A definite sign the tide has turned for resources is the flood of explorers wanting to take part in next week’s RIU Explorers Conference in the historic port town of Fremantle, Western Australia.

“It’s probably the best year we’ve had since we began running the conference back in 2002 with regards to interest from companies, delegates and investors,” Doug Bowie, manager of resources for conference organiser Vertical Events, told Stockhead.

High demand prompted Vertical Events to add an extra half a day and introduce poster boards for companies that were unable to secure an exhibition booth.

“Last year we changed to 15-minute presentations to increase the number because that was the first sign of things improving,” Mr Bowie said.

“This year even with 15-minute presentations we realised there were going to be a lot of companies that were going to miss out.”

The conference now kicks off at 1.30pm on Tuesday February 20 and runs until 5.30pm on Thursday February 22.

Nearly 70 companies will be either exhibiting or have a poster board and RIU Explorers is on track to see the number of delegates attending crack the 1000 mark.

Download the RIU Explorers Conference program

While there is still a large contingent of gold companies presenting, there has been a rise in the number of cobalt, lithium and base metals players participating.

Lithium and cobalt players have witnessed growing investor interest in the past few years on predictions of soaring demand for the commodities from electric vehicle manufacturers.

Cobalt Blue Holdings (ASX:COB), which is a pure-play cobalt explorer focused on bringing its Thackaringa project into production, will address attendees in the first session on Tuesday afternoon.

In the past year, the companys share price has rocketed over 500 per cent from a low of 14c to a peak of 89c. Shares are currently trading around 69c.

COB shares over the past year.
COB shares over the past year.

Lithium Australia (ASX:LIT), which is developing a lithium recovery technology, is presenting in the third session on day two along with zinc explorer Metalicity (ASX:MCT).

Analysts are bullish on zinc following the closure of a number of mines in Australia and Ireland and the cutting of production at others.

The metal, which is used to galvanise steel, is also benefiting from increased Chinese demand as the Asian powerhouse continues its crackdown on polluting operations.
Delegates will also hear from Craig Oliver Award nominees Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR) and Xanadu Mines (ASX:XAM).