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PDAC attendance slumps

Last year’s PDAC
event in full swing
Toronto, Canada — MININGREVIEW.COM – 02 March 2009 – Organizers of what is billed as the world’s largest annual mining convention – the PDAC International Trade Show & Investors Exchange – are expecting attendance at the 2009 event this week to slump, mirroring the fortunes of the global industry.
The Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada said the annual Toronto-based event was unlikely to match the record 20 000 participants last year, when prices for metals, including copper and gold, rose to record levels.

“The characteristics of this downturn are unique, and this one is unprecedented,” PDAC executive director Anthony Andrews told Bloomberg News in an interview. “This financial crisis is really impacting our industry, and in particular the juniors, or small-scale exploration companies, which make up the majority of participants.”

The 82-company Bloomberg World Mining Index has fallen more than 65% in the past year, as shares for Rio Tinto Group, Xstrata Plc and other global metal producers have plunged by more than half. Financial turmoil has helped scuttle transactions including BHP Billiton’s US$66 billion (R660 billion) unsolicited bid for Rio Tinto last year, and Cliff Natural Resources Incorporated’s US$2.88 billion (R29 billion) merger with Alpha Natural Resources Incorporated.

The four-day PDAC convention, which ends on Wednesday, brings buyers and sellers of mining companies and properties together to facilitate acquisitions in the industry.

PDAC organizers said about 13 500 people had registered by the weekend, and expected that number to rise further. They declined to give registration numbers for their conference for the years before 2008.