Saturday 19th September 2020

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘Barrick Gold Corp (ABX)’

A resource-less approach

August 21st, 2020

Attacks persist, but Canada has nothing to replace the economy it denigrates

by Greg Klein | August 21, 2020

“Very disheartened,” the Mining Association of Canada expressed more than usual frustration as another resource project faced another unexpected setback. This one caused special pain since it resulted from Bill C-69, which the industry group had controversially supported. MAC did so thinking the bill would fix problems associated with the federal environmental act of 2012. But the association had also supported Ottawa back then, before becoming disillusioned with the legislation’s implementation. Could there be a pattern here?

MAC expressed its most recent discouragement on August 20 after federal environment minister Jonathan Wilkinson announced Teck Resources’ (TSX:TECK.A/TSX:TECK.B) Castle coal proposal would face a federal review under the Impact Assessment Act in addition to the provincial review already underway.

Attacks persist, but Canada has nothing to replace the economy it denigrates

Teck’s Fording River operation: Does a supposedly green economy
have no room for steel-making coal? (Photo: Teck Resources)

As a new source of metallurgical coal just south of Teck’s Fording River mine in southeastern British Columbia, Castle would add “several decades” of life to the currently depleting operation, the company maintains. Teck hoped to begin Castle development in 2023 and production in 2026, to replace the existing operation early next decade.

Yet the size of the proposal calls for an environmental review at the provincial level only, Teck and MAC say, arguing that federal IAA intervention isn’t necessary.

“It seems clear that this decision was political in nature as there are many projects across the country with equal or more significant impacts that are not subject to the IAA,” MAC president/CEO Pierre Gratton asserted. “This is a case of the government succumbing to pressure from political interest groups while also placating the U.S. government’s EPA and the state of Montana.”

Yet Canada’s new regimen was supposed to end much of the federal-provincial review duplication, which helped explain MAC’s support for C-69 last year even after Parliament rejected most of the Senate’s proposed amendments. Over objections from the oilpatch and some uranium companies, MAC declared the new legislation an improvement over the former Tory government’s 2012 Environmental Assessment Act.

MAC had supported the 2012 transformation too. But later the group decided it did not “live up to its promise,” Gratton told CBC last year.

In making this decision, the federal government is sending a clear message that instead of providing support for resource projects and jobs in a time of unprecedented economic crisis, it will choose to do the opposite. —The Mining Association
of Canada

On August 20 he stated MAC’s support for the new IAA had been “contingent on it being implemented well. It is unfortunate that the past month has now given our industry reason to question whether it will be implemented in a fair and efficient manner.”

Weeks earlier, MAC noted, Ottawa released its new Strategic Assessment on Climate Change, “which included numerous requirements that are unworkable for the mining sector and is calling into question whether the act will be well and fairly implemented.”

Implementation aside, the IAA is hardly free of inherent faults. A February 2019 commentary by Grant Bishop and Grant Sprague of the C.D. Howe Institute warned that C-69 threatened projects by “congesting the assessment process with wider public policy concerns and exacerbating the political uncertainty facing proponents with a highly subjective ‘public interest’ standard.” That allowed for “increasing subjectivity and politicization in project approvals,” the authors contended.

Additionally, they said the new bill failed to clarify the duty to consult natives.

C-69 passed at the same time as Bill C-48, aka the “tanker moratorium,” and shortly after a ban on offshore Arctic drilling.

Problems are obvious at the provincial level too. One early sign of a growing trend was B.C.’s 2012 rejection of Pacific Booker Minerals’ (TSXV:BKM) Morrison copper-gold-molybdenum proposal despite an environmental assessment that found the project was “not likely to have significant adverse effects.” In the legislature last spring MLA Andrew Weaver, B.C.’s former Green leader, suggested the previous BC Liberal government rejected Morrison as a trade-off to gain native support for a gas transmission line to the proposed Pacific Northwest LNG plant.

The BC Liberal government did, however, support Taseko Mines’ (TSX:TKO) New Prosperity proposal. Ottawa scrapped that one, partly by expanding its environmental mandate to include spiritual and cultural issues.

B.C.’s current NDP government, meanwhile, has come under fire from Taranis Resources TSXV:TRO for a process that it said involved 28 government reviewers, “multiple catastrophic deficiencies and concerns” and “moving goalposts.” These are, of course, just a few examples of ongoing frustration that characterizes resource and infrastructure development across Canada.

Most vexing is the duty to consult. Does that create a veto? Not according to Gratton, who has previously insisted: “We’re not in a world of veto. We’re in a world of deep and meaningful engagement.”

But that deep and meaningful stuff can work in reverse too. When the Nunavut Impact Review Board recommended federal rejection of an expansion proposal for Baffinland Iron Mines’ Mary River operation in 2018, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association convinced Ottawa to approve the company’s request.

The Wet’suwet’en pipeline protests, moreover, appear to show some natives trying to veto others. The cause was taken up by Canada’s wider protest culture following its mass adulation for a Swedish teenager in demonstrations that at least hinted at religious fervour. The anti-pipeline movement quickly morphed into Shut Down Canada, an effort that showed signs of succeeding until quelled by the pandemic. Yet widespread demonstrating resumed with an American issue imported to this country awkwardly but with immediate and uniform support from Canadian media, political and business elites.

Will that support follow when protesters channel their emotions en masse back to environmental issues? Certainly much of the political and media establishment already grant credibility to seriously disruptive tactics that, for example, block people’s freedom of movement.

It’s in this milieu that the prime minister is speculated to be preparing an unprecedented social spending program that would dwarf previous deficit budgets.

Gold bugs might believe the outcome will vindicate their predictions for fiat currency. They might also feel vindicated by this week’s investment of US$560 million in Barrick Gold TSX:ABX by Berkshire Hathaway, whose legendary CEO Warren Buffett was previously known to disparage gold.

One of the world’s largest gold producers and nominally a Canadian company, Barrick has just one mine and no exploration or development projects in this country. For its part, Berkshire Hathaway expressed its opinion of Canada in early March when the company cancelled its planned $4-billion investment in GNL Québec. A spokesperson for the LNG proponent cited investor nervousness about the “current Canadian political context” demonstrated by rail blockades.

If Canada’s abandoning its resource economy, the replacement remains uncertain. That might be a situation better understood by investors than policy-makers, but it carries implications much wider than stock prices.

Global top 40 miners stand up to pandemic but face further challenges, says PwC

July 24th, 2020

by Greg Klein | July 24, 2020

For all the tribulations facing mining, the industry has been faring well compared to others. That’s the verdict of the recent PwC report Mine 2020: Resilient and Resourceful. But the publication warns that caution, adaptation and innovation must continue to safeguard the future.

Global top 40 miners stand up to pandemic but face further challenges, says PwC

If the top 40’s performance reflects the wider industry,
mining will prevail over the pandemic, this report maintains.
(Photo: PwC)

The survey looks at the world’s top 40 listed miners by market cap as of December 31. For the third year in a row, six Canadian companies made the list.

The IMF predicts global economic contraction of 3% this year, only the third comparable event since 1944. Yet PwC maintains that mining’s top 40 “are in an excellent position to weather the storm.”

Although the companies’ 2019 EBITDA performance remained flat at US$168 billion, PwC foresees a 6% decline this year, with capital spending falling at least 20% due to reduced revenue as well as pandemic-related staffing and mobilization difficulties.

Still, the decline will be temporary as past performance puts the top 40 “in a strong financial position as they enter one of the more uncertain economic periods in living memory. Liquidity is improved, and solvency is consistent.”

The pandemic’s effect on commodity prices ranges from double-digit drops for copper, nickel and zinc, to record prices for gold. Iron ore has remained relatively steady and looks promising due to early recovery in China and strong GDP growth predicted for that country and India in coming years.

In a recommendation that itself presents challenges, however, PwC suggests miners seek greater diversification of customers to wean themselves off of the two Asian giants.

Mining companies may think they’re an unlikely target for cyberattacks, but as reliance on autonomous and digital technology grows, so too does the cybersecurity risk. And the consequences can be a matter of life or death.—PwC Mine 2020

As for gold’s steep ascent, “don’t expect this to continue.” With 2020 yellow metal M&A down 33% from the same period last year, “gold miners appear to have learnt their mistakes from the early 2010s and are avoiding the pitfalls of pursuing large cash and debt-backed deals in a rising price environment. We expect gold deals to be less frequent and smaller this year and next, with more transactions on a scrip-for-scrip basis.”

Under the circumstances smaller, local property acquisitions might prove more attractive to the top miners. Locally available resources, along with globally diverse deposits, would help strengthen critical supply chains too. Pointing to fragile links further weakened by COVID-19, PwC also called for improved inventory management. The measures “would not only de-risk mining companies against a similarly disruptive event but also help develop and build resilience in local communities,” the report states. “Many are already doing it; Anglo American, Nornickel and BHP among others, have announced initiatives to increase support for their domestic suppliers as a result of the pandemic.”

PwC also emphasized the need to strengthen cybersecurity, and to address environmental, social and governance accountability, calling for a global ESG standard.

For the third year running, six Canadian companies made the top 40 list with the present group including Barrick Gold TSX:ABX, Agnico Eagle Mines Group TSX:AEM, Teck Resources TSX:TECK.A/TSX:TECK.B, Kirkland Lake Gold TSX:KL, First Quantum Minerals TSX:FM and Kinross Gold TSX:K. Newcomer Kinross kept Canada’s half-dozen steady following the takeover of Goldcorp by Denver-headquartered Newmont TSX:NGT. Among companies poised to join next year is Vancouver-headquartered Pan American Silver TSX:PAAS.

Read the PwC report.

Visual Capitalist looks at Nevada and the Silver State’s golden side

May 14th, 2020

by Nicholas LePan | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist

 

Visual Capitalist looks at Nevada and the Silver State’s golden side

 

Thanks to the world-famous silver discoveries of the 19th century that unveiled Nevada’s precious metal potential, the state today is known by many as the Silver State.

However, it’s possible that nickname may need to be updated. In the last few decades, Nevada has become a prolific gold producer, accounting for 84% of total U.S. gold production each year.

This infographic from Corvus Gold TSX:KOR showcases why Nevada may have a better case for deserving California’s nickname of the Golden State. We look at Nevada’s gold production, exploration potential and even its rich history.

A defining era for the American West

The discovery of the Comstock silver lode in 1859 sparked a silver rush of prospectors to Nevada, scrambling to stake their claims. News of the discovery spread quickly throughout the United States, drawing thousands into Nevada for one of the largest rushes since the California Gold Rush in 1849. Mining camps soon thrived and eventually became towns, a catalyst that helped turn the territory into an official state by 1864.

Interestingly, many of the early mines also produced considerable quantities of gold, indicating there was more to the state than just silver.

  • The Comstock Lode: 8.6 million troy ounces (270t) of gold until 1959

  • The Eureka district: 1.2 million troy ounces (37t) of gold

  • The Robinson copper mine: 2.7 million troy ounces (84t) of gold

The Comstock Lode is notable for not just the immense fortunes it generated but also the large role those fortunes had in the growth of Nevada and San Francisco.

In fact, there was so much gold and silver flowing into San Francisco, the U.S. Mint opened a branch in the city to safely store it all. Within the first year of its operation, the San Francisco Mint turned $4 million of gold bullion into coins for circulation.

While California gold rushes became history, Nevada mining was just beginning and would spur the development of modern industry. In 2018, California produced 140,000 troy ounces of gold, just a fraction of the 5.58 million ounces coming out of Nevada’s ground.

Nevada gold mining geology: Following the trends

There are three key geological trends from where the majority of Nevada’s gold comes from: the Cortez Trend, Carlin Trend and Walker Lane Trend.

Together these trends contributed nearly 170 million ounces of gold produced in Nevada between 1835 and 2018, making it the United States’ most productive gold jurisdiction, if not the world’s.

The bulk of production comes from the Cortez and Carlin trends, where mines extract low-grade gold from a particular type of mineral deposit, the Carlin-type gold deposit. It was the discovery and technology used for processing these “invisible” deposits that would turn Nevada into the golden powerhouse of production.

Today, the world’s largest gold mining complex, Nevada Gold Mines, is located on the Carlin Trend. The joint venture between Barrick Gold TSX:ABX and Newmont TSX:NGT comprises eight mines, along with their infrastructure and processing facilities.

Despite the prolific production of modern mines in the state, more discoveries will be needed to feed this production pipeline—and discoveries are on the decline in Nevada.

Looking to the future through the past: The Walker Lane Trend

The future for gold mining in Nevada may lie in the Walker Lane Trend. This trend is host to some of the most recent gold discoveries and has attracted the interest of major mining companies looking to conduct exploration and eventually production.

Walker Lane stands out with exceptionally high grades, growing reserves and massive discovery potential. It also played an integral role in the history of the state beginning with the 1859 discovery of the Comstock Lode, and it seems likely to continue doing so in the future.

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

S&P Global Market Intelligence remarks on a disappointing year for exploration spending

November 12th, 2019

…Read more

Global decline affects exploration in Canada and abroad

October 18th, 2019

by Greg Klein | October 18, 2019

Some optimistic indications are already apparent but 2019 marked a generally disappointing year for exploration spending world-wide. The upturn that began in 2016 slumped in late 2018 and continued to languish through most of this year. That’s the verdict of S&P Global Market Intelligence, which announced the exploration world’s first cumulative budget decrease since 2016 and Canada’s first slip behind Australia since 2001. Commodity prices and U.S.-China trade tensions played a role, but so did corporate mergers, S&P found.

Canadian companies follow global decline in exploration

“Difficult market conditions and high-profile M&A activity have unsurprisingly impacted budgets the most, as the amount of money being raised by companies dropped sharply from November 2018 through February of this year,” said S&P’s Mark Ferguson, who co-wrote the study with Kevin Murphy. “We are encouraged, however, by some positive signs, such as the rising number of active companies, and copper recording a year-over-year increase.”

The data comes from a survey of 3,300 public and private companies to determine their spending on non-ferrous exploration within continents and regions or, in the case of top three countries Canada, Australia and the United States, within national borders.

Preliminary data shows an estimated $300-million drop in global nonferrous exploration spending this year, to $9.8 billion (all figures in U.S. dollars). But the decline was hardly uniform. Of those countries that bucked the trend, Australia attracted the highest spending increase within its borders, gaining $199 million while Canada dropped by $134 million.

Despite Latin America’s $117-million decline, the region retained global first place with $2.62 billion in spending. Australia’s $1.53 billion took second place, followed by the Rest of the World category’s $1.44 billion, Canada’s $1.31 billion, Africa’s $1.12 billion, the United States’ $944.8 million and Pacific/Southeast Asia’s $327 million.

Exploration at existing mine sites outpaced grassroots and advanced-stage projects, continuing a trend since the 1990s. This year’s mine site exploration grew by $225.6 million to reach $3.6 billion, compared with reductions of $529.4 million for advanced stage projects and $35.7 million for grassroots work. “This marks the first year that mine site allocations have accounted for the largest share of global exploration at 38.5%, with late stage dropping to 35% and grassroots almost flat at 27%,” S&P stated.

As is normally the case in high-level mergers, the exploration budgets of the combined entities are much lower than the totals budgeted by the individual pre-merger companies, with Newmont Goldcorp Corp [TSX:NGT] and Barrick Gold Corp [TSX:ABX] allocating about $48 million and $54 million less, respectively, than the two pairs of companies did in 2018.—S&P Global Market Intelligence

Among culprits for the overall decline was M&A, “most notably the Newmont-Goldcorp and Barrick Gold-Randgold tie-ups.”

Additional factors included market apprehension about China and the U.S. along with generally disappointing commodity performance. Exceptions were “mostly smaller players.” Despite rising prices in nickel and palladium, the two metals combined attracted less spending than zinc. But thanks largely to copper, base metals exploration overall rose by $191.1 million to $3.23 billion.

Diamonds increased for the second time since 2012, by $75.8 million to $304.6 million.

If gold offered encouragement, it came too late for 2019 budgets. The yellow stuff suffered the worst exploration decrease of any of the survey’s commodities, dropping by $559.4 million to $4.29 billion. Although still a contender for 2020 improvement, “any rise in gold budgets will likely be offset by lower allocations for other commodities.” As a result, S&P predicts next year’s exploration budgets “to remain fairly flat.”

Global spending by Canadian explorers will total about $2.16 billion this year, according to a forecast released by Natural Resources Canada in August (these figures in Canadian dollars). That number compares with $2.3 billion last year. Juniors are expected to pony up about $961 million and seniors another $1.2 billion, marking declines of 4% and 9% respectively from 2018.

Frank Holmes comments on how mining mergers can affect the Canadian industry

March 5th, 2019

…Read more

Getting Frank

January 23rd, 2019

Frank Holmes discusses tips, disruptors, M&A, what drives HIVE, and more

by Greg Klein

Frank Holmes discusses tips, cryptos, disruptors, peak gold, M&A and more

With over 7,000 attendees, VRIC 2019’s numbers and enthusiasm suggested a buoyant market mood.

 

Definitely one of the busiest people at this year’s Vancouver Resource Investment Conference, Frank Holmes kicked off the event with a keynote speech to a capacity crowd, one of a number of times he took the stage during the two-day event. Even so, the CEO and chief investment officer of U.S. Global Investors found time to sit down with Resource Clips and discuss some wide-ranging issues.

A new feature at this year’s VRIC was the Top Picks Competition, which pitted three companies he chose against three selected by Marin Katusa. The fast pace had the rivals briefly introduce each of his three picks, followed by a company rep giving a concise six-minute presentation. The packed audience rated each company from one to 10. While waiting for results to appear on the big screen, Katusa said, “Man, I’ll be depressed if I lose to Frank.”

Frank Holmes discusses cryptos, disruptors, peak gold, M&A and more

The mainstay of this year’s VRIC, Holmes
tackled issues ranging from peak gold to data mining.

But the chart showed no definite winner, at least not to those who struggle with mental math. Katusa pronounced the results a tie but Holmes confidently told Resource Clips: “I won.”

As for the format, “that model of 20 seconds per slide, capped at 20 slides, 6.4 minutes, that model is working in 900 cities,” he explained, adding that it began in 2003 with the Tokyo-based Klein-Dytham architectural firm. “The PechaKucha model will drive more interest to a company’s booth than anything else.”

But isn’t there a danger that stock tips from influential people can affect share prices more than company performance does?

“I’ve invested in all six of those companies so I’m not getting up there with anyone I haven’t vetted.”

Are they long-term holds? “They have been.”

Katusa stuck with miners but Holmes’ list included two disruptors—a soon-to-be-listed company that creates gold and platinum jewelry as tradable investments, and another company that applies machine learning to mineral exploration as well as combining quantitative and fundamental analyses of mining investment.

Frank Holmes discusses cryptos, disruptors, peak gold, M&A and more

Investors heard first-hand pitches from company reps.

Disruption seems to increasingly command Holmes’ attention, but not at the expense of good old-fashioned gold. He sees peak gold as one application for AI and machine learning.

“There are fundamental supply-demand issues, there has to be a new way to replace it. The world’s GDP per capita for China, India and America is so strong and when you look at China and India, their GDP per capita is highly correlated to gold demand for love.

“When I first got in the business there was a four-year cycle from exploration to discovery to production. Now it’s a minimum eight to 12 years. We have declining reserves and each year the mines are getting deeper and deeper, the grades are getting lower and lower, and there’s also a falloff in exploration success. The timeline for getting projects on stream is getting longer and longer. We do have peak supply.”

With the Newmont-Goldcorp buyout following closely on the Barrick-Rangold merger, M&A has returned to prominence. When asked whether the activity could have a trickle-down effect on junior explorers, the Toronto native brought up a nationalist perspective.

A locally headquartered major means “a junior explorer or mid-cap developer can knock on their door, pitch them a story and maybe they’re your partner. But now you’d have to go to Denver, and the process of what they look at is very different from what Canadians look at. So I think there’s a vacuum being created and it’s not helping the Canadian mining industry.”

Additionally, “I think Canada will be hurt because the geological brain trust that was with Barrick in Toronto will go to Europe or South Africa. With Newmont, the brain trust will go to Denver.”

Frank Holmes discusses cryptos, disruptors, peak gold, M&A and more

Attendees gleaned intel from speakers, exhibitors and each other.

He suggested gold might attract more M&A than other metals because it’s “more bullish.” Elsewhere in metals, he expects to see further shareholder activism as seen by Waterton Global Resource Management with Hudbay Minerals and Paulson & Co with Detour Gold. “I’m surprised there isn’t more in the mid-cap space,” he noted.

He considers the activism constructive—“anything that keeps people accountable.” As chairperson of cryptocurrency miner HIVE Blockchain Technologies, however, he has to account for a share price that’s plunged about 78% over the last year.

“All of us are down, but it’s only because of the Bitcoin and Ethereum prices,” he said. “With gold stocks, most of them rise or fall as gold rises or falls that day. They correlate. What HIVE has done is become a proxy [for buying cryptos]. So HIVE has become incredibly liquid and moves every day with the price action of Bitcoin and Ethereum. Bitcoin and Ethereum have a volatility such that if gold’s daily volatility is 1%, their daily volatility is 6% to 8%. So that’s what drives HIVE. If Bitcoin goes this quarter to $10,000, we’ll go to a dollar. And if Bitcoin falls, we’ll go down with it. We’re at the mercy of where the cryptocurrencies are going. But the positive part for an investor or trader is that you can call up during market hours and use that as a proxy.”

One indication of continuing crypto enthusiasm, he added, was a very strong turnout at the previous week’s North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami, despite a hefty admission fee.

As for VRIC, he likes the event for “energy—it’s the vibe, what people are talking about. Are they skewing to optimism, or to doubt and fear and pessimism? I get the energy and vibrations here, and whether there’s an appetite for risk. This is all venture capital. Most of these companies are speculation. As I said at the opening, I’m so happy people came here and didn’t go to the casino or buy a lottery ticket to speculate.”

Watch for videos of VRIC presentations to be posted in the coming weeks by Cambridge House International.

Frank Holmes discusses cryptos, disruptors, peak gold, M&A and more

Moderated by Daniela Cambone, the Ultimate Gold Panel
included Holmes, Peter Hug, Roy Sebag and Peter Schiff.

 

Frank Holmes discusses tips, disruptors, M&A, what drives HIVE, and more

Although soliciting was strictly prohibited,
a hint of hustle might have been evident.

Visual Capitalist: Nine reasons mining investors are looking at Yukon companies

September 18th, 2018

by Jeff Desjardins | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist | September 18, 2018

In the mining industry, location is paramount.

Invest your capital in a jurisdiction that doesn’t respect that investment, or in a place with little geological potential, and it’s possible that it will end up going to waste.

That’s why, when there’s a place on the map that has world-class geology and also a plan for working with miners and new explorers, the money begins to flow to take advantage of that potential.

Why investors are looking at the Yukon

This infographic comes to us from the Yukon Mining Alliance and it shows nine reasons why people are investing in Yukon mining and exploration companies today.

 

Nine reasons mining investors are looking at Yukon companies

 

For resource investors, it is rare to see variables like government investment, jurisdiction, geological potential and investment from major mining companies all aligning.

However, in the Yukon, it seems this may be the case. Here are nine reasons the Yukon is starting to attract more investment capital:

1. Rich history
Mining was central to the Yukon even over a century ago, when over 100,000 fortune-seekers stampeded into the Yukon with the goal of striking it rich in the famous Klondike Gold Rush.

2. Geological profile
In the last decade, there have been major discoveries of gold, silver, copper, zinc and lead in the Yukon—but perhaps most interestingly, only 12% of the Yukon has been staked, making the region highly under-explored. Spending on exploration and development rose from $93 million to $158 million from 2015 to 2017.

3. Major investment
Major mining companies now have a stake in the polymetallic rush. Recent companies to foray into the Yukon include Agnico Eagle Mines TSX:AEM, Barrick Gold TSX:ABX, Coeur Mining NYSE:CDE, Goldcorp TSX:G, Kinross Gold TSX:K and Newmont Mining NYSE:NEM.

4. Leaders in exploration and mining
Juniors in the region are working on new geological ideas as well as new technology to unlock the vast potential of the region.

5. Progressive partnerships
First Nations and the government of Yukon have recently championed a new government-to-government relationship that enables them to be on the exact same page when it comes to mineral projects.

6. Government investment
The Yukon government is investing in new infrastructure via the Resource Gateway project. It also offers the Yukon Mineral Exploration Program, which provides a portion of risk capital to explore and develop mineral projects to an advanced stage.

7. Made in Yukon process
The Yukon government also tries to foster regulatory certainty to create clarity for companies and investors through its customized tri-party process.

8. Infrastructure
The jurisdiction has 5,000 kilometres of government-maintained roads, receives 95% of power from clean hydro, has international and local airports, and has access to three deep-water, ice-free ports.

9. Geopolitical stability
Canada offers geopolitical stability to start with—but with unprecedented cooperation between the territorial government and First Nations, the Yukon is arguably a step above the rest of the country.

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

Canada’s six biggest miners boost exploration spending by 31%: PwC

July 5th, 2018

by Greg Klein | July 5, 2018

Canada’s six biggest miners boost exploration spending by 31%: PwC

(Photos: PricewaterhouseCoopers)

 

The half-dozen Canadian companies among the world’s top 40 miners increased exploration expenditures last year at twice the rate of the others. That info comes from the upbeat results found in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Mine 2018, a study of the planet’s 40 biggest companies by market cap. The six Canadians spent C$620 million looking for new resources last year, compared with C$473 million in 2016. The report forecasts continued improvement throughout the current year.

Globally, exploration rose 15% in 2017 to US$8.4 billion, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence figures cited by PwC.

Not so impressive, though, was the equity raised on three key mining markets, which fell $1.7 billion last year for the industry as a whole. Especially hard-hit was Toronto, which plunged 36%. Australia slipped 9%, while London actually jumped 47%. However this year’s Q1 investing “reveals that activity in Toronto and Australia is starting to pick up and signals a renewed interest in exploration and early development projects.”

Overall, higher commodity prices propelled the top 40 companies’ revenues 23% to about US$600 billion, with cost-saving efficiencies contributing to a “sharp increase in profits.” The report sees several years of continued growth as global annual GDP increases about 4% for the next five years.

Meanwhile market caps for the top 40 soared 30% last year to US$926 billion.

The top 40 companies’ capex outlay, however, floundered at its lowest level in 10 years. But the authors “expect next year’s level to increase as companies press ahead with long-term strategies, be it growth through greenfield or brownfield investments, or new acquisitions.”

Should that investment fail to materialize, the report asks, “will there be a temptation to spend without sufficient capital discipline when demand outstrips supply?”

At a number of points PwC admonishes miners not to “give in to the impulses” engendered by the previous boom: “Perhaps the most significant risk currently facing the world’s top miners is the temptation to acquire mineral-producing assets in order to meet rising demand. In the previous cycle, many miners eschewed capital discipline in the pursuit of higher production levels, which set them up to suffer when the downturn came.”

Canadians among the 2017 top 40 consisted of the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (since merged with Agrium to create Nutrien TSX:NTR) in 13th place, Barrick Gold TSX:ABX (14th), Teck Resources TSX:TECK.A and TSX:TECK.B (16th), Goldcorp TSX:G (25th), Agnico Eagle Mines TSX:AEM (26th) and First Quantum Minerals TSX:FM (30th).

The top five companies, holding a top-heavy 47% of the top-40 combined market cap, were BHP Billiton NYSE:BHP, Rio Tinto NYSE:RIO, Glencore, China Shenhua Energy and Vale NYSE:VALE.

In addition to exploration spending, the half-dozen Canadian companies also got special mention for workplace safety, as “world leaders in digital transformation” and for boardroom diversity in which “women make up 25% of directors among Canadian miners, compared to 19% among their global peers.”

Download PwC’s Mine 2018 report.

“Gold, sir—gold!”: Peter Munk 1927-2018

March 28th, 2018

by Greg Klein | March 28, 2018

“He was the greatest gold miner of the modern age, a silvery, immaculate, dashing, and indefatigable tycoon with the menacing aplomb of a Florentine prince.” Matthew Hart’s 2013 description presaged the tributes that poured in after Peter Munk died in Toronto on March 28 at the age of 90.

Gold, sir-gold Peter Munk 1927-2018

Peter Munk 1927-2018

Saying “much nonsense has been written about Munk,” Hart profiled the celebrated miner in Gold: The Race for the World’s Most Seductive Metal. It was a bribe of cash and gold that bought 16-year-old Munk and his family out of wartime Hungary, but he didn’t return to the yellow metal until much later, and that followed a few spectacular business failures.

“We needed to find a business before it became popular, a business that was so unfashionable no one wanted to get into it,” said Munk. Such was the state of gold in 1983. Such was Munk’s eureka moment, which came not through a mineral discovery but a realization:

“Gold, sir,” Munk declared. “Gold! It carried the highest multiples. Gold shares sell at a very high value in relation to their earnings because a gold share is perceived to be not just a share but an option or a call on gold as well. If you buy Swatch watches, if you buy Nestlé, you buy the earnings. If you buy gold shares you buy it because, hey!— this company has 2 million ounces of gold and I think that gold will go up in five years!”

But the newly minted miner “had no patience for rummaging in the bush,” Hart continues. “Barrick’s strategy would be to buy reserves, not find them. Growth would mean rapid growth. Munk built his company like Lego, snapping gold mines into place after deciding what would fit. He bought some mines for their gold and others for their people.”

He did rather well, allowing him to donate nearly $300 million to good causes. He’s survived by his wife of 45 years, five children and 14 grandchildren.

Read some of the tributes to Peter Munk here and here.