It’s not a rival. But it does run concurrently. The 121 Mining Investment conference got underway this week to coincide with the opening of the annual jamboree that is Indaba.
Already the analyst daily notes are replete with dry wit and sly remarks about excessive alcohol consumption, parties, beaches and cricket. But one thing they are not joking about is the new 121 conference set up by the team that brought you Mines & Money for many years, whose most public face is Pablo Martin.
Indaba boasts an attendance of around 7,000 give or take. The 121 conference boasts far less. But that’s the point.
This isn’t a free-for-all scrum pitching every sort of sector hanger-on into one big melting pot in the hope that some sort of deal or deals will emerge at the end of it.
Rather, the 121 conference is all about the targeted marketing of companies to a specific audience.
Or looked at from the other point of view, it’s all about people with money coming together with real opportunity, without gatekeepers or the disruptive interference of service providers all over the place.
To put it simply. Companies are put in front of fund managers that have expressed interest in a meeting. Thus, among the more notable attendees are Bert Koth, the head of Denham Capital, a representative from PIC, the head of resources investment at Investec, a vice president of Pala, the head of resources investment at Nedbank, Frank Holmes, who needs little in the way of introduction, the well-known resources investor Julian Treger, now heading up Anglo Pacific, and so it goes on.
And while the money meets the miners in separate rooms in the palatial farmhouse that the 121 team have secured for the event, there will also be a simultaneous schedule of presentations from industry experts like SP Angel’s John Meyer and VSA’s Andrew Monk, and company directors like Brad Mills, Euan Worthington and Steven Bartrop, the CEO of Breakaway Investments.
On the companies side of the roster as attendees, there are plenty of familiar names, including Kibaran Resources, Caledonia Mining, Mark Parker’s Andiamo Exploration, Central Rand Gold, Galane Gold, Kefi and Weatherly International.
Most of the roster are at the more junior end of the spectrum, and at this rate it doesn’t look as though 121 will go anyway towards rivalling Indaba. But that’s not the point. The point is that for investors looking for an alternative to the behemoth at the Cape Town convention centre there now is one.
You can go there to hear presentations on the outlook for Africa, strategies for acquisitions, CSR, metals supply and demand outlook, sourcing funding, private equity and funding exploration, amongst others. But more to the point you can go for discreet private conversations with the mining company of your choice.