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No time to waste to stand out at Diggers & Dealers 2018

How quickly time flies when you have a battery metals boom underway.

In a few week’s time, the world’s mining industry will turn its gaze to Kalgoorlie-Boulder again for the annual Diggers & Dealers extravaganza.

Organisers of the mining conference – this year under new ownership for the first time since inception – will be hoping for a bumper turnout of well north of 2000 delegates for the three-day event (August 6-8).

Based on applications from more than 100 companies for 48 speaking slots, and organisers’ decision to erect a second (albeit smaller) marquee, the buzz at Diggers should befit the hype surrounding the battery metals hype.

Think back over the past decade and this boom matches the best of them:

  • The China-fuelled all-metals-are winners boom;
  • The iron ore boom when everything else fell by the wayside during the GFC;
  • Gold’s spectacular resurgence and the rebirth of Australia’s mid-tier gold mining sector;
  • The gold sector’s emergence as TSR kings; and
  • Lithium.

The battery metals boom is, of course, not just about lithium.

Investors are also crazy about cobalt that is not produced in the Democratic Republic of Congo, sizeable new discoveries of nickel sulphides, and quality graphite with a path to profitable production.

Copper and zinc are making comebacks, too, in part because there have been no significant discoveries of any base metal in this country since Sirius Resources found the Nova nickel-copper riches on the edge of Nullarbor in 2012.

But booms don’t guarantee investor attention. Even at Diggers, where all eyes are looking for opportunities, standing out is difficult.

It takes something special. During the iron ore boom, remember the rare sight of the then BHP and Rio Tinto iron ore bosses, Ian Ashby and Sam Walsh, travelling to Diggers. What a sight for sore eyes.

Then there was Sirius’ boss Mark Bennett, whose Nova discovery just missed the cut-off for Diggers speakers’ selection in 2012. Instead, Bennett carted around a “violin” case that looked like something out of the Godfather trilogy as he ran about the marquee. Only this violin case was full of sulphide-heavy core samples.

AngloGold Ashanti one year used the evening cocktail party in the marquee to run a fashion parade showcasing a stunning collection of gold jewellery. The Perth Mint brought its world-record-setting one-tonne gold coin for a visit and Silver Lake Resources usually had gold statues worth $1 million on display in its booth.

WesTrac, on top of sponsoring a top-shelf awards gala dinner, has set up a model-size mine site complete with yellow kit and hockey sponsor Ausdrill has engaged a few Hockeyroos to put delegates through their paces.

And seasoned Diggers veterans will already know which presentations are must-sees, whether for information, investment or entertainment value. Think no further than Evolution Mining’s Jake Klein, Metals X’s Peter Cook, BHP Nickel West asset president Eddy Haegel, graphite promoter David Flanagan, and Amanda Lacaze, who is being heralded for her turnaround of rare earths play Lynas Corp.

As almost every year, there will be a takeover announced on the eve of Diggers or maybe even during the event – hostile, friendly, surprise, long tipped? We will have to wait and see.

But if you are heading to Diggers, don’t leave it another week to work up your strategy to achieve maximum impact while in Kalgoorlie-Boulder – whether that be

  • maximum eyeballs on your booth;
  • a strong attendance in the auditorium during your presentation;
  • interest from the big throng of local, national and international media in your story; or
  • just a clear signal to investors that your company has arrived.

The countdown to August 6 is already underway. Don’t hesitate any longer.
For more information, contact the Cannings Purple team.