PDAC 2011 – Mining, Money and People

During this year’s PDAC Mining Conference 2500 exhibitors rained down on the Convention Centre in downtown Toronto, spearheaded by hundreds of mining executives keen to tell us about their projects, and a similar number of suppliers keen to instead tell the miners about their products and services!

This year’s get-together attracted a staggering 27,000 people from 118 countries, and it was encouraging to experience such a positive feel.  And why wouldn’t we be positive?  It’s been a year of commodity rallies, project approvals and increasing capital-raising; even bankers are starting to open their wallets again.

It was certainly an early start on a cold Sunday morning, however that was soon forgotten when you started experiencing the energy of some of the thousands of people keen on chatting away. Booths were abuzz, meeting rooms packed and the floor filled with the most diverse group of individuals you’d ever find, in any industry I’m sure.

It was encouraging to see a major effort being made for juniors and students, quite literally the future of the industry, a topic that not many people would highlight in any presentation, but one that is proving imperative for sustainable development in this ever shrinking global village.

During the last couple years we have seen a trend of international relocation, not by the “usual suspects”, but by professionals from countries like Brazil, Chile, Peru, Ghana, Indonesia and many more.  This highlights the fact that the mining industry is at an unprecedented junction that few if any are truly prepared for: the aptly named War for Talent.

With project development for the next few years topping $50 billion, our industry will experience shortages of skills across all levels, not to mention losing professionals to other industries such as oil & gas and finance.  We therefore need to perhaps take a moment to digest the reality of people challenges our industry will face in the future.

It was therefore encouraging to see many Executives interested in discussing the topic of attracting and retaining the best people at their organisations, especially considering the exhaustive pace of deal making PDAC has become accustomed to. 

We certainly look forward to building our relationships and applying our global experience to our clients’ businesses during 2011, and to looking back at another successful year next time we all visit the PDAC conference.

Will Coetzer – Regional Manager EME, CIS and Western Asia

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