I attended the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) annual meeting with our U-Michigan Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) chapter from March 2-6, 2019. The meeting is in Toronto every year, and a group of five U-Michigan students attended. Three of us are graduate students in the Simon lab group and two undergraduates joined us to network. PDAC is the world’s largest mineral exploration and mining conference, with over 27,000 attendees this year. People from large and small mining companies, government agencies, state geological surveys, investors, universities, consultants, and suppliers come together to meet, do business, and hire people at this premier convention.
I went to the conference to learn about the mineral exploration industry, network and gain contacts, and present my research at the student poster session put on by the Society of Economic Geologists. There are thousands of booths of vendors, companies, agencies, and investors at PDAC, and wandering around talking to people was a great way to get acquainted with the names and tools companies are using in exploration. I attended two short courses and learned about the geology of magmatic and magmatic-hydrothermal ore deposits and exploration in covered terrains. Our group attended sessions on sustainability practices in mining and indigenous community participation in countries like Chile, Ecuador, and Greenland.
We got to meet with our SEG chapter industry sponsor, Bob Mahin, from the Lundin Group’s Eagle Mine in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and learn about internship opportunities there and discuss SEG chapter events. We also had the amazing chance to meet with Marian Moroney, the Vice President of new exploration opportunities at the Barrick Gold Corporation, the world’s largest gold company. Talking with Marian about her career and how she got to be VP at Barrick was very interesting and inspiring, especially since she has been named one of the 100 most influential women in mining. Countries from all over the world were there to showcase their mineral resources and attract investment and people. It was fun to go to specific countries sessions and learn about everything going on there. There are also countless receptions after the convention ends each day with tons of more casual networking opportunities (and free food!).
The Student Minerals Colloquium was a student poster session where I presented by research related to mineral exploration. There were over 90 posters from undergraduates, Masters, and PhD students from around the world, but mostly from Canada. It’s a great place to showcase your work to people in the mining industry and it was the first time I presented my PhD research. It was a great session and my poster won 3rd place in the judging competition!
Overall it was a fantastic experience. I gave out and collected dozens of business cards and met people from around the world working in mineral exploration. I hope to do an industry internship during my PhD and made great connections for the next few years. I’m excited to go back next year!