Thursday 31st July 2014

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘Formation Metals Inc (FCO)’

Athabasca Basin and beyond

December 22nd, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for December 14 to 20, 2013

by Greg Klein

Next Page 1 | 2

News flash: Fission Uranium releases assays—actual lab assays—from Patterson Lake South

Frenetic as activity has been at Patterson Lake South, assays have been trickling in at a most leisurely pace. Results released by Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU on December 18 come from three holes that were drilled last summer and had scintillometer results reported in August and September. The backlog of assays, from about 50 holes, can only increase speculation about when the project’s maiden resource might appear and what it might show.

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for December 14 to 20, 2013

Even so, these results continue to impress with high-grade, near-surface intervals. Taken from R945E, the most easterly of six zones along a 1.78-kilometre trend, some of the better assays show 7.91% uranium oxide (U3O8) over 14 metres, 1.59% over 40 metres and 3.69% over 13.5 metres. One Russian doll interval-within-an-interval-within-an-interval graded 43.7% over 0.5 metres.

Highlights show:

Hole PLS13-084

  • 0.11% U3O8 over 8 metres, starting at 129.5 metres in downhole depth

  • 0.27% over 25.5 metres, starting at 156.5 metres

  • 0.3% over 7 metres, starting at 195 metres

  • 0.13% over 12.5 metres, starting at 206.5 metres

  • 3.69% over 13.5 metres, starting at 232.5 metres
  • (including 9.12% over 1 metre)
  • (and including 7.27% over 4.5 metres)

Hole PLS13-092

  • 0.84% over 16 metres, starting at 163 metres
  • (including 1.62% over 4 metres)
  • (and including 6.22% over 0.5 metres)

  • 0.15% over 7.5 metres, starting at 196 metres

Hole PLS13-096

  • 0.3% over 7.5 metres, starting at 98 metres

  • 1.59% over 40 metres, starting at 138 metres
  • (including 14.22% over 3 metres)

  • 2.4% over 11 metres, starting at 186 metres
  • (including 6.91% over 2 metres)

  • 7.91% over 14 metres, starting at 249.5 metres
  • (including 18.2% over 5.5 metres)
  • (which includes 43.7% over 0.5 metres)

True widths were unavailable. Drilling was vertical or near-vertical, with dips of 90, -88 and -89 degrees respectively.

The previous week, PLS’s now sole owner closed a $12.87-million financing for the project’s “most aggressive drill program to date” with about 100 holes totalling 30,000 metres, along with further geophysics. Winter is not a quiet time in the Athabasca Basin.

Lakeland recruits more expertise while planning Gibbon’s Creek winter program

Two more Lakeland Resources’ TSXV:LK appointments bring additional experience to the company’s management and board. December 16 and 19 announcements reported Neil McCallum joining as director and Frances Petryshen as corporate secretary.

McCallum, a project manager with Dahrouge Geological Consulting, has served a number of companies with target generation, hiring, logistics, land management, data compilation, project reviews and management.

“Among the first Basin projects I worked on was staking the Waterbury Lake project that started with Strathmore Minerals and turned into Fission Energy,” McCallum says. Fission Energy’s 60% interest in Waterbury was the main impetus for Denison Mines’ TSX:DML acquisition of the company earlier this year. The project’s J zone now shows an indicated resource of 291,000 tonnes averaging 2% for 12.81 million pounds U3O8.

“Also with Dahrouge, I worked on the Patterson Lake project, which morphed into Patterson Lake South,” McCallum adds. “Part of that work back in 2004 was digging through historic data, looking for projects that had been passed over by some of the major companies. So I’ve been familiar with the Basin since that time.”

His involvement in a variety of projects with prospect generator Zimtu Capital TSXV:ZC led him to Lakeland, a Zimtu core holding, about a year ago. “Having worked with Zimtu and Ryan Fletcher, I found I like the way he operates. He’s similar to me in that he’s a young guy who thinks outside the box. When you work with different projects and different teams you can look at the Basin from a different angle. I think that’s what people like Ryan and myself bring to the table—a bit of a different perspective.”

We’ll continue building our team and our projects so that when uranium’s price environment changes, which it will, we’ll be very well established.—Lakeland Resources
director Ryan Fletcher

As a Lakeland director, McCallum will play a wider role in the company than before. “A big part of Lakeland’s goal is to find projects either by staking or linking up with other companies,” he explains. “So a lot of what I’ll do is review those projects on a technical basis to make informed decisions.”

Fletcher reinforces those comments. “Our group has worked with Neil for several years now and I’ve seen the impact he’s had on other projects. But he’s also focused a lot on uranium and the Athabasca Basin. He has a talent for looking at historic data, filing through the assessment reports and putting it all into context. He’s already been helping with project management on our Gibbon’s Creek/Riou Lake project, but now he’s joining the board to represent shareholders and drive shareholder value.”

As corporate secretary Frances Petryshen brings 25 years of experience specializing in corporate compliance and governance for public, private and not-for-profit organizations. She’s been a director and officer with several public and private companies including CanAlaska Uranium TSX:CVV, where she worked from 2007 to 2012.

Petryshen is an accredited director and a fellow with the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, where she currently serves as director and chairperson of the British Columbia branch.

“Her appointment is another important step towards adding the right people to deliver as we grow the company and expand our exploration and activity in the Athabasca,” said Lakeland president/CEO Jonathan Armes in a statement accompanying the announcement. “Frances will be an important contributor and a trusted adviser and associate to our team.”

The news follows several recent Lakeland announcements including the appointments of mining specialists Sam Wong as CFO and Canon Bryan as adviser, JVs with Declan Resources TSXV:LAN and Star Minerals Group TSXV:SUV, and a research report by Zimtu research and communications officer Derek Hamill.

With summer/autumn field work complete, planning now takes place for the 12,771-hectare Gibbon’s Creek winter campaign. “We’ll be very active throughout the new year as well,” Fletcher says. “We’ll continue building our team and our projects so that when uranium’s price environment changes, which it will, we’ll be very well established.”

Mega Uranium to get Energy Fuels’ interest in Bayswater; EFR signs KEPCO agreement

Under a share swap announced December 19, Energy Fuels TSX:EFR signed an agreement to exchange all its Bayswater Uranium TSXV:BYU stock with Mega Uranium TSX:MGA for 1.7 million newly issued Mega shares. Energy Fuels got the 11.5% interest in Bayswater on taking over Strathmore Minerals in September. Subject to all approvals, the co-signers expect to close the transaction by January 17.

The companies are hardly unacquainted. Energy Fuels is already a Mega shareholder. Mega, meanwhile, owns about 17% of NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE. Although Mega lost its bid for Rockgate Capital TSX:RGT in October, the following month it picked up 28% of the ASX-listed Toro Energy in return for Mega’s Lake Maitland pre-development project in Western Australia. Energy Fuels holds a 5% gross production royalty on the Reno Creek uranium project, which last March reached pre-feasibility under a Bayswater affiliate.

Energy Fuels supplies about 25% of American uranium production. In November the company suspended development of its Canyon mine in Arizona due to low commodity prices and legal action challenging the U.S. Forest Service’s approval of the mine.

On December 17 the company announced a strategic relationship agreement with the Korea Electric Power Corp. But details were lost in Energy Fuels’ vaguely written news release.

Ur-Energy offered 50% discount on Pathfinder Mines, AREVA to get 5% royalty

A revised agreement offers Ur-Energy TSX:URE a half-price deal on Pathfinder Mines and its two former Wyoming mines with historic resources. The acquisition was originally priced at US$13.25 million in July 2012. Now, “in recognition of current market conditions,” AREVA affiliate COGEMA Resources will let go of Pathfinder for approximately $6.625 million in return for a 5% gross royalty on Pathfinder’s Shirley Basin property. The royalty remains subject to caps depending on uranium’s price. Ur-Energy has already put $1.325 million into escrow. Some other details have yet to be negotiated, the company stated.

Three days after that December 16 announcement, the company reported a private placement expected to close on December 20 for approximately $5.18 million. The money was earmarked for the Pathfinder acquisition.

Earlier in December Ur-Energy reported a first shipment of 35,000 pounds U3O8 left its Lost Creek mine in Wyoming. Lost Creek’s resource update was released in November.

In late October the company closed a $34-million Wyoming state loan after having previously borrowed $35 million from RMB Australia Holdings Ltd.

Uranium exploration finds frac sand potential on Declan Resources’ Firebag River

Initial field work by Dahrouge Geological Consulting shows potential for high-quality frac sand on Declan Resources’ Firebag River property in northeastern Alberta, the company announced December 18. Samples from depths of less than two metres revealed “high silica content, quality sphericity and roundness values, and a high percentage of sand falling within the preferred 20/40 and 40/70 mesh sizes,” Declan stated.

Using figures from consulting firm PacWest, a December 2 Wall Street Journal report says oil and gas companies have boosted sand demand 25% since 2011, with another 20% increase expected over the next two years.

Declan intends to follow up on the finding “along with its principal objective of uranium exploration” at the 50,000-hectare property just southwest of the Basin. One day earlier the company released silver-copper results from its Nimini Hills property in Sierra Leone. In early December Declan signed a JV on Lakeland Resources’ Gibbon’s Creek project, a four-year option which would inject an extra $1.25 million into the property’s 2014 drill program.

Next Page 1 | 2

Athabasca Basin and beyond

July 13th, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for July 6 to 12, 2013

by Greg Klein

Next Page 1 | 2

Four companies seal $6-million exploration plan for PLS-area’s largest package

With a formal agreement signed, an airborne survey about finished and a field crew on site, progress continues on the four-company Western Athabasca Syndicate Project, the Patterson Lake South-area’s largest land package. Skyharbour Resources TSXV:SYH, Athabasca Nuclear TSXV:ASC, Lucky Strike Resources TSXV:LKY and Noka Resources TSXV:NX announced the formal agreement July 10, saying the strategic alliance shares synergies while mitigating risk and dilution.

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere

Four companies plan to spend $6 million over two years exploring the PLS-area’s largest package, the Western Athabasca Syndicate Project.

As previously reported in a memorandum of understanding, Skyharbour contributes seven Athabasca Basin properties to combine with Athabasca Nuclear’s 125,375-hectare Preston Lake, forming a 287,130-hectare package. Apart from the 11,769-hectare Wheeler project on the Basin’s east side, the properties are contiguous to the high-grade, near-surface uranium discovery of Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU and Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW.

With 25% earn-ins for each company, the syndicate will jointly fund a $6-million program over two years. Noka and Lucky Strike will each put up $1 million a year while Skyharbour and Athabasca Nuclear will each spend $500,000. Cash and shares also change hands.

Data from the VTEM-plus time domain survey will be analysed for conductive trends like those hosting the PLS discovery. Under a joint program with two other companies, the survey also flew properties held by Forum Uranium TSXV:FDC and Aldrin Resource TSXV:ALN. So far the survey has found two parallel basement conductive trends on Aldrin’s Triple M property and a conductive trend extending from the PLS discovery into Forum’s Clearwater project.

Referring to activity surrounding the Alpha/Fission discovery, Dundee Capital Markets senior analyst David Talbot told ResourceClips.com, “This is an area play because these are area-type deposits. They tend to occur in clusters. The chances that Fission and Alpha are the only ones that have uranium on their property is probably relatively low.”

Following the VTEM, a radiometrics survey will search for boulder trains and in-situ radioactivity. Also on the syndicate’s agenda are radon surveys, geochemical sampling, prospecting and scintillometer surveying. Athabasca Nuclear acts as project operator, in consultation with the other three geological teams. The companies plan to follow Alpha’s 43-101 technical report, which details procedures leading to the PLS discovery.

Skyharbour president/CEO Jordan Trimble told ResourceClips.com, “I think it’s the lowest-risk way, on a per-company basis, to carry out this kind of large, aggressive exploration program.”

Read more about the Western Athabasca Syndicate Project.

Noka picks up two more properties

One day after sealing the syndicate deal, Noka announced two more Basin acquisitions. For the 151,170-hectare Clearwater project, the company issues two million shares and grants a 5% NSR. The transaction makes one of the vendors, Ryan Kalt, a company insider. For the 50,161-hectare Athabasca North, Noka issues 600,000 shares and grants a 2% NSR. TSXV approval has already come through. Noka also issued 130,000 shares and paid $14,000 as a finder’s fee.

Cameco, Mega mull Kintyre deal Down Under

About 1,250 kilometres north of Perth, at the western edge of Western Australia’s Great Sandy Desert, lies Cameco Corp’s TSX:CCO Oz flagship, the Kintyre deposit. Now the major is negotiating with a junior to co-operate on some additional claims adjacent to the project. Announced July 11 by Mega Uranium TSX:MGA, the two companies have signed a non-binding understanding that could give Cameco an initial 51% interest in the Kintyre Rocks project, held by Mega’s subsidiary Boxcut Mining. The talks imply Cameco’s continued interest in a project that had its feasibility study shelved last year.

Kintyre, held 70% by Cameco and 30% by Mitsubishi, has a 2011 resource showing:

  • an indicated category of 5.26 million tonnes averaging 0.49% for 56.4 million pounds uranium oxide (U3O8)
  • an inferred category of 505,000 tonnes averaging 0.47% for 5.3 million pounds.

The project reached pre-feasibility in 2012, detailing an open pit producing an average six million pounds a year for seven years. But economic survival called for $67-a-pound uranium, a price not seen after the March 2011 Fukushima accident. Full-feas was suspended and Cameco recorded a $168-million write-down. Work continued, however, on an engineering study and environmental permitting. The company also stated its interest in finding satellite deposits.

Next Page 1 | 2

Athabasca Basin and beyond

June 22nd, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for June 15 to 21, 2013

by Greg Klein

Next Page 1 | 2

NexGen drills Radio, prepares for Rook 1 geophysics

No longer virgin territory, NexGen Energy’s TSXV:NXE eastside Athabasca Basin Radio property is now undergoing its first-ever drill program. In a June 20 release, the company said a 4,000-metre campaign had begun on its flagship project adjacent to and about two kilometres on trend from Rio Tinto’s Roughrider deposit, which hosts 17.2 million pounds uranium oxide (U3O8) indicated and 40.7 million pounds inferred.

The program will test interpreted geophysical anomalies along strike with the Roughrider deposits through the interpreted shear zone towards Radio’s centre, NexGen stated. Drilling began three weeks ahead of schedule and, depending on ground conditions, could continue to late July. NexGen holds a 70% earn-in on the 847-hectare property, with an option to earn the other 30% subject to a 2% NSR.

Also on NexGen’s agenda is a soon-to-begin DC resistivity survey on the southern part of Rook 1, adjacent to the northeast of, and along strike with, the Patterson Lake South project of Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW and Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU. Repeated high-grade, near-surface results from the 50/50 joint venture drew other explorers into the PLS area near the Basin’s southwestern rim. NexGen’s survey is intended to identify targets for a 1,500-metre program planned to begin in August.

Two conductive anomalies found on Aldrin Resource’s Triple M

At another project adjacent to PLS, ongoing airborne geophysics have so far found two conductive anomalies on Aldrin Resource’s TSXV:ALN Triple M property. In a June 18 announcement, the company interpreted the anomalies as “parallel basement conductive trends analogous to conductors associated with” the Fission/Alpha discovery.

Triple M’s conductive trends are two kilometres and 3.5 kilometres long. The latter “closely parallels a magnetic linear suggesting a basement fault and has localized anomalous conductivity along the entire trend. The two-kilometre conductor trend has sharp magnetic contacts flanking the strong conductive centre,” Aldrin stated. Similar features are found at PLS and most of the Basin’s high-grade uranium mineralization, the company added.

The VTEM magnetic and electromagnetic survey continues, a joint operation that’s flying contiguous PLS-area properties held by Aldrin, Athabasca Nuclear TSXV:ASC, Forum Uranium TSXV:FDC and Skyharbour Resources TSXV:SYH. Lucky Strike Resources TSXV:LKY and Noka Resources TSXV:NX each hold a 25% earn-in option on Skyharbour’s properties.

On June 12 Aldrin announced it was adding infill lines to increase the resolution of its survey from 200-metre to 100-metre spacing. The company holds a 70% option on the 12,001-hectare Triple M property.

Fission plans summer program for North Shore property in Alberta

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere

On the Alberta side of the Basin, Fission Uranium’s North Shore
property has a summer program that includes geophysics,
prospecting and radon surveys.

Saying “there are still many underexplored areas of the Athabasca Basin,” Fission announced plans for its North Shore property on June 17. Located in Alberta on the Basin’s northwestern edge, the project was waiting completion of the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan, a provincial environmental and land use study. This summer’s program now includes a high-resolution airborne radiometric survey as well as ground prospecting, geophysics and radon surveys.

The 55,160-hectare property features several anomalous uranium showings in boulders and outcrop, including sandstone boulders grading up to 1.39% U3O8, the company stated.

Lakeland appoints David Hodge and Ryan Fletcher directors

Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK announced two appointments to its board of directors June 21. With over 17 years’ experience managing and financing publicly traded companies, David Hodge is president of project generator Zimtu Capital TSXV:ZC and a director of Western Potash TSX:WPX, Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE and Pasinex Resources CNSX:PSE. His approach emphasizes team-building, consultation and leadership, as well as a reliance on expert advice.

Ryan Fletcher serves as president/CEO/director of Montan Capital TSXV:MO.P and as a director of Zimtu. He’s been responsible for identifying and sourcing projects, structuring companies and investments, raising capital, business development and marketing.

The newcomers replace Robert Duess and Daniel Wilson, whom Lakeland thanked for their contributions. The company holds nine Basin properties totalling over 100,000 hectares.

Next Page 1 | 2

Peter Grandich on Junior Miners

May 19th, 2011

Part III of a May 10 Interview

By Kevin Michael Grace

Q: Over the last year I’ve heard constantly that the prices of gold and silver mining stocks do not reflect the increases in the prices of silver and gold. This still seems to be the case, and in March most junior miners took a shellacking on the TSX. Why?

A: The mining industry, and junior miners in particulars, has become far more difficult for the average person to be involved with. First of all, financial services businesses were commissions driven; now they’re asset gatherers. There used to be lots of what we could call brokers, whose business was based on buying and selling stocks. Some of them would specialize as gold brokers; they would specialize in mining shares and what have you. This change, added to the deep discounting of commissions, took away a large group that used to be in there buying mining shares.

And in the US, there has been regulatory overkill regarding stocks that don’t trade on the NASDAQ or AMEX. Most U.S. brokerage firms now don’t allow solicitation of shares trading on the TSX. A lot of brokerage firms are now stopping unsolicited orders. The other thing that’s hurt the junior resource market is the shortening of the hold time on private placements, down to four months. Too much paper comes back into the market.

Part III of a May 10 Interview

Q: I wrote about one of your clients, Abacus, recently. They seem to have all the factors necessary for a successful company, and yet their market cap is $37 million and they trade at 18 cents. I’ve noticed this with other companies as well, and it’s a mystery to me.

A: The other problem is the speculators. Now, with deep discounting of commissions, they can now afford to buy a few thousand shares, and if it goes up a penny, they can sell it and make a profit. This wasn’t possible before. And despite commodities becoming a more legitimized asset class, we’ve not seen any real increase in the overall interest in the mining industry. The percentage of people that own juniors is probably less now than it was 10 or 15 years ago. Case in point: wherever I go to speak at a conference at all it’s always the same dozen or so men and women speaking, the so-called experts. Whereas if you go to a technology or retail industry show, you’ll find dozens if not hundreds of different experts.

In fact, if you talk to people in the industry, they’re expecting to find it even more difficult to attract skilled labour, geologists, mining engineers, etc. At these shows, most people have gray hair like I do. It’s not an industry a lot of young people go into. All of these things, despite great metal increases, have handicapped mining share prices.

Q: Does this suggest companies should get as much institutional investment as they can?

A: That’s a plus and a minus. Yes, you can get one institution to buy a million shares versus a thousand people buying a thousand shares. The problem is that institutional investors are almost always trying to do it through private placements rather than buying in the market. As soon as they do, they’re looking for that mining company to increase retail interest so they can provide liquidity. And they don’t get it for many of the reasons we just discussed. Despite the price increases, institutional investors have not come to the junior market like they were before the financial crisis in 2008. We haven’t had an area play to bring institutions back, although the Yukon gold rush now is the closest we’ve had in quite some time.

With deep discounting of commissions, speculators can afford to buy a few thousand shares, and if it goes up a penny, they can now sell it and make a profit – Peter Grandich

Q: Vancouver is arguably the most important mining city in the world, and yet I note that the Vancouver Sun has almost no mining coverage. Considering how important mining is to Canada and given the 82% rise of silver last year and very healthy rise in gold, there is very little national mining coverage in this country. Why not?

A: I think it’s interesting for an American to look at because natural resources are Canada’s second nature. But at the same time the Canadian market itself is not large in terms of potential investors. The industry has never been able to broaden its appeal to increase demand. I’m prejudiced (and I’ll note that they’re clients of mine), but I certainly believe the Hunter Dickinson group of Vancouver is in the top three in the whole world of small to mid-sized mining groups. Yet you can ask American investors, and they’ve never even heard of them. Here’s a group that’s among the best capitalized, best staffed, with the best investors participating in their deals, and they’re hardly known in the US.

This lack of recognition is partly to blame on the industry itself. They’ve never come together to market themselves. Here in the US, retailers, car companies, etc, all have a lobby, association, what have you. The mining industry does have some big conferences, like PDAC, and for that short period the local media will cover it. But there’s never been an active campaign to persuade the investment community of the advantages in investing in junior miners. Of course the juniors don’t have a lot of capital, and what they have they need to expand their own businesses.

Again, I’m prejudiced, but you think investors would notice that there’s no real cobalt producer in North America. The only one that can hopefully become one is Formation Metals. You would think that Americans would start to understand how strategic cobalt is, but you know they don’t. When you talk to people about this company they don’t even know what cobalt does. Yet they’d be the first to tell you that we need green energy; we need to have electrical cars.

Q: What’s your rest-of-2011 forecast for the junior mining sector?

A: The good news is I don’t think we’re going to have a summer swoon, I think we’ve had this swoon already. The people who think the juniors are going to fall 20%, 30%, 40% more are in for a rude awakening. I think two weeks ago we saw the lows in the junior market. I don’t think we’re skyrocketing back up because things do get kind of quiet during the vacation season, but I think we’ve seen the lows, and part of that reason is we’ve seen the lows of the metal prices. At the same time I don’t think we’re anything close to like what you said earlier, to levels that we should be trading at, given where the prices are.

Read Part I

Read Part II

Part III of a May 10 Interview

Peter Grandich is the founder of Grandich.com and Grandich Publications, LLC, and is editor of The Grandich Letter, first published in 1984. Grandich Publications, Inc. provides research, analysis, and investor relation services for certain of the companies featured in the articles appearing in its publications.

Minor Metals No More

January 19th, 2011

Vancouver’s Critical Metals Symposium Introduces Junior Miners to End User Investors

By Kevin Michael Grace

What are critical metals? According to John Kaiser of Kaiser Research Online, they are “Metals which tend to be incremental but critical inputs to end products whose total value vastly exceeds their costs.” Not exciting? How about this, then? They are metals critical to photovoltaics, electronic manufacturing, catalytic converters, alloys and magnets. Still not impressed? OK, let’s just say they are metals critical to the production of everything from HD TVs to steel, from cell phones, electric windmills and car batteries to lasers and other top-secret military devices.

Specifically, they include the 17 rare earth elements, as well as cobalt, vanadium, manganese, tungsten, molybdenum, tantalum and lithium. As Kaiser says, “They used to be called minor metals, but they are not so minor anymore.” Especially as exploding demand coupled with China’s decision to end rare earths exports has resulted in a, well, critical shortage.

Vancouver's Critical Metals Symposium Introduces Junior Miners to End User Investors

And it is precisely this shortage that the Critical Metals Investment Symposium, to be held at Vancouver’s Pan Pacific Hotel, January 21 to 22, has been devised to alleviate. It is, according to organizer Cambridge House International Inc, “the first conference in the world to bring together the multitude of parties involved in finding solutions to the developing world crisis in the supply shortage of rare earth and strategic metals.”

Cambridge Chairman Joe Martin says, “The purpose of this conference is to show the end users [i.e., the industrial, consumer and military entities that use critical metals] that there is an entire industry in Canada, the junior resource industry, which taps into the capital markets for sourcing and developing these metals which the big mining companies cannot be bothered with because their markets are too small and complex. The hope is that as these juniors demonstrate the solutions they have to this problem, capital will come in from downstream sources and invest in these companies to help bring deposits to the market and solve this security of supply problem.”

At press time, 28 mining companies (25 TSX or TSXV listed) are signed up as exhibitors. Speakers include Shigeo Nakamura of Advance Material Japan Corp, Cheng Zhanheng and Lin Donglu of the Chinese Society of Rare Earths, Jaakko Kooroshy of the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies and Jim Powell of Laurentian Bank Securities. Martin won’t reveal the attendees, but they are thought to include representatives of the major American computer software and hardware companies.

Vancouver is the ideal host for this conference, because, as Martin points out, “60% of all minerals exploration in the world is done by Canadian companies, with two-thirds of those headquartered in Vancouver.” John Kaiser, who is also a speaker, argues that the race to find new sources of critical metals will be a boon to Canadian companies due to the implications of the Dodd-Frank Act, signed into US law by President Barack Obama in July 2010. This law, Kaiser explains, stipulates that “There must be a chain of command confirming that the supply of minerals is ‘conflict-free.’ So if end users get their tantalum from a mine in Canada, they can demonstrate it is clean, mined in a country whose environmental standards are the highest in the world, as opposed to being mined in the killing fields of the Congo, basically through a form of slave labour.”

This is the first time the end user has been invited to meet the explorers – David Hodge, Commerce Resources

Martin notes that one Vancouver junior, FCO:CA Metals, has already benefitted greatly from Dodd-Frank. The Democratic Republic of the Congo produces 40% of the world’s cobalt, which is now effectively banned in the US, while FCO:CA has found a deposit in Idaho. As a result, its share price has gone from about 75 cents in September to about $2.40 today.

Another Vancouver company set to benefit is Commerce Resources, which has a major tantalum-niobium deposit in BC. President David Hodge says of the conference, “This is the first time the end user has been invited to meet the explorers. And cell phone users, anybody who drives a car or flies in an airplane, they all have an interest in solving the critical metals problem. Specifically, Sony, Panasonic and the other big brands need a supply of critical metals.”

Hodge concludes, “Without this ethical supply, companies will not be able to satisfy consumers. The people of the world are saying that we will no longer put up with the rape, pillage and murder that is happening in the Congo and Rwanda in order to supply our lifestyles.”