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PDAC’s Glenn Mullan: Swagger is Back in the Mining Industry

This year’s Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada Convention has been and gone, and according to Glenn Mullan it was a success. 

“It was absolutely exhilarating speaking from my own perspective,” said Mullan, the organization’s president. “It was great fun. It was also a blur — once it starts, it’s relentless how much activity there is.”

Better known as PDAC, the event took place from March 4 to 7 in Toronto and saw 25,606 attendees from 135 different countries descend on the Metro Toronto Convention Center.

“That’s phenomenal,” said Mullan. “We anticipated some growth based on other conventions that had happened a few months before that were all showing growth. But it’s always gratifying to see that confirmed.” In 2017, attendance came in at 24,161 and 125 countries were represented.

Those stats reflect an overall improvement in mining industry sentiment. Last year, said Mullan, “everybody was still using words like ‘cautiously optimistic’ … you can definitely remove the word ‘cautiously’ now. There was some swagger back.” He added, “we’re a long way from all-time highs … but it is so much better than it was only a few short years ago.”

Two themes that Mullan said rose to the fore at PDAC were innovation and diversity. “They were definitely featured throughout our programming content, he said. “The [topic of the keynote session] was driving innovation in the mining industry through diversity and inclusion.”

In addition, Aboriginal content was once again strongly represented at PDAC this year. “The rooms were packed … with a lot of people from across the industry, Indigenous communities, governments and academia,” Mullan commented. Notably, he said, many international delegates were present at the convention’s Aboriginal programming.

“[They] came because I think many people are interested to see what Canada is doing in terms of community engagement and engagement with Aboriginal people, something that is extremely important and necessary for our sector,” he explained.

Innovation, diversity and Aboriginal affairs are all part of PDAC’s strategic plan, with access to capital and access to land rounding out the list. According to Mullan, innovation and diversity were added during a recent update to the plan. Those overarching themes color the work of PDAC’s various committees throughout the year.

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