In a celebration of the African mining sector, Mining Indaba returns for 2021 in a virtual format to bring together visionaries and innovators from across the country
Written by: Sean Galea-Pace
Mining Indaba is the world’s largest mining investment event, with a long, distinguished history in Africa’s business calendar and a truly global audience from Australia and South Asia to Europe and North America. It attracts junior, mid-tier and major mining companies, investors, the largest gathering of Mining Ministers in Africa and usually a President or two. From industry giants to tomorrow’s barrier-breaking disruptors, everyone who is anyone attends Mining Indaba to connect and learn.
Tom Quinn is Head of Content, Investing in African Mining Indaba. He believes that against the backdrop of one of the most challenging years ever, the organisers of Mining Indaba recognise and value the role it plays in connecting people, sharing information and moving the industry forward for the year ahead. However, he does admit that holding a virtual event is no substitution for a return to a more traditional setting. “We share the feelings of our customers in that we cannot wait for the return of face-to-face networking,” he explains. “However, demand from the Mining Indaba community to regroup has been overwhelming, throughout this uncertainty, we have been able to connect the industry more regularly, sharing topical industry insights. Our virtual event will not be “just another webinar” but will embody high production values to support the premium level of industry speakers and government leaders.
“Our audience has huge brand loyalty because they know they get a premium event experience. This includes engaging content, thought leadership, unrivalled networking and meeting opportunities, and for many mining operators and juniors, the unique opportunity to meet with a high number of investors in one place.”
This year’s event will merge the public and private sector together to debate challenges and opportunities around ESG, supply chain transparency and international cooperation that will allow mining activity to prosper and succeed. Mining Indaba Virtual will aim to tackle and cover topics including using mining to reboot national economies, embracing ESG in the boardroom, ESG investing in a COVID-recovery world, resilience, responsible sourcing of African minerals, the energy transition and the rise of gold in the pandemic.
With the event now in its 27th year and CPD certified, it is an unmissable opportunity to hear from industry experts and government leaders counting towards continuing professional development. The content sessions are free to attend, so everyone can access the pioneering insights and multi-stakeholder discussions normally reserved for paying delegates.
“We’re honoured to announce that we will have not one but four Heads of State. These are: H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, H.E. Mokgweetsi Masisi, President of Botswana, H.E. Julius Maada Bio, President of Sierra Leone and H.E. Félix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as South African Minister of Mineral Resources & Energy, Hon. Gwede Mantashe,” says Quinn. “These Heads of State will also join CEOs from across the value chain including Mark Cutifani, Chief Executive, Anglo American, Bold Bataar, CEO Energy & Minerals, Rio Tinto, Mxolisi Mgojo, CEO, Exxaro Resources, Fortune Mojapelo, CEO, Bushveld Minerals, Alfred Baku, Executive Vice President, Gold Fields, Mark M. Buncombe, Group Head of Metals & Mining, Standard Bank, Nicky Black, Director – Social & Economic Development Programme, ICMM and many more!”
Quinn believes that despite the pandemic, 2020 was still considered a good year for several metals, such as copper and iron ore. “Platinum group metals, gold, silver and rhodium all had some of their best commodities prices for many years,” explains Quinn. “Mining Indaba Virtual will be digging deep into the rise of gold during the pandemic, exploring the changes in gold production and trading and the effect of geopolitical relationships and lower global growth.
“I believe the industry’s response to the pandemic has been positive and has ranged from supplying communities with PPE and ventilators to setting up field hospitals in remote regions and guaranteeing wages in uncertain times.”
The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has been felt by industries across the world and mining is certainly no different. In tandem with the pharmaceutical industry, mining has been a key player in providing PPE equipment, community resources, employment security and critical supply chains to assist communities during the pandemic. Quinn believes it is an opportunity to transform how the mining industry is seen. “The pandemic has presented many challenges, but it has also acted as a catalyst for change within the mining sector,” explains Quinn. “Mining companies have stepped in to support communities in many African countries where the governments didn’t have the resource or ground-level expertise to respond quickly. This is a moment to change the perception of how the sector operates, over and above the extraction of minerals and metals.”
Looking to the future, Quinn is keen to embrace a digital approach and adapt to the current conditions of the world. “We’re proud to deliver a series of highly successful webinars and online content,” he explains. “The upcoming Mining Indaba Virtual (2-3 February 2021) and the Virtual Investment Programme (30-31 March 2021) will be no exception. In the future, we will certainly continue with virtual elements to our overall event strategy to deliver meaningful interactions for our community throughout the year, maintaining engagement and enhancing the live event.”