Cape Town investment conference finally hears optimism after several gloomy years 

 Plenty of gardening talk happened at this year’s Mining Indaba, with bankers and miners largely agreeing that green shoots of recovery had appeared and a commodity spring was under way. 

The annual event held in Cape Town, which claims the title of the world’s largest mining investment event, has been a gloomy affair for the past three years. This time around, however, a cheery mood infused the conference as the commodity recovery seemed to gain momentum.

“The industry is coming back,” the new CEO of the Indaba, Alex Grose, said in his opening address. “We can look ahead with some optimism that the upturn is sustainable.”

The event itself had undergone several changes, he noted. Entry fees, long a source of contention, had been cut by up to 50%, and for some attendees waived altogether. Also, more focus was on Africa rather than just on the host country. The result was a 70% increase in attendance.

“You spoke to us, and we listened,” Grose said.

South African Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane took up the theme of a nascent commodity recovery in his keynote address. “Last year, we reflected that we were in a winter, and that we must prepare for spring,” Zwane said. “Now spring has arrived.”

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