Mining Capital's Alastair Ford looks back and review's Mines & Money 2016 in London.
''It took me quite a while to work about what I thought about this year's event, which I thought was interesting in itself'', says Ford.
''The reason for that was while although the mood was quite slow the overall sector mood wider across the industry is actually a lot more upbeat this time around than it was last year''.
Ford adds: ''For a while I was thinking that the mood at Mines and Money wasn't really reflective of the mood in the industry overall and I think the reason for that is budgetary reasons and other reasons to do with timing''.
''Although it was quite thinly populated, it was possible to find patches of optimism around. There were a couple of interesting moments when I came to realise that although it was quite thin on the ground this year, next year's event will probably be quite a humdinger''.
''This signs of life were there'', Ford says.
''I was speaking to Berkeley Energia [LON:BKY, ASX:BKY] ... and chief executive Paul Atherley's very enthusiastic as he always is. But what he said in particular that struck me was that in his most recent fundraising - $30 mln in November - generalist funds came in, and that's very significant. For the last few years, the sector's been held up with specialist mining money only. For someone like Paul to come along and say the generalist money is back, fund managers with no particular knowledge or interest in mining but are just looking to make decent investments are now interested in mining again - and that is a real bellwether moment.''
Ford also ran through some of the companies doing the rounds at the event and those that caught his eye, including the likes of Anglesey Mining plc (LON:AYM), Redstar Gold (CVE:RGC) with their interesting assets in Canada as well as Condor Gold PLC [LON:CNR]'s Mark Child.
''I was also interested to catch up with MGX Minerals [CNQ:XMG], a company out of Canada, which has got an interesting new way of producing Lithium from oilfields in Alberta. Although it's very early days for this project, given the interest in Lithium and cleaning up oilfields and the general thirst for new technologies ... MGX could make for quite an interesting proposition''.