A. E. (Ted) Turton, broker, promoter, financier and mentor to many, has died age 84. Mr. Turton stood out in the investment business; he cared more about people and their projects than about accumulating wealth. From time to time he could be a rascal, but he was always a gentleman. Loyal, humble and dignified, he treated everyone he met as his equal. Many successful Vancouverites owe their success to Mr. Turton.
Family and friends gathered to celebrate the life of this unusual man at a funeral service on Jan. 11, followed by a reception at the Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club, where he was a member.
Mr. Turton lived by the phrase, “Stick and stay and make it pay,” but always it was the people he supported first, then their projects. Knowing the individuals was often enough for him to finance a company, even if no one else thought so, and such was the case with Brenda Mines Ltd. When Mr. Turton became involved with Brenda it was a highly speculative mining company, but he knew and trusted its two geologists, Morris Menzies and Bern Brynelsen, both of whom had worked at Noranda Inc. The men had tried to convince Noranda to take on the Brenda property, but failed. That did not matter to Mr. Turton. He conducted the company’s first financing. Brenda later turned out to be a massive, low-grade, open-pit copper mine that reached production in 1970.
Alfred Edward (Ted) Turton was born on May 31, 1930, to parents Alfred and May, a working family in Brandon, Man. Growing up, the young man took a job at a local clothing store, but it did little to satisfy his entrepreneurial spirit. At age 20, he left Brandon for Edmonton, where he worked for the Morris Fraser organization as a broker. He quickly learned about and fell in love with the investment business.
Mr. Turton spent a decade in Edmonton, but he wanted to do better deals in bigger markets. So, in early 1960, as told in Michael Caldwell’s book, The Wizards: Millionaire Magicians of the Vancouver Stock Market, Mr. Turton left Edmonton. The Wizards devoted an entire chapter to Mr. Turton, aptly titled ‘Some nice guys finish first.’ He spent a few months in Dallas before moving on to Vancouver, where he set up his own broker-dealer, A.E. Turton & Company.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family.
Mr. Turton and Mr. Brown paid $23,000 in 1968 for a small brokerage firm called Turton & Co. which became Canarim Investment Corp., and through many acquisitions grew into the largest independent bank in the country, Canaccord Financial. Today the bank has over 1,500 employees and revenues in excess of $797 million with global reach.
Among Mr. Turton’s biggest investment wins was Pyramid Mines which went from $0.25 to over $22 almost overnight on a rich lead-zinc discovery in the Northwest Territories. Ted was ultimately given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1994 Howe Street Awards for his involvement in Pyramid.
Millions around the world have been inspired by Nelson Mandela’s dedication to freedom and human dignity. After being imprisoned in Apartheid South Africa for 27 years, he came out and created a free, united country based on dialogue between all citizens. Humanity is forever indebted to him. RIP Madiba
“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.” - From A Long Walk to Freedom: Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
“There was no firm like it. And there probably won’t be another one like it. It was tough to get into and tough to get out. Hotel California.”
I’ve heard the name, Gordon Capital, a few times in my career. I find when talking about Gordon Capital, it is often complimented with a fond smirk and a twinkle in the eye of the story teller. For those that have not heard of Gordon Capital, the firm created the ‘bought deal’ financing in the 80′s and revolutionized the Canadian brokerage business forever. I came across this article written for the Globe and Mail in 2009 and it paints a colorful picture of that transformative firm.
Among the Gordon alumni are:
Donald Coxe – Chairman Coxe Advisors Thomas Allen – former Chairman of Westwind Capital, Director of Thomas Weisel Partners Bob Cross – former Chairman and CEO of Yorkton, Chairman of Bankers Petroleum and B2Gold Jeff Green – Partner Jovian Asset Management and founder of Paradigm Capital Brad Griffiths – co-founder of GMP Securities
Pretium’s Brucejack Camp located 65km north of Stewart in British Columbia
Pretium Resources (PVG:TSX) released more stellar high-grade results from its Brucejack project located 65km north of Stewart, BC. The results come from the resource zone known as the Valley of the Kings which hosts the company’s world-class 6.6 million ounces of gold at an average grade of 13.6g/t gold. The Company is currently performing an underground bulk sampling program in order to complete a feasibility study on the project after releasing its pre-feasibility study in June 2013 which showed a robust project with a pre-tax NPV(5%) of US$2.7 billion. The highlights of this batch of assays include 5.18m of 1,065g/t gold including 0.5m of 10,850g/t gold.
These types of results highlight the fact that the system is compiled of narrow and extremely high-grade veins with the remainder being lower grade material. In order to improve the economics in the feasibility study even further, the company is working to show there is more continuity of grade within the system. The program is nearing its 15,000m target and is currently at 13,750m of total sampling. They have removed roughly 8,600 tonnes of the 10,000 tonne they are allowed to extract in this type of sampling.
The all-star tech incubator, Difference Capital (see Tommy’s article), announced the closing of a $45-million financing which brings the total funds raised in the previous two financings to $101-million and a total of $185-million since May 2012. You don’t see many junior miners able to raise that kind of money, especially in this market. So, what’s the catch? Two words, The Wek.
Michael Wekerle – former head of trading at GMP and co-founder of Difference Capital
The top ten political foibles by former Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi
Born in 1936 Silvio Berlusconi started out as a vacuum salesman by day, and earning a reputation by night singing at nightclubs on cruise ships. In 1961 he graduated from law school, and started a residential housing construction company based in his native Milan.
In 1978 he began to amass his fortune, establishing a local television company, Mediaset, that would later grow into Italy’s largest media empire. It now controls three of the largest private television stations. Currently Berlusconi’s holding company Fininvest, owns Mediaset, Mandadori (Italy’s largest publishing house), newspaper ll Giornale, and AC Milan football club, and many other smaller companies. Berlusconi’s current fortune is estimated at $9 billion.
In 1993 Berlusconi founded the political party Forza Italia, named after the chant “Go Italia”, heard at AC Milan soccer games. Forza Italia would later ally with political parties National Alliance and Northern League. Under this alliance in 1994, Berlusconi was elected Prime Minister with the hope that his business acumen could revitalize Italy’s failing economy.
Over the past two decades Berlusconi has become one of Italy’s most formidable politicians. He has led a political career rife with scandal and audacious remarks, outraging the Italian public and on occasion, other nations. With Berlusconi’s party up for re- election on Monday he would take on the position of Economic Minister, with Angelino Alfano as the Prime Minister.
In light of these events its time to review his top ten political blunders of years past.
“A gold mine is a hole in the ground with a liar standing on top of it.” Mark Twain
It seems that Canadian gold mining company, Bandera Gold Ltd. (CVE:BGL), has been caught up in an elaborate scam. In 2005 Bandera paid $6.5 million to Mexican mining firm Minera San Jorge for a 60% stake in the two Cinco Minas mines located outside Guadalajara, but never received the paperwork proving their stake.
Southridge Minerals, subsidiary of a parent company with a dubious past, Southridge Enterprises, had also claimed ownership of the mines, displaying their concession certificate on their website. However Southridge’s involvement with the mine has come under great suspicion after an independent report by International Safety and Security Firm exposed with video and photographic evidence that “the Cinco Minas mine, equipment, and mill has been completely non-operational for some time (presumably many years)”. This runs contrary to Southridge’s website which shows video of a mine busy with activity.
The former Chief Executive of Southridge Enterprises, Alex Smid, has been touted by pinkinvesting.com as a “seasoned criminal involved with the Mexican and Russian Mafia whose unscrupulous practices date back to 1980, his criminal feats include extortion, blackmail, loan sharking, counterfeiting, prime bank fraud, and identity fraud”. Smids current location is unknown.
It is astounding to witness a group of 32 entrepreneurs from different parts of the world come together in one place. The energy of the room where a meeting of the minds took place is unlike anything I have ever experienced.
There was a small, but incredibly important take-away that I got after observing and participating in a mastermind session over the weekend. While each individual marked a presence when they entered the room, I looked for a clue as to what made them different. Was there a behavioural pattern in which natural leadership emerges?
Everyone in this room has had some form of success. Whether it was having 2,800 real-estate investment properties or being the personal coach to Tony Robbins, this group had a simple unique character trait. It was subtle and almost went unnoticed. Whenever someone paused to think, to take a second and gather their thoughts, they simply looked up to the sky instead of down to the ground.
Use it, because it could help you judge a CEO’s confidence in what it is that they are doing with your investment.
Disclaimer: As a CFA Level I Candidate, I am required to disclose the following: I am not qualified to be giving investment advice and this should not be taken as such. The contents of this article are an opinion drawn from material public information. I reserve the right to actively trade the companies named in this article without providing notice. I advise you to do your own due diligence and talk to a licensed investment advisor before buying or selling any security. All facts to be verified by the reader.
CEO Ivan Glasenberg, a superstar trader in the commodities industry, is being catapulted into the media spotlight after his company, Glencore, is to merge with Xstrata. Though the merger stands to make this billionaire an even wealthier one, it may come at a price not measured in dollars.
Having made past deals with Apartheid South Africa, Ayatollah Khomeini, and being suspected of tax evasion in destitute regions of Zambia, Glencore is a company with a mixed reputation. This sentiment is felt strongly by Glencore’s hometown of Rüschlikon, which is having second thoughts about using the enormous tax windfall Glencore has afforded them, as they feel the money is “tainted”.
In light of the attention the merger will bring, Glasenberg has retained UK law firm Shillings, notorious for issuing far reaching gag orders on media, though such a move may only further entice curious reporters, and media people alike.
The Atascosa Ranch is walking distance from the US/Mexico border, just outside of Nogales, Arizona. It’s owned by Dave Lowell, an affable 84-year-old man who’s spent the past 75+ years hunting for buried treasure. Today, he’s known as the most successful mining explorationist of the past century, having discovered an unprecedented seventeen ore bodies, including the world’s largest copper mine. Last week, Lowell and his wife, Edith, invited us to Atascosa for lunch. We brought our cameras and sound equipment, and recorded a conversation with one of mining’s greatest outliers of all time.
J. David Lowell was born February 28, 1928, to a modest family, not too far from Atascosa (the ranch belonged to his uncle at the time). Lowell was first exposed to mining at age 7, when his father, a mining engineer, put him to work. When Lowell pursued his college education at Arizona and then Stanford, he concurrently worked at mines and on exploration programs. Not too long after he had completed his degrees, Lowell had become one of the foremost experts on copper deposits.
Lowell is probably best known today for co-authoring the Lowell-Guilbert Model, a guide to large, low-grade porphyry copper deposits published in 1970. Throughout most of his career, Lowell used the model to locate some of the most profitable mineral finds in the history of mining, such as the 1981 discovery of the Escondida deposit in Chile. Containing hundreds of billions of dollars worth of ore, Lowell and his colleagues found it at the cost of a mere $2.5 million.
Escondida at night, the world’s largest copper mine, and a Lowell discovery. Photo: BHP Billiton
Over lunch of elk tacos and Mexican fried beans, Lowell was modest about his success. But he offered a theory as to why major mining companies don’t make discoveries as efficiently as prospectors like Lowell. Major mining companies have a “don’t make mistakes” approach, which “doesn’t fit at all with the profile of the mad scientist who discovers mines,” he said. “When something like one in five hundred good-looking targets will become a mine, a successful explorationist needs permission to be wrong four hundred and ninety-nine times.” Here he paused. “If there’s anything my career says about me, it’s that I’m very good at being wrong.”
Despite being a pro about being wrong, Lowell does admit to limitations. Having “no taste for shareholder relations,” he recalled giving a presentation to investors in 1995 that resulted in the share price of one of his companies falling from $35 to $15 during the time it took him to finish his talk. The shares recovered shortly thereafter.
On the changing impact of technology on mineral exploration over the span of his lifetime, Lowell holds that it’s been “very little.” He believes that “geophysics has been very oversold,” instead favoring “drill holes and geochemistry… The best guide to ore is ore.” Lowell also voiced doubts that technology would be able to revolutionize mineral exploration the way 2D and 3D Seismic has for the oil and gas business, at least in the near future.
The commodities super-cycle is intact, Lowell believes. There’s elasticity in mining companies’ profit margins, he told us, but not in the demand for the underlying commodities they produce. For that reason, large, undeveloped, low grade copper deposits will need to be put into production, sooner than later.
When asked about his favourite jurisdictions for exploration currently, he told us he favors Chile, Peru, New Guinea, Mongolia, Nevada, and some parts of Africa. But he qualified his dispositions by recalling that attractive jurisdictions are constantly changing. “Places like Arizona were very attractive as a place to explore for copper deposits, and now Arizona is about as bad as Venezuela,” he chuckled.
When we moved on to the role luck has played in his career, Lowell avoided answering directly. Instead he responded that “minefinders who make one discovery are much more likely to find another.” His basic philosophy is that of persistence, and it shows — his career is equally productive after retirement age as it was before.
At age eighty-four, Lowell is not slowing down. With financiers Dave De Witt and Marcel De Groot of Pathway Capital (“as efficient, honest and reliable as partners get”), Lowell is developing several projects, including a titanium-iron deposit in Paraguay, which he believes is the largest of its kind in the world. Other active projects are under wraps for now, as to avoid competition. Investors who rode his Arequipa Resources shares from .20 to $30.00 in 1995 will surely be watching Lowell’s upcoming public ventures. An autobiography is also in the works.
It was an honor to spend time with Dave at his ranch, and we’re pleased to share some video, pictures, and sounds of the day. We hope you enjoy the following short film about the greatest outlier and maverick the mining industry has known in recent memory, J. David Lowell.
With special thanks to Odgers Berndtson, global leaders in executive search, who are working with us to grow their Resources practice. We look forward to introducing them to you over the coming weeks.
A conversation between mining legend Ross Beaty and Casey Research chairman Doug Casey at last month’s #WRIC12.
For those of you who were not in attendance, here are two of my friends and heroes, mining legend Ross Beaty and Casey Research Chairman Doug Casey, having a conversation about how to get rich at last month’s Cambridge House World Resource Investment Conference in Vancouver. (The video was just uploaded today).
The following exchange is a value-add for anyone looking for insights to grow their personal wealth, particularly through resource investing.
It is my pleasure to share this interview with my friend Doug Casey, the legendary author, investment newsletter writer and founder of Casey Research. Doug is about the nicest guy you could meet for a man in the doom and gloom business, and I think business is good. So without further adieu, here he is, the one and only. Watch:
For those of you who can’t sit down for all 30 minutes, I’ve included a few of my favourite sound bytes from the interview. Continue reading →