The 2017 SME Annual Conference and 119th CMA National Western Mining Conference kicked off on Monday morning in Denver, CO with a keynote address from Doug Silver.
Silver is portfolio manager for Orion Mine Finance, a private-equity fund focused on providing funding to advanced-stage base and precious metal projects. Prior to joining Orion, Douglas served as CEO and Chairman of International Royalty Corporation, a global mineral royalty company which he founded in 2003 and sold in 2011.
His presentation on Monday, “When are commodity prices going to rebound?” was the second time he has presented the keynote to address to SME, the first was in 2008. In his 2017 address, Silver looked back on the previous 10 years and the massive contraction of the global economy that resulted from the great recession that began in 2008.
Commodity prices suffered as manufacturing stalled and China’s economic growth slowed. The minerals industry still suffers from poor prices, a lack of investor interest and a general economic malaise. Silver said there are many causes for this downturn but the future of the industry depends on understanding and predicting the catalysts of change that will improve commodity prices.
Speaking of the future, Silver said the trends show that most commodity prices have hit historic low points and that the trends indicate metals are beginning to bounce back.
He said the next mining cycle will be driven a supply shortfall and that is now a good time to begin building mines,
While that was good news for more than 5,500 attendees of the SME Conference, Silver also noted that there remains significant challenges ahead for the global mining sector including an aging workforce and an insufficient number of replacements in the pipeline.
The 2017 SME Annual Conference runs through Wednesday with more than 120 technical sessions and more than 750 companies exhibiting.