Situated in the Western Tethyan belt, Bulgaria is a major  player in the mining industry of Europe, with significant reserves of gold, silver, copper, lead and zinc. This is an exciting time for the regional mining industry as the adoption of world-leading processes and technologies are bringing a new dynamism to the sector.

Low costs, developed infrastructure, skilled local workforce as well as emerging changes in the government policies (in some countries) aimed at encouraging foreign investment, highlight the Western Tethys as an emerging and highly attractive area for international miners and investors.

To successfully develop mining projects in the Western Tethys region, companies need to focus on SUSTAINABILITY, RESPONSIBILITY and INNOVATION.

Economic, political and social environment is shifting across the region. Many countries are embracing opportunities for sustaining economic growth while reducing environmental footprint. As mining is historically associated with environmental risks, low tech and labour-intensive workplaces, its role in further economic development agendas is often questioned. Environmental impact of mining, labour conditions and relations continue to be a gating issue for miners.  Disputes and accidents instantly get media attention and governments are under increased pressure to adopt progressive policies.

In the foreseeable future metals and raw materials will be essential for securing long term economic growth and advancement of material intensive industries such as car manufacturing, electronics, constructions, energy. Across the region, jurisdictions continue to find ways to work with communities while securing supply of valuable commodities.

There is an urgent need for having an open discussion between miners, investors, politicians, academics and NGOs to address the contributions of the mining industry to economy, environment and society to the Western Tethys countries.

To address these issues and discuss emerging investment and cross-border cooperation opportunities MINEX Europe Forum will bring together delegates from the countries of the Balkans region as well as wider Europe and overseas, working in mineral exploration and in mining industry, industrial associations, universities, service and equipment suppliers.

It will also offer opportunities for the interaction with policymakers, key decision-makers and global investors, financiers and experts.

With this year’s special focus on the future of sustainable mining, exploration, legislation, financing and technical developments, the Forum will include discussions on the social consequences and benefits of mining, and on environmental questions. The sustainable development, as a modern management practice, goes beyond philanthropy and corporate responsibility. It is rather a way for companies to increase value in a long term as they identify, measure and reduce the economic, social and environmental risks and design successful solutions to local and global challenges.

We are always open to new ideas that can make the forum more topical, relevant and productive. In our humble opinion, the success of the Forum reflects the success of the industry. We live and work by the win-win principle. To those who share our vision, we are always ready for partnership.

Arthur Poliakov
Executive Chairman, MINEX Forum Secretariat