3 questions to Nicole L. Smith
Nicole L. Smith is the Event Director – Mining Portfolio at Spintelligent. She joined Spintelligent as a Conference Producer in 2006 and has worked on the DRC projects since then. During her 9 years at Spintelligent she has championed the DRC but she has also worked on projects in other regions in Africa as well as in other sectors like infrastructure and power.

What  is the overarching objective of the mining events in the DRC (iPAD DRC and Katanga Mining Week) and what was the vision originally?

 

iPAD DRC began in 2005 as an idea to facilitate an international trade and investement mission to the DRC, to explore opportunities particularly in power/electricity and mining.  What started then as a small forum, with about 12 companies exhibiting, grew in the years to follow to one of the only international investment events in the DRC.  As the DRC began to rebuild itself, in particular after the 2006 elections, we found that the content of the conference began to evolve in such a way that mining sector related issues and themes became central and we began to explore the critical infrastructure required to support the industrialisation of the industry.  By 2009, as the financial crisis began to abate, we received feedback from mining operators and suppliers alike who had been supporting the event in Kinshasa for 5 years, urging us to bring a similar forum to Lubumbashi in Katanga Province.  Therefore in 2010 we launched, after iPAD DRC in Kinshasa , the Katanga Mining Briefing – a huge success that has now become the Katanga Mining Week, a 3-day conference, 2-day indoor and outdoor expo with over 60 companies exhibiting.

What is the secret to the success of these events in DRC, which can be a very challenging environment?

We believe the success of the events we have grown in the DRC is twofold – firstly it’s about a team that is passionate about the DRC, with at least half of team being from DRC, and very committed to seeing this great country thrive and benefit from its enormous resources.  Secondly, we count the support from the industry as a whole as a reason for the success of the events.  If the key stakeholders, namely the Government and Ministry of Mines (including the Mining Cadastre, SAESSCAM, CEEC), the Chamber of Mines of FEC and all the mining exploration and production companies did not buy into our vision for what the iPAD platform can do for the mining industry, we would not have the events we have today.  It is clear that all stakeholders wish not only to dialogue and mutually find solutions to benefit the industry and the country, but they are also open to engaging with each other, their peers and experts from all over the world.  Interest in the DRC is maintained, as the country holds such promise and is endowed with natural resources.  iPAD is therefore a platform for Government to convey their message to investors and the private sector.  It is also a bridge between the private sector and government.  Finally it also includes the supply chain and therefore enables solutions providers to get in front of those who make purchasing decisions.  As organisers, having cultivated and maintained excellent relationships across the mining value chain in the DRC and with all stakehodlers, this has paved the way for a very smooth operation.  In the early days of the event, we had to gain everyone’s trust, but our team’s ethos and hard work was recognised by the industry and we are very grateful for the support that everyone in the DRC mining industry has shown over the years.

What is the future for the events?

We are very excited that after 10 years of bringing two international events -  iPAD DRC and Katanga Mining Week -  to the mining community of the DRC, we are taking the next step in the evolution of this annual institution and in 2016, we will offer one definitive mining platform for the whole of the DRC: DRC MINING WEEK.  DRC Mining Week will therefore be a cost effective annual gathering for DRC’s mining professionals that will combine the best elements of the two events that have been running for 10 and 5 years respectively.  DRC Mining Week will offer a high-level 2-day conference for C-level mining decision-makers including CEO roundtables and B2B meetings for value-added networking.  The event will also include an indoor and outdoor expo with product demonstrations and two days of technical workshops.  Site visits to mining operations will also be on offer.  The DRC Mining Week takes place from  8-9  June 2016 in Lubumbashi

Infos : www.drcminingweek.com

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