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RIU Explorers Conference reflects growing interest in resources sector

Record presenters and record exhibitors attract strong interest from large numbers of delegates.

RIU Explorers Conference packed venue
The packed conference hall during the opening session on Tuesday afternoon

The RIU Explorers Conference in Fremantle is reflecting growing interest in the resources sector with the conference hall packed for most sessions and exhibitors reporting strong interest in their exploration efforts.

Into its second afternoon, the annual event is setting new standards with record presenters and exhibitors while organisers estimate more than 1,000 delegates have already visited.

All of the 70-plus exhibitors are pleased with the response with many stating that the interest in their projects has been genuine.

READ: RIU Explorers Conference has packed program of presenters

The presentations have also drawn strong interest with standing room only in the conference hall for the opening speakers on days one and two and not too many spare seats for other presenters.

Of particular interest on day one was the presentation from Hot Chili Ltd (ASX:HCH) managing director Christian Easterday about the company-transforming Cortadera copper project acquisition in Chile.

This morning the presentation from Gold Road Resources Ltd (ASX:GOR) exploration manager Julian Woodcock also proved popular as he outlined the company’s rapidly advancing Gruyere gold development.

“Exciting” year for resources

In his opening address today, Patersons Securities Ltd resources analyst Xavier Braud forecast an “exciting’’ year for the resources sector.

He said this would be underpinned by strong fundamentals for key metals along with rising gold prices.

The fundamentals include declining LME stockpiles, increasing demand for base metals, an Australian dollar that was unlikely to strengthen significantly and the continuing green revolution.

He was particularly upbeat about cobalt ahead of lithium, especially in terms of the supply side with lithium being more readily available as opposed to the DRC and by-product dominated cobalt market.

Exploration is key

Braud said demand for both key battery metals would continue to strengthen with cobalt demand tipped to double by 2022 while copper would also benefit from the green revolution.

Exploration is key to maintaining this momentum, he said, with positive signs on that front owing to increasing amounts being spent.

READ: RIU Explorers Conference already setting records two weeks out

In another keynote address today ANZ senior commodity strategist Daniel Hynes was positive about the outlook for commodity markets despite “blustery winds” which have seen slowing global economic growth.

In 2017 and 2018 annual growth averaged 4% and this year, he said, it was expected to slow to 3.7%.

China major influence

He referenced China as the major influence on commodity markets, stating that the new economy in China was taking over from the old, which resulted in changing commodity demand.

Hynes said the IT sector was a major contributor to GDP and its influence was increasing, which resulted in demand for different metals than previously, including base and battery metals.

“China is a core part of global electronic supply chains and increasingly exports are tied to the prospects of gadgets.”

He said indicative of the re-engineered new economy was that credit intensive growth was not welcome anymore while another Chinese factor shaping commodity demand was the ongoing focus on air quality.

The event continues today.

For information about the conference, including the program visit - www.riuexplorersconference.com.au

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