Mines and Money London 2021

‘Just as you remember it, but better’ – RGN reports live from London for Mines and Money’s emphatic return to in-person conferencing

 


 

After two years of COVID-related disruption and a series of virtual-only conferences, Mines and Money returned to London over December 01-02 for its first in-person event since the pandemic developed in early 2020. Not to be deterred by fears surrounding the new Omicron variant, over 1,000 delegates flocked to the Business Design Centre in North London for consecutive days of in-person networking, keynote panels and fireside discussions had by some of the biggest movers and shakers in the industry. Over 1,500 meetings between around 400 investors and 80 mining corporates took place during the two days, in an emphatic return to physical conferencing. As a leading media partner of Mines and Money, the RGN team attended the event and provided live coverage from the plenary theatre as well as from the bustling exhibiting floor. Below is RGN’s breakdown of what occurred over the course of the two days at Europe’s largest mining investment conference. 

 

Outgoing Anglo American boss receives lifetime achievement award 

 

Anglo American chief executive Mark Cutifani was honoured to receive Mines and Money’s lifetime achievement award for his services to the industry over the breadth of his career at the diversified mining giant. 

 

Cutifani announced in November that he would be stepping down from his role at the helm of Anglo, to be replaced by 54-year old South African Duncan Wanblad, who is currently head of strategy at the company. 

 

In the opening session on day one, Cutifani dialled in virtually to the audience to deliver a presentation on the role of mining in the process of decarbonisation and the global green economy. 

 

“We need to halve emissions by 2030 to achieve 1.5 degrees of global warming in line with the Paris goals,” he said. “We are going to need many metals and minerals to achieve those goals, such as lithium and cobalt, along with fertilisers for the agriculture sector.” 

 

Saudi mines minister invites industry to Riyadh for Future Minerals Summit in January 

 

His excellency Khalid bin Saleh Al-Mudaifer, Saudi Arabia’s Vice Minister of Mining Affairs, Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, delivered a keynote address to the Mines and Money audience highlighting the strong growth potential of the Saudi mining sector. 

 

Mining is set to play a significant role in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 framework, which seeks to diversify the economy away from oil. Up to US$1.3 trillion of resource value could be unlocked through the plan to transform the Saudi mining sector, according to the government. 

 

“In recent years, Saudi Arabia has built a track record in metals and minerals extraction, backed by a new mining investment law,” Al-Mudaifer said. The inaugural Future Minerals Summit will take place in Riyadh from January 11-13, with more than 12 government ministers from the MENA region already confirmed. 

 

Mining CEO of the year goes to Endeavour’s Simon de Montessus 

 

Day one of Mines and Money London was rounded off by the Outstanding Achievement awards ceremony and subsequent drinks reception. Endeavour Mining’s Simon de Montessus was delighted to receive the coveted CEO of the year award, despite not being able to pick the award up in person. 

 

Another recipient was Alliance Bernstein’s Danielle Chagumira, who was given the Charles Kernot mining analyst of the year award. De Grey Mining was rewarded for its exploration exploits in Western Australia, picking up the discovery of the year gong. 

 

Royal Road Resources was awarded ESG exploration/development company of the year, and Golden Star Resources was given the corresponding ESG award in the development sphere. Congratulations to all the recipients of the 2021 awards. 

 

Mining can tackle poverty, Barrick’s Mark Bristow tells audience 

 

Barrick Gold president and CEO Mark Bristow spoke of the mining sector’s acute corporate social responsibilities within the regions and communities they operate in, during an eagerly anticipated fireside chat with ICMM’s CEO Rohitesh Dhawan in the afternoon of day two.

 

“Every nation in the world has the right to benefit from its natural endowment through the process of responsible mining. In particular, poverty eradication is a crucial part of our sustainability outlook at Barrick,” Bristow told the audience. 

 

The supremely experienced executive referred to Barrick’s industry-leading sustainability work across Africa throughout the last decade, including in the DRC. The company has helped deliver clean energy solutions and highly qualified, highly paid jobs to formerly underserved regions of the country. 

 

There was also a candid discussion about the difficulties had in Tanzania by Barrick’s former subsidiary Acacia Mining. “We set out to repair relations with the government and local communities by providing a transparent framework outlining how we share the value created by our mining,” Bristow said. 

 

A new ESG paradigm for the mining sector 

 

One of the dominant themes of Mines and Money London was the prominence of ESG in the global mining industry. Jamie Strauss, chief executive and founder of ESG solutions provider Digbee, provided an authoritative voice on the topic, in a memorable address to the audience. 

 

“The mining industry carries the hope of the world, but you would be forgiven for not realising this given mining wasn’t included in the recent COP26 climate conference,” Strauss said. “Mining offers so much, but it needs to prove its ESG credentials to remain credible to the wider world.” 

 

Speaking to RGN later in the day, Strauss outlined in greater detail Digbee’s ESG product offering to the mining market. “Digbee’s three frameworks are aligned to existing global standards and aim to remove confusion, raise credibility and open up avenues for miners to communicate their track record and ESG journey. 

 

“I think the debate on ESG has moved on quickly during the past 12 months. There’s now a realisation that every company – from explorers all the way up to the biggest producers – must prove their ESG credentials. Ultimately, these credentials will have an impact on the pricing of the commodities in question, and whether or not some trade at a premium to others,” Strauss explained.