Can Bitcoin come back from hacking losses, exchange meltdowns?

Proponents of the relatively new crypto-currency, Bitcoin, have long boasted that the system was secure. Onlookers at the recent Vancouver Resource Investment Conference might have seen a company called Greenbank Capital (GBC:CSE) on display, with Director Mark Wettreich telling attendees that his company was betting on Bitcoin because, among other things, it was secure.

“How are you going to steal Bitcoins? Who are you going to rob? You’d have to steal them from the entire Bitcoin community because every transaction is verified by the entire community – it just can’t happen.”

Well, it did. Continue reading

The best mining and exploration panel of PDAC

Alex Letourneau of Kitco News interviews Brent Cook of Exploration Insights, Alex Davidson of Yamana Gold, Catherine McLeod-Seltzer of Bear Creek Mining and Lowell Copper, and Miles Thompson of Reservoir Minerals and Lara Exploration, at last week’s PDAC convention in Toronto.

This is an impressive gathering of credible exploration and mining industry figures.

McLeod Seltzer, the Bear Creek Chairman and Lowell Copper Director, seemed to give a nod to friends as she suggested that smart retail investors are seeing contrarian, long term potential in this sector. Mining cycles are quite simple, McLeod Seltzer believes: Sell when you can maximize value. That time will come over the next few years. Staying power is key for companies in the current environment, the accomplished executive said.

Miles Thompson, Chairman and CEO of Lara Exploration, impressed me. Thompson said higher grade, deeper mining projects with a smaller visual and physical footprint, could be the future of the industry. He complained that mining is a long term business, while financiers come and go on a daily basis; the trick for exploration companies is to build a sustainable business. Thompson said retail investors don’t trust the mining industry anymore, but good companies are finding finance institutionally. He thinks the recent rebound in junior mining equities will be sustained and “go up from here over the next few years.”

Brent Cook, Editor of Exploration Insights, said good quality discoveries are very hard to come by. He thinks a real increase in metals prices will be needed to justify the next cycle of mining projects, especially in the gold sector, if current production levels are to be sustained.

Alex Davidson, a veteran explorationist with Barrick Gold and later Yamana Gold, said he hasn’t got a clue if the bear market in mining and exploration stocks is over. He was however optimistic the industry will find potential in new areas.

“The term peak discovery is silly,” Davidson said.

Silver Bull stands out at the 2014 PDAC

Silver Bull Resources Stock

CEO Technician: Like a lot of other charts in the sector… 14 month plus basing process and the last three weeks have demonstrated signs of accumulation as it has risen from $.31 to $.39 on decent volume. We really want to see above $.45 to give confirmation that we’ve printed a double bottom. (Chart: Stockcharts.com)

Silver miners have failed to replace reserves over the past three years.

Tim Barry

Tim Barry

This from Tim Barry, President and CEO of Silver Bull Resources (TSX:SVB, NYSE:SVBL).

Barry and I met at his Vancouver office Friday, before the New Zealand born geologist, 37, flew to Toronto to present at this week’s PDAC, where 25,000+ are set to gather for the world’s largest annual mining show.

Tim told us his key messages for this year’s PDAC conference.

“Our Sierra Mojada project continues to move forward. We are well funded and we are de-risking the project through securing the permits required to proceed with mine construction, if warranted. The market is starting to understand that Mexico is still the best silver mining jurisdiction, despite recent tax changes.”

Silver Bull’s Sierra Mojada is a large project with 163 million ounces of silver and 2.1 billion pounds of zinc in the indicated category.

The project is capable of producing an average of 5.5 million ounces of silver per year with an 18 year mine life, according to a recently filed PEA. This is significant in that Coeur Mining, the largest silver miner in the U.S. by market, produces 17 million ounces per year.

“This is a project that clearly moves the needle for any of the twelve large silver miners and any of the intermediates as well.”

Sierra Mojada will cost $297 million to build with a 23% rate of return after taxes at $23.50 silver and $.95 zinc, the PEA states.

Recently the project received its water permits which provides 3.5 million cubic meters of water per annum and will be more than enough to meet the proposed mine’s needs.

Tim tells me surface rights acquisitions are expected in the near term.

Based on market conditions, Silver Bull will look to proceed with a Pre-Feasibility Study on the Sierra Mojada project in late 2014 or early 2015.

The Pre-Feasibility Study may envision a higher grade, lower capex, smaller mine scenario compared to last year’s PEA.

Roughly 5000 people live in the surrounding region to Sierra Mojada, a mining district in Northern Mexico for well over 100 years.

There will be roughly 800 jobs created during construction, and 250 ongoing after the mine is in production, Barry said.

“This will be the largest employer in the area by far.”

Barry thanked the local communities for welcoming Silver Bull and contributing their expertise to its development. For example, the company used local talent and inherited equipment to drill exploration core for $50 per meter, versus $120 per meter had Silver Bull brought in outside drillers to do the job (note the company’s consultants are still brought in to review the work in short bursts).

In addition to community support, Sierra Mojada has infrastructure advantages, with paved roads, rail, power and water right to site. The power grid will require minor upgrades, however.

The main criticism to Sierra Mojada has always been metallurgy. The deposit is in oxides, which can be more difficult to process, however Barry says the proposed SART solution is sound and that the company has had successful test results to date. The next step is to conduct a bench scale SART test under a continuous flow.

Silver Bull has approximately $4 million in the bank and could see an additional $1.5 million from the sale of a non-core African asset. This will be enough capital to last well into 2015, Barry said.

In 2013 the company was recognized for the prudent management of its treasury in a report by Visual Capitalist.

Barry says he is looking forward to a more optimistic tone at this year’s PDAC.

“This is a time to be very productive with meetings. The market is starting to show signs of life and this is when companies like Silver Bull stand out from the crowd.”

“Silver Bull is very cheap. I think the viable jurisdiction, size of the deposit, infrastructure, and very strong community support makes it a very rare scenario in today’s day and age.”

Silver Bull has a $65.2 million market cap with 159.1 million shares outstanding at press time.

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Silver Bull Presentation

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Disclaimer: Silver Bull is an advertiser and we own shares in the company. Please read Silver Bull Resources Inc.’s Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements carefully. Continue reading

BMO Metals & Mining 2014 coverage

In the mining sector, there’s an investment conference somewhere on earth every day of the year.

Well, it’s time for the 2014 BMO Metals & Mining Conference.

Screen shot 2014-02-24 at 11.57.32 AM

Kitco’s Daniela Cambone interviews Don Coxe at the BMO Metals & Mining Conference in Hollywood, Florida.

BMO’s event is considered the best attended and most productive institutional focused event of the year by the CEO’s we’ve interviewed.

Kitco.com’s dynamic lead journalist Daniela Cambone is reporting live from the three day event.

Follow @DanielaCambone on Twitter, and watch http://www.kitco.com/news/video/ for her exclusive interviews from BMO 2014.

 

Exclusive Toronto mining and energy investment conference this Saturday

I highly recommend readers who will be in Toronto this weekend to check out an exclusive and boutique investment conference happening at the Downtown Toronto Hilton on Richmond Street West this Saturday March 1, 2014, the day before the PDAC convention begins.

2631759-Hilton-Toronto-Hotel-Exterior-1-DEF

(and yes, it’s FREE)

The 2014 Subscribers Investment Summit is hosted by three of the junior resource sector’s most respected analysts with a combined eight decades of experience in Canada’s capital markets.

keith

Schaefer

My friend Keith Schaefer is one of them. Keith writes the Oil and Gas Investments Bulletin, which is coming off a tremendous year investing in the junior oil patch. Keith has reams of knowledge about Canada’s junior sector and subscribers like me rely on Keith to call speculative stocks like he seems them, in plain speak.

On the metals side, Eric Coffin of the Hard Rock Advisory, and Lawrence Roulston of Resource Opportunities, are co-producers of the event alongside Keith. These gentlemen know the high stakes early stage metals sector intimately, and operate subscriber supported publications that provide retail investors with insights and ideas to make profitable trades.

Each of the analysts will give presentations on their outlook and top picks for 2014. Even better, they have brought in management teams from many of their top picks to speak to conference attendees. On the energy side in particular, in person access to management teams is extremely rare.

This is an awesome and intimate networking and knowledge gathering opportunity for retail investors as well as pros in the space.

200 guests are welcome and 20 seats are still available at press time. Register here for complimentary access: http://toronto-sis-2014.eventbrite.ca

The last two events sold out so register today and see you there!

On an African dog and pony show with mining mogul Robert Friedland

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Robert, Friedland, Ivanhoe, Mines, Kamoa, DRC, Copper

Ivanhoe Mines executive chairman Robert Friedland at the site of the initial Kamoa copper discovery in the Katanga province, D.R. Congo – Feb 11, 2014. Photo: Govind Friedland

The reality distortion field, made famous by Steve Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson, is a personal intensity and vision so powerful it bends people to your will, convincing them of a project’s higher purpose. Isaacson describes this capacity for influence as a notorious trait of Steve Jobs, who, as founder and CEO of Apple, managed to ship mountainous innovation that consistently redefined the relationship between art and technology.

An interesting footnote here is the fact that Robert Friedland, one of the world’s most successful global resource developers, taught Jobs about the reality distortion field when Jobs was a college student in 1972. And he’s used it to promote a ton of successful mining ventures over the past 35 years—he’s found and developed them on nearly every corner of the globe. And became a multi-billionaire in the process.

I was actually on a trip with Friedland last week, touring three of his latest mining projects in South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). I didn’t realize how privileged I was to be included in the crew, which consisted of members of Friedland’s family and a few investors, until on his Gulfstream jet on the way there, his 39-year-old geologist son Govind looked at me puzzled, then joked to his dad, “What is a blogger doing here?”

A good question. Friedland has for decades been reclusive—even combative toward the media.

“I’ve been emailing your dad every two weeks for two years telling him that I look forward to joining him on a site visit in the near future, and that it’s going to be great!” I quipped.

“Aha,” said Govind, “The reality distortion field.”

The truth was that Friedland was headed to Africa to keynote the 2014 Mining Indaba in Cape Town—considered the biggest mining investment convention in the world—and had, finally, let me tag along.

In Cape Town, Friedland told an audience of over a thousand high-level investors and government bureaucrats that Ivanhoe Mines’ has three world-scale mineral discoveries coming soon, “to a theatre near you.”

We flew from the conference to Limpopo province in northern South Africa, where Friedland’s company spent nearly 20 years looking for platinum before finding arguably the best platinum ore body ever discovered: the Platreef project.

Ivanhoe, Mines, South, Africa, Platreef

Ivanhoe Mines CEO Lars-Eric Johannson (middle), Executive Chairman Robert Friedland (right). Near Platreef, Limpopo, South Africa. Photo: Tommy Humphreys, CEO.CA

A Japanese consortium gave Ivanhoe Mines $290 million for 10% of Platreef in 2010 and 2011. The first shaft is set to be sunk any day now, and once built, Platreef will be unlike all other platinum mines in South Africa.

Platinum production is a mess in South Africa. Sure, 73% of the world’s platinum originates there, but the average mine is a kilometer deep, where underground workers mine ore bodies just a meter thick, in blazing hot temperatures upwards of 122ºF (50ºC).

Conversely, the Platreef ore body is 24 meters thick on average—a freak of nature by platinum standards—which will allow for air-conditioned, mechanized labor. In fact, Friedland bets that most of the project’s underground workforce will be women; they are proven to be better at operating large mining machinery, he says.

While Platreef waits on its Mining Right, which is expected in the next few months, the company plans to publish a Preliminary Economic Assessment by summer. Financing for the proposed mine will likely continue to come from Japan, which needs the metal for catalytic converters and other new technologies. Social license is the project’s biggest risk, but the company has devoted substantial resources on the communication, training and jobs creation fronts. Ultimately, Friedland is hopeful the project will get built for a 2018 startup. Mining operations could last 100+ years, as the 28.5-million-plus-ounce platinum, palladium, gold and rhodium deposit remains open to the West and South.

This valley shows the Platreef project site. 800 meters below lies the orebody.

This valley shows the Platreef project site. 800 meters below lies the flat, thick PGM orebody. Click for more photos.

After touring Platreef, we flew to Lubumbashi in the DRC’s Katanga province (AKA the land of copper). Katanga is lush green country with reddish brown soil. Shacks, French signage, and smiling children lined the unpaved roads on which our motorcade barrelled forward—Friedland, of course, was in VIP car #1. Not far from Lubumbashi is Ivanhoe’s Kipushi Mine, and when we finally arrived there, we were greeted by a full percussion band.

“Promoting a stock is like making a movie,” Friedland once said. “You’ve got to have stars, props, and a good script.”

The Kipushi Project is a sight to behold. With copper grades as rich as 35%, and zinc around 40%, it was the world’s richest copper and zinc mining operation for the better part of the last century. If you don’t know mining, understand: these are absurdly rich grades. Kipushi was abandoned in 1993, and flooded in 2011. During the same year, Ivanhoe bought it for $150 million from controversial Israeli businessman Dan Gertler, who was under pressure from the Congolese government to do something with it. Ivanhoe’s been dewatering the mine since; drilling is set to commence any day now from 1200 meters below surface, targeting the Big Zinc orebody, a potentially huge zinc deposit that is open at depth. It may also contain copper and precious metals.

“This is a real zinc mine,” Friedland told investors at a Kipushi technical presentation, “and if we find high-grade copper down there as well, everything is paid for.”

Ivanhoe Mines, Kipushi

Andre Zeelie, Govind Friedland, and Robert Friedland at the Kipushi Mine, D.R. Congo

Five shafts are already built at Kipushi. #5 is still in excellent condition. “The heart of a mine is its main shaft,” said Andre Zeelie, Kipushi’s project manager and former Deputy Director of Mining at Oyu Tolgoi LLC.

“This shaft would cost us a billion dollars today,” remarked Friedland.

Kipushi, Mine, Ivanhoe, Robert, Friedland

Standing atop the 17 story shaft #5 at Kamoa overlooking Shafts #1-4 in the D.R. Congo’s Katanga province.

Early the next morning, we flew an hour west to Kolwezi, where Friedland’s crew had discovered Kamoa, the world’s largest undeveloped high-grade copper deposit. During the flight over, I quizzed Ivanhoe EVP of Exploration David Broughton, who, along with David Edwards, is credited with making the Kamoa discovery. Broughton explained Kamoa’s origin story: in 2004, an Ivanhoe contractor had surveyed the project, conducting soil samples and geochemistry tests that returned 500 parts per million copper. The figures weren’t nearly enough to get most explorers excited, but it was enough for Friedland to finance a drill program.

In 2008, their drill cut through high grade copper. Incredibly, under the surface with a rail line over top it, lay the first major copperbelt discovery in the DRC since the early 1900s.

“The one thing our group does is drill,” Friedland said. “We’re famous for it.”

Ivanhoe Mines, Kamoa, Copper, Mine, Discovery, Deposit

Robert Friedland, David Broughton and David Edwards at the site of the Kamoa copper discovery in D.R. Congo

Today, the Kamoa camp is bustling, with some 300 local workers on site. The company aims for a 2018 start-up, but needs a financial partner, such as a sovereign or major miner, to come in with the cash.

“This is a miner’s resource,” said Sam Riggall, Ivanhoe Mines head of strategy and project development. Assets like Kamoa—which might produce copper for generations—are long-term plays for the majors, hitting their sweet spot years after the beginning of operations. “The cream is over time, in the expansions,” Riggall added. “You simply cannot apply conventional DCF analysis to projects like Kamoa and expect to get a sensible answer on value.”

Friedland expects to sell part of Kamoa to the Chinese or Koreans. Requiring a smelter in Phase 2, the project is a behemoth. But Friedland told me not to worry.

“World class ore bodies finance themselves,” he said. “In fact, people fight to finance them.”

“This is the world’s richest undeveloped copper resource. Come back in 10 years and it will happen. The world moves forward.”

At the Kamoa camp, a South African mining analyst and I started talking to Friedland about his share price, which at the moment, was nearing all-time lows.

“Why do you keep pressuring me to promote the stock?” Friedland gestured to me. He turned to the analyst, “It’s your job to find investors and if you don’t, it doesn’t change my life. This is getting built. Seven billion dollars for the Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia and it was a thousand times tougher.”

Oyu, Tolgoi, Rio, Tinto, Turquoise Hill, Ivanhoe Mines, Mongolia

Robert Friedland’s 100 kilogram baby, the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in Mongolia, which started shipping concentrates in 2013.

Ivanhoe Mines’ shares are so cheap, in fact, that the $2.9-billion implied valuation the Japanese placed on the Platreef project is more than three times higher than the market valuation of the entire company today. In effect, this means Ivanhoe investors get Platreef at a huge discount, along with Friedland, the team, Kamoa, and Kipushi, for free.

On our final day of the trip, I sat at an analysts’ table during lunch and watched a heated debate over the company’s share price. One analyst was extremely negative. Others were more subdued. The consensus was that investors today are avoiding companies that will need more money and Ivanhoe undoubtedly will have to raise more cash to continue developing Platreef, Kamoa and Kipushi. This is why any investor considering the company should buy on a schedule, and be prepared to average down or participate in future financings by the company.

I’d already bought Ivanhoe Mines five times before touring the site. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I may have to do the same several more times in the coming years. But I’m reminded the sector is deeply out of favor, and I’m convinced it’s the right speculation for any investor wanting a call on Africa, platinum, copper, zinc, and a winning management.

IVN.TO, IVN, Ivanhoe Mines Stock Quote Chart

IVN has strong support near $1.50 with major upside resistance near the $2.00 level which was the price of the most recent private placement. Friday’s heavy volume ~8% rally was the most bullish trading session in IVN shares since September. (Stockcharts.com)

Since I returned from Africa, everybody’s been asking me what Robert Friedland’s like in person.

The 63 year old Chicago born, Singapore based financier radiates intensity. He thrives in front of an audience. It always seems like he’s in a hurry, and his staff know better than to make him wait. Despite his age and lean frame, he is intimidating physically, and has piercing blue eyes. He has been married to Darlene, who was with us in Africa, for 33 years.

At the same time, he’s funny, sometimes goofy. He wears his hat backwards, uttering, “Be cool, be cool.” He makes a Japanese-style bow as he leaves the room.

Robert, Friedland, Kipushi, Mine, Ivanhoe, Mines, IVN, Africa, DRC,

Friedland poses at a piece of equipment called Funkey at the Kipushi mine

On the long ride back to Vancouver from South Africa, I re-read Jacquie McNish’s book about Friedland, The Big Score. The first time I had read it, I was inspired to join the natural resources sector. But after spending time with Friedland, I realized the book fell short in its characterization of him. McNish paints a simple portrait of Friedland as a cunning stock promoter. I found him to be technically very astute on geology, and geopolitics, and more reluctant on the promotional front than I expected.

Friedland has attracted an impressive team at Ivanhoe. Manning the helm of every project seems to be a leader with a long track record in mine building and community relations. The Ivanhoe Mines organization is surprisingly flat, and although Friedland is likely to interrupt his employees’ when they’re giving important presentations, they’re not afraid to tell him when he’s wrong.

Robert Friedland made his fortune on quick flips, but has spent the past decade building mega-projects. My opinion is that he’s become more of a mine developer than a mining promoter. Building a mine is much more difficult than selling one undeveloped. I suspect he’s up for the task, for legacy reasons.

“Robert is a complicated man,” Riggall tells me. “His only vice is that he works very hard.”

At the Kamoa camp, as we are set to depart, Friedland shakes the hands of 300 workers and takes the mic to tell the men and women working there, “Build this great mine, and make your country great. Thank you and we love you.”

Robert, Friedland, Ivanhoe, Mines, Kamoa

Robert Friedland shakes the hands of workers at the Kamoa copper project, Feb 11, 2014. Photo: Humphreys, CEO.CA

The reality distortion field is back in action. Would you bet against him?

 

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Note: Travel from Vancouver to South Africa and all accommodations were paid for by the author, however flights to Limpopo and DRC and some meals were provided by the company. Statements made by representatives of Ivanhoe Mines were made in a Forward Looking context. Please read Ivanhoe’s Cautionary Note Regarding Forward Looking Statements carefully. Please note that any opinions, estimates or forecasts regarding Ivanhoe Mines’ performance does not represent opinions, forecasts or predictions of Ivanhoe Mines or its management.   All facts are to be verified by the reader. This is not an investment recommendation or advice of any kind. Please read our full disclaimer.

Why Canadian miners flourish in Africa

Tommy Humphreys, CEO.CA, Mining, Exploration, Minerals, Resources, Energy

Photo: Tommy Humphreys on CNBC Africa during the 2014 Mining Indaba convention in Cape Town, South Africa

I joined CNBC Africa during the Mining Indaba convention last week in Cape Town, South Africa.

Interviewer Svetlana Doneva and I discussed Canada’s leading role in mineral and energy exploration and development on that continent, which I credited to our intellectual property and technology, as well as the Canadian style of entrepreneurship, which lends itself well to the high stakes resources business.

We talked about West Africa now being the world’s low risk mining jurisdiction, with government’s there doing their best to expedite permitting timelines for new mines and keeping their promises about royalties and taxes.

I offered my two top picks of Canadian domiciled companies exhibiting at the Indaba conference, Endeavour Mining, which then traded at $.68 (last $.80), as well as Ivanhoe Mines (Then $1.47, last $1.54).

Watch the full interview over at CNBC Africa and thanks to Sid Wahi and Svetlana Doneva for having me on the program.

Link: http://www.cnbcafrica.com/video/?bctid=3179491820001

Disclosure: Long EDV.TO and IVN.TO.

IVN – Ivanhoe Mines Offers Attractive Technical Setup Ahead of Friedland’s Indaba Presentation

IVN.TO_Daily

IVN.TO 1 Year | Click to enlarge | Stockcharts.com

We think the risk/reward proposition for buyers of Ivanhoe Mines (TSX:IVN) is quite attractive from current levels (below 1.70).

From a Technical Analysis perspective, the multi-month falling wedge has dropped into the 1.50-1.70 support zone. Volume has also dried up which we like to see before a big bounce – $2.00 is a reasonable short term rally target.

Mining_IndabaWe also know that Ivanhoe Executive Chairman Robert Friedland will be presenting at the Mining Indaba conference in Cape Town, South Africa next Wednesday (Details).

We will be in the house for Mr. Friedland’s presentation.

The pressure will be on the Singapore based mining legend, 63, to inspire investors discounting the DR Congo and South African jurisdictions of Ivanhoe’s key projects.

South Africa in particular has suffered from the recent global emerging markets selloff.

 

Disclaimer: Author owns shares in Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. and therefore the article is not to be considered unbiased and fully independent. Please read Ivanhoe Mines Ltd.’s Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements’s carefully.

Continue reading

A Random Walk Down Howe Street

Cambridge, England is a university town that hosts a house of higher learning.

Cambridge House is a Howe Street abode, a dwelling where hope, fear and greed each have rooms on the same floor (and share a bathroom).

Highway directional sign for Bull market

When it comes to the search for a bull market, don’t believe all the signs. (Photo: Resource Investing News)

And floors and bottoms, of the TSX Venture variety, were something of a theme at this year’s Vancouver Resource Investment Conference, run by Cambridge House International.

I attended briefly on Monday afternoon, wandered the aisles, kicked a few tires and met a few friends. Even entered a new position partly as a result of research I did at the event.

Some random thoughts:

- More optimism than the last show I attended, where despair was the prevalent theme. A better turnout as well, albeit with a heavy industry presence. Notwithstanding the Venture’s 10% rise since the beginning of December, 2014 could be another choppy year for the juniors, making this walk down Howe Street a kind of two-steps-forward, one-step back shuffle, with potholes along the way. That makes a company’s cash position – something I touched on in this Vancouver Sun article written after the January 2012 show – critical.

- I often wonder why more CEOs don’t attend to stand behind their company (tables), particularly those whose companies are based in Vancouver. One of the exceptions Monday was Pretium CEO Bob Quartermain, who was pressing the flesh and speaking to shareholders at Pretium’s booth. The stock has shown signs of life, more than doubling since November, but the controversy over the amount of high-grade gold in Pretium’s Valley of the Kings zone in northwestern B.C. continues to weigh on shares. With a very large short position, PVG is a stock to watch.

- Spotted a dressed-down John Greenslade, former CEO of Baja Mining, one of the more striking examples of shareholder destruction in junior mining in recent years. Baja used to be a regular at the show, and before it ran out of money and was pummelled in a proxy fight, I remember a Baja “workshop” where the well-paid Greenslade waxed eloquent on the blue sky potential of the company’s Boleo copper project in Mexico. The stock, facing delisting from the TSX (that’s right, Canada’s main board), is at 2.5 cents, down from 10 cents a year ago and much greater heights in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. A cautionary tale for any junior mining speculator.

- Peregrine Diamonds didn’t have a booth, but I spotted president Brooke Clements on the floor, chatting with whomever was manning the Diamcor booth. Didn’t get a chance to speak to Brooke, but I did chat with Peregrine fan John Kaiser after his seminar. Takeaways: he doesn’t rule out De Beers taking another run at Chidliak and also mentioned Dominion Diamond as a possible suitor down the road. Also, he said he doesn’t particularly like coloured diamonds and he downplayed the coloured gems recovered from CH-6, which he described as a “spectacular kimberlite.” Peregrine isawaiting a diamond valuation on its 1,124-carat parcel of CH-6 gems.

Kaiser covered alot of ground during his talk, including (but not limited to):
- how the major banks are trying to drive the junior retail investor out of the market;
- his belief that the juniors are bottoming and we’re at the beginning of a “selective bull market”;
- his searchable database of junior mining stocks and how he could use it to “terrorize” any exhibitor because he knows more about their project than they do;
- his favourite junior mining stocks – he went through alot of picks, machine-gun style, and I didn’t write them down – and area plays (including the Athabasca Basin).

As for the new position, I’ll write about that in a subsequent blog post.

Disclosure: I own shares of Peregrine Diamonds. Please read my disclaimer.

The post A Random Walk Down Howe Street first appeared on WorldofMining.com

Frank Giustra recommends Tell to Win by Peter Guber

Frank Giustra (Photo: Ken Stewart, CEO.CA)

Frank Giustra (Photo: Ken Stewart, CEO.CA)

After the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference on Monday evening, I somehow found myself in a conversation with mining, energy and movie mogul Frank Giustra and economist John Mauldin and I wanted to share a few of things that I learned listening to the two men discuss a wide range of topics.

Giustra said he never had a plan in life. He credits ambition and more importantly a positive attitude for his good fortune in business over the years.

Mauldin echoed Giustra’s sentiment about planning. He said he has authored 5 year plans for his own business life for 38 consecutive years, and that he is 0/38.

I asked Mauldin what he felt was the key to great direct response copy, to which he responded: you have nothing without thorough research and facts.

Giustra recalled cutting a deal with Hollywood movie executive Peter Guber, whom Giustra considers one of the best storytellers in the world. Guber apparently got the better of Giustra in that deal, however they became friends. Giustra highly recommends his book, TELL TO WIN, available on Amazon. I just ordered a copy.

Ross Beaty reflects on five years in the renewable energy business

Copper and silver mining legend and environmentalist Ross Beaty joined Cambridge House Live at the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference in Vancouver this past Sunday.

Beaty is best known for founding Pan American Silver, one of the world’s largest primary silver producers, and the Lumina Copper franchise, one of the most successful copper exploration groups ever, which returned greater than 80x to early investors (Backstory here).

Ross doesn’t expect higher metals prices in 2014, however he thinks valuations for resource equities are compelling. Regarding the earlier stage mining ventures, he commented, “My gut feeling is another sloshy year. Fairly whippy. You’ll get some great wins and lots and lots of continuing misery among the juniors.”

Ross discussed his clean energy company, Alterra Power, which was founded five years ago with a geothermal focus. Beaty says he’s learned some hard lessons about the risks of drilling geothermal wells which is why he’s been diversifying the company into Wind, Solar, and Hydro, away from Geothermal.

“Having been bruised a fair bit in building the company to the point that Alterra is a sustainable, long term business that will stand on its feet for hundreds of years… We produce enough power to almost satisfy a city the size of Vancouver… We’re a decent sized company, but it’s not a simple business.”

Alterra Power Corp trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol AXY.

Related: Ross Beaty CEO.CA Interview

Ross McElroy Wins PDAC’s 2014 Bill Dennis Award for Patterson Lake South Discovery

Edward Thompson, PDAC Awards Committee Chair; Robert Quartermain, President & CEO, Pretivm Resources Inc., Bill Dennis Award Recipient (Image: Republic of Mining)

Edward Thompson, PDAC Awards Committee Chair; Robert Quartermain, President & CEO, Pretivm Resources Inc., Bill Dennis Award Recipient (Image: Republic of Mining)

Fission’s President, COO and Chief Geologist, Ross McElroy, has won the highest accolade for Canadian exploration success this year handed out by the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC).  The award known as the Bill Dennis Award traces its roots back to 1977 and is handed out to a person(s) who either make an important mineral discovery or contribute significantly to the prospecting and exploration industry.  Former winners include Charles Fipke and Walter N. Baker (the “godfather” of the Hemlo mining camp).

Mr. McElroy was given the award as a result of his leading the team that discovered the Patterson Lake South uranium deposit which is one of the most significant uranium discoveries made in recent memory.

McElroy commented: “It takes a team to make a discovery and I’m delighted to have won this award on behalf of Fission. 2013 was an incredible year for us and I’m thrilled that the industry has taken note of our accomplishments and chosen to single us out for the success at Patterson Lake South. I would like to thank my technical team for all their hard work and dedication and to thank PDAC for recognizing our efforts and success.”

Congratulations to Mr. McElroy and his team.

Read: Fission’s Ross McElroy, Wins PDAC Award for Canadian Discovery and Prospecting Success

Look a promoter in the eye at VRIC14

Bob Quartermain CEO

Pretium Resources CEO Bob Quartermain shows off high grade drill core from his company’s Brucejack project at a past Cambridge House conference.

Junior mining community organizers, Cambridge House International, are set to host their annual blockbuster Vancouver Resource Investment Conference at the Vancouver Convention Centre this January 19-20, 2014.

There are roughly 300 junior mining companies exhibiting (full list), ranging from explorers to developers and even some producers, each likely to be prospecting for investors at Vancouver’s largest resource sector trade show.

The speakers list for Cambridge House’s flagship event is particularly compelling this year. Veteran investors Frank Giustra, Ned Goodman, Ross Beaty, Brent Cook, Rick Rule, and Frank Holmes are just a few of the headliners.

Registration is free online or $20 at the door. Head on over to CambridgeHouse.com to register.

Joe’s rant never gets old.

Liquid Dynamite For Tiny Companies: LD In LA

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LOS ANGELES — Just back from getting my batteries charged at LD Micro in Bel Air.

About 240 companies — four or five gold | a dozen energy | and the rest Biomedical, Internet, retail, wholesale, financial, media — and nearly all below $400 million market size.

Let me say that the four-track conference is “all companies all the time.” [Editor: You just said it.] Sure, LD splays out the food at the Luxe Sunset in Bel Air, employs wanna-be actresses (and actors?) as hosts, guides and serves excellent coffees and teas.

Micro cap bufet

Micro cap buffet

At least one of LD’s parties, my lips are supposed to be sealed, was epic. I left in the middle, which is where epics (literary tradition) are designed to begin.

The LD tracks are the thing. The 30-minute one-on-ones, too. Very early morning through 5:30 p.m. for three days. Each company gets 25 minutes. I am drenched with data and promises.

The oneskies take place everywhere on the hotel property, all numbered on patios, in the bar, on the terrace. The Luxe in Bel Air sits just below Getty Museum and is a smart little walk up Sunset to Brentwood, or to Beverly Hills. I used to go there when the hotel was under different management 14 and 12 years ago, with my family. Great pool, huge rooms, lots of sun and neat outdoor breakfasts surrounded by Hollywood media execs all duded up with no socks, fancy loafers and high-heels.

This time, I ran into old acquaintances, including Vinny Jindal, a Los Angeles hip cat who is running a private investor-relations network powered by technology: it is called Stockr. Vinny and his wife just had a baby. He is one to watch. Vinny, that is, and let’s hope the baby. Stockr is, as stated, private. I just joined the free network, which connects companies, analysts, investors, media professionals and so on.

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