The main goal of the 2017 Investing in African Mining Indaba was to help position businesses in industry to take advantage of the expected market upturn by securing investor support, event organiser Mining Indaba MD Alex Grose tells Mining Weekly.
“The early feedback we have received is that we are on track to achieve this,” despite the recovery and cautious optimism in the sector, which Grose says determined the theme of this year’s Mining Indaba ‘Leveraging the next wave of growth: How can you invest in African mining to make long-term profits?’
One of the biggest challenges facing the mining industry remains securing initial, as well as additional, investment to facilitate the development or expansion of projects, he states.
“Mining Indaba provides improved opportunities for mining companies to meet with investors, through initiatives such as the invitation-only Investment Discovery Forum (IDF) and the services of the conference’s director of investor relations who helps management teams build targeted one-on-one meeting programmes with qualified investors at the event’s VIP Investor Lounge.”
The 2017 Investing in African Mining Indaba, held from February 6 to 9 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, achieved a 32% increase in mining company attendance and a 71% increase in investor attendance; notably with a large number of generalist fund managers looking for opportunities to re-enter the sector after spending the last few years on the sidelines.
“Initial feedback from our investor delegates is that the IDF continues to improve year after year. This dedicated investor track is now directly incorporated into the main conference, rather than being held as a standalone event. Investors’ time is tight and they want to make the most of their time in Cape Town,” explains Grose.
He adds that combining the IDF, which offers a mixture of corporate presentations and thought-leadership content developed with investors and project promoters in mind, with the main conference enables delegates to get everything done over the four-day event and also provides them a more targeted investor stream that enables them to identify real investment opportunities.
Mining Indaba’s improved investor attendance, says Grose, is in line with the event’s aim to support and facilitate investment in African mining projects, as well as networking among international investors, and mining company and government representatives.
The event supports the development of and investment in mining companies operating in Africa, providing a platform for mining companies to communicate their objectives with investors.
“The wider market enables companies and investors to engage with key parties, such as governments, to overcome challenges and make the most of development opportunities,” Grose adds.
Ensuring that mining companies and governments work together effectively remains a challenge. However, through its private Ministerial Symposium, the Mining Indaba provides an opportunity for frank discussion of concerns held by mining company CEOs and Ministers from across Africa, Grose says.
Positively, he notes that from this year’s Ministerial Symposium, the main event to the Young Leaders Career Development and Sustainability programme, there has been a real commitment in the market to move things forward in terms of investment and transformation.
The Mining Indaba is also greatly focused on the junior mining market, Grose enthuses, adding that this year, the event introduced a tiered pricing structure that reduced ticket prices by 50% for small mining companies.
“We also introduced the junior miners pavilion, which had ten free stands for juniors, and the Investment Battlefield competition, where 16 junior miners presented projects to a panel of investors. These provided small mining companies – at no cost – a platform to meet investors.”
The numerous sessions where experts shared their knowledge, experience and expectations further increased the value of the event, which Grose declares successful.
“The total number of exhibitors, delegates and visitors who attended has not been confirmed yet, as [it] takes some time – post event – to analyse registration, since hundreds of registrations are received at the conference,” Grose explains.
However, he does not only expect to see a slight increase in this year’s overall attendance, compared with last year, but also an improved mix of visitors.
Grose says the next few weeks will involve the Mining Indaba team digesting information and reporting on the 2017 event, speaking to stakeholders and formulating the 2018 strategy, when the organiser expects to see significant growth.