Mining compressed. A PDAC 2018 experience
The annual convention by Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) was held in Toronto over four days in March and attracted more than 25.000 international participants from all sectors of the mining business. From the smallest operator selling security services with drug sniffing dogs to huge national delegations and the biggest mining companies. Large panel sessions discussed issues like indigenous reconciliation with the mining business as well as issues of how trust was and could be invested and nourished in mining-community relations. Lill Rastad Bjørst and I from REXSAC RT5 (Affective economies: How are places, communities and identities constructed?) approached PDAC as a research site and focused on observation as well as interviews. Part of the work was directly linked to following the large Greenlandic-Danish delegation and its full-day dedication to presentations and discussions on Greenland mining futures.
PDAC offers mining ad libitum where mining is the “normal”. The complex assemblage of resources, skills, technologies and agents that are involved in the pursuit of turning rock into value indeed become visible and apparent.
During interviews, the questions of hope, luck, trust, collabotion and value took center stage. Often, I was approached by delegates who curiously looked at my convention tag and my university affiliation. When I pointed out that I researched one of the most important technologies of mining – HOPE – it only took a few seconds of reflection before the conversation was in motion. Many combined the relation of luck, hope, skill and persistence as pivotal in moving the mining sector.
Looking back on PDAC, the business of hope-making and the promotion of hope-technologies were quite important. Hope and potentiality seemed to be able to grow in even the smallest relation – be it between a hammer and a rock or a community and a truck.
Lill Rastad Bjørst, Aalborg University at PDAC