Canada’s pick-and-shovel crew find a silver lining or two

Mar 19, 2009 | 04:53 AM |

The world's largest mining convention was not a mother lode of pessimism, as some might have expected considering the majority of participants were junior and intermediate mining companies, many on life-support.

Undoubtedly, this year's Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) four-day conference in Toronto in early March was a more subdued affair than in recent years, when commodity prices were charging to all-time highs and financing options were plentiful.

About 18,000 people attended this year's conference, not too far from last year's record 20,100, and most convention booths were full, albeit perhaps with bargain hunters seeking the ultimate "buy low" opportunities. And while the many face-to-face meetings might be a prelude to a wave of merger and acquisition activity that's been predicted for the sector, it was gold that lifted spirits in the short term. The shiny metal reached $1,000 an ounce just before the conference and had many juniors talking up the precious metals components of their holdings. Although some juniors were predicting prices of up to $2,000 an ounce later this year, the outlook presented by conference speakers was less bright.....

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