Q&A: Looking back on the 25th Mining Indaba

Head of Marketing Joanna Kotyrba looks back on what she believes has been the most successful Mining Indaba to date

Any event that runs for 25 years must be one that is worth going back to.

For Mining Indaba, held at the start of February in Cape Town, 2019’s instalment has been the biggest and best yet with 6,000-plus delegates contributing to a lively forum and helping to steer a path for what is a crucial industry for Africa’s overall development.

This year’s event also saw two heads of state in attendance – Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa and Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana – as well as several CEOs from leading mining enterprises.

Looking back on a packed week, we caught up with Joanna Kotyrba, Mining Indaba’s Head of Marketing, to find out more.

Africa Outlook (AfO): Now the dust has settled on 2019’s Mining Indaba, tell us how the event went overall? Would you define it as a success?

Joanna Kotyrba (JK): Even though the Investing in African Mining Indaba has been going on for 25 years now, the 2019 edition was the best one yet. It cemented and expanded on the successful revamp of the event in 2018 and attracted even more delegates from our key audiences – governments, major mining companies, junior miners, investors and service providers. One of the biggest highlights for the 2019 conference was the event attendance by two heads of state from Ghana and South Africa, with Nana Akufo-Addo and Cyril Ramaphosa respectively as well as 37 ministers.

And yes, we certainly believe the event was a huge success. Our job is to bring investment to the mining industry in Africa as well as all the key players for collaboration, dialogue and deal-making. We believe that last week we did just that, and in the words of His Excellency President Ramaphosa: “this platform provided by Mining Indaba strengthened our collaborative efforts aimed at regional integration”.

Investing in African Mining Indaba is an investment conference and we certainly accomplished the objective of acting as a catalyst for driving investment into Africa’s mining sector. This was illustrated in the more buoyant mood at the event which will have helped drive more investment into the continent. The event also has sustainability at its core and through improved engagement with community groups, we acted as the platform to overcome these issues.

AfO: What are some of the key statistics to take away from this year’s Mining Indaba?

JK: Mining Indaba 2019 saw well above 6,000 delegates attending, including close to 500 government delegates, 350 plus mining companies, 22 junior mining companies participating in the Investment Battlefield and the highest percentage of female speakers and moderators at Indaba to date. We also saw 212 companies exhibiting and 43 sponsors including Anglo American, Newmont Africa, Vedanta, South32 and Rio Tinto to name just a few.

AfO: What were some of the key messages and themes discussed during the event?

JK: There were several major topics discussed, which included:

·         Sustainability development of the mining industry in Africa (the core of Mining Indaba) and improved engagement with community groups.

·         Investment and the role Mining Indaba plays in driving it into Africa’s mining sector.

·         The Young Leaders Programme and developing and investing in young talent.

·         Collaboration, cooperation and consensus building.

·         The importance of diversity in the mining sector.

AfO: Did you feel a sense of optimism about Africa’s mining industry from the discussions and interactions?

JK: Certainly. A noticeable change this year from 2018 was the mood and sentiment amongst all delegates – much more optimistic and upbeat, signalling a positive shift in the mining industry and growing confidence globally in the mining sector, improved commodity prices and a more positive regulatory environment in South Africa.

Thousands of meetings took place and millions of dollars’ worth of deals were secured. We believe that Mining Indaba remains the number one deal-making forum for the mining community and always reflects the general mood and trends in the industry.

AfO: Are you already looking ahead to next year’s edition? How are you planning to make Mining Indaba 2020 the best edition yet?

JK: Yes, we have already started to work on the 2020 edition and can’t wait to run it again next February.

We are working on a few new features for 2020, on both content and technology fronts, however we don’t want to spill the beans just yet – stay tuned for more information! What we can say at this stage is that like with everything we do, the new features we’re currently developing are set to further improve our clients’ experience. We will also see an improved offering for lawyers and insurers at the 2020 conference, specifically focused around risk management and a greater involvement from Chinese investors and companies.