors.
His music certainly wasn’t to everyone’s taste. But he did sing about Canadian working people, a world largely alien to this country’s official culture. Consequently he turned out several mining songs. He said he wrote one of his earliest, Fire in the Mine, one verse per day as news came out about the 1965 Hollinger mine accident in Timmins. Connors was maybe at his best in foot-stomping, beer-swilling venues like the early-70s Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, singing songs like this ditty about pre-VALE Sudbury.
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