There's no doubt that gold continues to be the strongest commodity in 2020. A rise in gold exploration and development projects – particularly in Victoria and in Australia more broadly, has bolstered the popularity of the yellow metal among investors.
However, supply and demand trends indicate there is a continuing and growing demand for other commodities, such as copper, mineral sands, rare earths, battery metals, and steel; Australia and other global mining countries will continue to fuel this demand.
Exploration in the last 12 months has also come back into the spotlight for many mining companies. While this has been a particular focus for the major and the mid-tier miners, the actual capabilities sit with the junior miners and exploration companies. Moreover, an increased interest and frequency of JVs and partnerships are providing larger companies the opportunity to capitalise on these exploration opportunities. This situation is further complemented by the vast number of land releases that governments in both Australia and around the world have put forth. All Australian state governments, with the support of pre-competitive data from Geoscience Australia, as well as international mining jurisdictions, have increased or recently made announcements for land releases that can support this pipeline.
However, while there may be a greater number of opportunities available, exploration has become more difficult due to the depth and remoteness of project locations. Geological constraints in depth and proximity have made it more difficult for exploration; the result of this challenge is the rise in innovative exploration methods, such as the adoption of machine learning, targeting AI, and the use of drones.
Considerations around alternative investment models for mining investment are also coming into play. Recent debates around the private equity model and decreased interest from general investors who are flocking to the likes of cryptocurrencies and cannabis are playing a key role in shaping the future of mining investment. As a result, alternate funding models such as royalties and niche mining funds are increasing in popularity.
Topping all of these trends, however, is the growing concerns around ethical investing and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations; raising questions from investors and financiers of 'what does it mean to be an ethical investor?' and 'is this sustainable?'.
The Exploration & Investment sessions will discuss current commodity outlooks including gold, copper, mineral sands and other battery metals. Whilst exploring rising ESG investment considerations and the impact that ethical investing and alternative financing models are having on mining investment. Discussions will also revolve around the growing popularity of M&A, JVs, and partnerships.