JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Dr Mark Bristow of Randgold Resources and Robert Friedland of Ivanhoe Mines may go head-to-head in a live on-stage gold-versus-copper debate at the Investing in African Mining Indaba event at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from February 5 to 8, Mining Indaba MD Alex Grose disclosed to journalists in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
The introduction of the debate concept is one of several changes that are expected to shoot the lights out at what has become the world’s biggest mining investment event.
Bristow, who has built five lucrative gold mines in Africa after starting from scratch in the mid-1990s and who is looking to building his sixth gold mine on the African continent, has confirmed that he will put the case for investment in gold mining.
Friedland, whose Ivanhoe is currently in joint venture with Zjin Mining and the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the development of the Kamoa-Kakula copper project, had still to confirm at the time of going to press that he would put the case for investment in copper mining, Mining Indaba director of content Harry Chapman pointed out to Mining Weekly Online from London.
Randgold, which has been mining gold in Africa for more than two decades, is enjoying investor following as a dividend payer, while Kamoa-Kakula has been independently ranked as the world's largest, undeveloped, high-grade copper discovery by international mining consultant Wood Mackenzie.
Friedland was one of five industry leaders who were inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame in Toronto last year, and Bristow was one of three industry leaders inducted into the Joburg Indaba Hall of Fame in Johannesburg last month.
Grose gave notice that mining companies, investors and governments can expect to see important additional changes to the 2018 Indaba programme, in which 220 mining companies, including 160 juniors, are expected to feature.
The event company initiated a series of changes to this year’s event to bring it back to its roots and to meet changing industry needs, and in 2018 it will further enhance networking and deal-making platforms.
The investor programme offers investors one-on-one meetings with mining CEOs and management teams with the investor relations team prearranging interviews.
Buy-side investors do not have to pay a cent to attend in the interests of ensuring that capital can be put at the ready for investment in projects.
The 2017 event saw 71% more investors attend, a number which is tipped to exceed 350 investors in 2018.
In addition, 60 emerging mining companies from across Africa will be found at the new Junior Mining Showcase, a partnership with leading global brokers.
Since Mining Indaba was acquired by Euromoney it is has undergone significant changes, with recognition being given to demands made in questionnaires for optimum junior focus and emphasis on sustainability.
This is taking place as analysts are warning that the market recovery is in a delicate phase and will require discipline to survive until more substantial commodity prices eventuate.
The organisers are again reporting excellent response from African governments, with escalating interest from West Africa.
“We love the support we get from the mining giants, and without the big mining majors we wouldn’t have an event, but interestingly, large mining companies also want greater junior involvement, as do investors and exhibitors. Without juniors, everything else is impacted, and their absence was probably our huge miss in previous years,” Grose told Mining Weekly Online earlier this year.
Considerable time has been spent canvassing opinion on the most effective ways of prearranging and guaranteeing Indaba meetings between the investor relations teams of mining companies and investors.
Every effort is also being made to balance the needs of conference attendees for good content with the needs of exhibitors for good exposure to procurement decision-makers and the needs of investors for deal flow.
“Everyone coming together once a year has so many benefits and it’s not only what happens in that conference room and on the main exhibition floor but also what happens at the many matchmaking sessions and speed networking sessions, and the contests where juniors have an opportunity to pitch directly to investors,” he added.
Last year’s mining investment 'battlefield' competition, which will be held again in 2018, provided an opportunity for junior mining companies to pitch their projects to a panel of expert investors, and to compete for prizes to support the development of their projects.
Strong government support is ongoing, with countries attending generally including Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Zambia, Morocco, Mali, Rwanda, Gabon, Madagascar, Namibia, Nigeria, Kenya, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Liberia, Lesotho, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Togo, Sudan and Angola.