PDAC-Miners' meeting to face austere reality of post-boom market

Fri Mar 1, 2013 4:04pm EST
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* Mining's altered landscape is theme of PDAC convention

* Industry's euphoria, driven by soaring prices, has evaporated

* New reality is austerity, creative financing, cost controls

* Strategies for adjusting depend on miner's development stage

By Julie Gordon

TORONTO, March 1 (Reuters) - The euphoria that dominated the global mining industry in recent years, when rapid Chinese growth sent metal prices soaring, is fully spent. With metal prices now stagnant and profit margins slim, budget cuts and multibillion dollar writedowns have become the norm.

In reaction, shareholders have demanded blood over the past year - sometimes in the form of a chief executive's head - leaving new management to usher in policies of cost controls and disciplined spending. Traditional equity financing deals have all but evaporated, leaving many small miners high and dry.

"With the fly-up in commodity prices, there was far more of a focus on 'let's just get the production out,'" said Rachael Bartels, managing director of Accenture's global mining group. "Now there is an increased focus on 'are we doing things the right way?'"

Getting it right in the altered landscape is a theme that will run through this year's Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada convention, opening next week in Toronto.   Continued...