The world of mineral exploration is getting ready for its annual international conference, despite some big changes this year to the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada meeting.
Normally, the multi-day event in Toronto draws thousands of participants from all corners of the globe. Because of the pandemic, organizers have switched everything over to a virtual format.
Felix Lee, PDAC’s president, says the move to virtual isn’t a complete surprise. Event organizers had considered going virtual long before the pandemic hit.
“COVID-19 has kind of meant that we finally got around to creating this online platform,” Lee said. “So I can certainly envision even after going back to an in-person event, that there will be some form of online component to future PDACs.”
He added that previous conferences were always a great place to network with other industry professionals, so they’re using an online matchmaking system to do that this year.
“The new platform that we have, it’s not going to be just like a simple zoom meeting,” Lee said. “We do have a way to actually encourage networking and the chance to meet people.”.
“The system will actually recommend people for you to meet,” Lee said. “You can reach out to specific individuals that you would like to meet and based on your interests or concerns you could be put in touch with people that are like-minded or share similar concerns or similar interests.”
Eventually, Lee said, the conference will return to a full face-to-face meetup of industry players, despite incorporating virtual technology.
“I don’t think even with the possibilities going virtual, nothing really does beat face to face,” he said. “We are corporeal creatures. We’re wired to see each other face to face, to touch and so on.”
“And so I think an event like the PDAC convention really is at its best when you’re in person.”
Last year’s PDAC conference was the last major global gathering before public health and travel restrictions set in due to the pandemic.
Toronto went into lockdown soon after the PDAC conference ended.