Impressions of PDAC Part 1

The PDAC is over and I’m back home after the emotional trauma of Vancouver airport’s domestic terminal taxi line up. At 9.30pm last night, we passengers – we accursed passengers- were met by a 45 minute wait for a taxi. Whoever was handling the dispatch radio must’ve sent everyone home at 9pm for a nice bowl of hot soup. The Commissionaires, running around marshalling the traffic in front of the terminal, kept up a bravely-busy face with lots of whistling and shouting at cars, but studiously ignored us. Nobody did anything for the 200+ passengers standing morosely in line, staring blankly at an empty taxi stand, praying for a future that includes Uber.

If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.

I think they correctly judged that the level of herd-impatience was nearing volcanic levels. Best not get involved then, eh? Peep-peep, move along. I spent a grumpy, but vaguely satisfying 20 minutes tweeting pictures of the line up to YVR. To their credit somebody finally replied to me about 10pm saying they’d have a word with dispatch and see what could be done. The power of social media.

Mr Grumpy from Vancouver.

I was hoping to impart words of wisdom from my 4 days on the investor’s exchange floor; some gems of resource intelligence that I picked up from my networking. In fact, the main thing I picked up was a sinus infection that laid me low for a while. Four days of air-conditioned hell, after 5 hours in an Air Canada tin can to Toronto, and I’m now officially still fucked. The bastard infection muscled its way into my head and is busy having its merry way with my sinuses, my ears, my throat and my mental faculties. I spent a fun couple of hours on Tuesday lost in Toronto’s Path labyrinth trying to find a doctor. Party on. Any ambition I had to drink deeply from the PDAC hospitality well disappeared on Sunday as the snotty green mist descended in front of my eyes.

My new best friend.

On the back of my adventures in mucus production, I became a booth pariah. Word spread rapidly through the attendees. Stay away from 2943. The guy there is dying. People would approach me smiling, bearing intelligent, probing questions about the company and then it would happen. I’d cough, but not the gentle, throat clearing kind. More the comedy sketch wracking paroxysms of chest-heaving pain. Eventually, my colleague recognised the deterrent effect I was having on potential investors and told me to leave and seek urgent medical help, or make funeral arrangements. I think he was busier after I left.

What else did I learn? Well, the PDAC food and catering manager should be fired immediately or they should be locked in a room and forced to eat nothing but PDAC food for 4 days. Whoever it is, they’re doing the exact opposite to the Walmart “pile it high, sell it cheap” maxim. There’s not much of anything worth eating, and what there is, costs the bloody earth. I paid $22 for a grubby chicken Caeser salad, a bag of chips and a bottle of ice tea.

It’s lunch, but not as we know it.

The 4 chicken slices were very damp- I’m loath to say moist which would be too complimentary- and they were reclining less-than-seductively on a bed of incredibly wilty lettuce. A small plastic box of sad, brown cubes, masquerading as croutons, looked on resentfully from one side, tucked in next to the small pot of acidy-flavoured whitish slime that I assumed was the salad dressing. All in all, a profoundly depressing nutritional experience. What with being sick and then having to eat PDAC slops, I actually lost weight.

I bought the “salad” from the South Café outlet on the speaker room level. A brightly lit sign on the wall cheerfully shouts out the slogan “Eat Fresh, Eat Well”. Somebody should introduce the sign to the deeply unpleasant contents of the Café coolers and see if it still wants to hang around being so bloody chirpy. I learned my lesson. Next year, I’ll leave the convention centre every lunch time and eat closer to a doctor’s surgery.

South Cafe at the PDAC. Where food goes to die.

On a lighter note, the award for the sexiest rock samples at the show goes hands down to RNC Minerals from Australia. The gold-in-quartz samples from the Father’s Day vein at their Beta Hunt mine are far and away the richest I’ve ever seen in 30+years in the business. White quartz dripping with rich veins of gold, 1,400 ounces in one sample alone, close to US$2m in bullion, but specimen value to a serious collector or museum would probably be double or triple that. The samples are essentially a high class, geological burlesque show, all lacy skirts, stockings and frilly knickers but touch at your peril.

1,400 ounces of golden goldy gold. Hands off.

To cheer myself up, I indulged my annual PDAC mineral-buying habit. A gorgeous sample of doubly-terminated dog-tooth spa calcite with pyrite and galena, from the Brushy Creek mine in Missouri, now adorns my office shelf, reminding me of why I became a geologist in the first place.

I’m too sexy for my box, too sexy for my box…My own little piece of Brushy Creek

Part 2 coming soon, will deal with some actual industry impressions of the conference.