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Satarla at PDAC: thoughts and insights

Satarla's Dr Sarah Gordon and Rose Clarke were very excited to attend the 2022 PDAC conference in Toronto in June.

It was wonderful be at an in-person event after so long, and great to see clients, associates, and friends again – some of whom we had only ever spoken to and worked with virtually. On the final day of the conference, we hosted our drinks reception at the Arts and Letters Club, which provided a chance to chat, share a drink, and discuss our thoughts from the 3 days.

Here Rose Clarke gives some of her insights from the event:

1. Tackling the ‘taboo’ subjects: it was great to see many of the more sensitive subjects within mining being addressed, including a series on Indigenous People and multiple panels discussing subjects such as social justice. As a trained geologist at a mining conference, I think it is wonderful that the industry is moving towards a place where more human aspects are being discussed as well as technical and environmental aspects, which many in the mining industry may feel more comfortable addressing.

2. ESG in mining: as well as social topics, broader ESG issues were addressed throughout the programme, including a whole series of sessions on sustainability. Whilst many panellists and speakers seemed to agree that strong ESG practice is essential, there were a few slightly negative comments made regarding ESG. Some comments suggested that ESG would get in the way of the industry meeting future metal and mineral demands. Whilst this could be true if mining is not willing to adapt, incorporating sustainable mining practices offers a fantastic opportunity, and there were lots of exciting examples showcased at PDAC which prove this.

3. Changes to the way companies promote themselves: likely as a result of the above, it was interesting to see an increasing number of companies marketing themselves as ‘ESG leaders’ and ‘critical minerals producers’. This shows that the sustainability agenda is being taken more seriously by the mining industry, which is essential if we are going to address poor public perception and ensure we meet the demands on the mining sector in a responsible manner.

4. More emphasis on data: in addition to topics surrounding ESG and sustainability, topics such as machine learning and AI were also prominent at this PDAC. Again, this is highlighting the move across the mining industry towards more automated, technological practices, an exciting development which offers huge potential. This also highlights more innovative ways that mining can adapt to keep up with ESG demands.

5. Addressing the issue of diversity: PDAC have an equity, diversity, and inclusion policy, and it was wonderful to see a more diverse group of attendees present than is sometimes the case within mining. From a personal perspective, I would like to see less male-only panels with female moderators, although there were some wonderfully diverse panels. On the flip side, I would also like to see panels discussing diversity including a range of speakers from diverse backgrounds, as a way of showing allyship. Balance should be across all subjects if we are to make events truly inclusive.

This year was a great experience, and we are looking forward to attending more PDACs in the future, and hopefully getting involved in a more meaningful way!

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