The annual Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention in Toronto has surpassed 25,000 delegates for the fourth consecutive year.

An enthusiastic crowd of 25,122 investors, analysts, mining executives, geologists, government officials, students and international delegations confirmed that the PDAC Convention remains a premier event for the mineral industry.

“We are thrilled with the turnout,” says new PDAC president Rodney Thomas. “The mood was very optimistic amongst attendees.”

Highlights from the PDAC 2014 Convention include a visit from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The Prime Minister and 49 federal parliamentarians attended to lend their support for the mineral industry. “The PDAC Convention has emerged as a critical venue for public policy discussions that our sector needs to have in order to be successful,” says PDAC executive director Ross Gallinger.

In addition, PDAC hosted 20 international mines ministers, a new record number. “We have seen tremendous growth and interest from senior levels of government from around the world,” says Ross Gallinger. “This is testament to the opportunity that the PDAC Convention provides for learning, networking and exposure.”

PDAC welcomed Peruvian vice president Marisol Espinoza, who toured the convention and took in a series of bilateral meetings. Peru also became the first ever country sponsor, a unique opportunity to highlight the country's interests in mineral exploration and development.

There were signs of renewed optimism among mining industry representatives present at the convention. The optimism was supported by a Reuters survey that shows that a majority of the small, Canadian-listed miners that help drive global mineral exploration expect to drill this year.

The same companies appear to be counting on an influx of funds first. More than half of the Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture miners and explorers that participated in the Reuters survey said they were very likely to seek financing in the coming 12 months. A majority also are at least somewhat likely to announce a 'merger of equals', often looking to tie up with a better-heeled rival.

The investment thaw so far is limited to bigger, cash-generating producers of metals and minerals who have embraced costs cuts and profits above all else, as well as a handful of smaller miners with high-quality, low-risk projects. The Reuters survey was conducted in late January and early February, online and on the phone. A random sample of TSX and TSX-V mineral exploration companies were asked to participate.

Now in its 82nd year, the PDAC Convention is more diverse than ever before. A number of events, including the CSR Event Series, Aboriginal Program and Investors Exchange garnered overwhelming support from the general public, reflecting the dynamic nature of our industry.

The Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) is a national association representing the mineral exploration and development industry with more than 10,000 individual and corporate members. The PDAC Convention took place from March 2-5 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

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