Tuesday 22nd October 2019

Resource Clips

Posts tagged ‘Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd (KL)’

VRIC returns

January 9th, 2019

The Vancouver Resource Investment Conference turns opportunity into an event

by Greg Klein

The Vancouver Resource Investment Conference turns opportunity into an event

Capacity crowds packed keynote speeches at VRIC 2018.


Described as the bellwether of junior mining for 25 years, the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference maintains that reputation by adapting its content to ever-changing times. The event returns January 20 to 21 with a busy agenda and new features to keep the Convention Centre buzzing with insights, perspectives and the always anticipated tips. With about 360 exhibitors and nearly 70 speakers signed so far, Jay Martin expects to see 8,000 to 9,000 attendees, a number that bodes well for the sector overall.

The Vancouver Resource Investment Conference turns opportunity into an event

Impromptu discussion brought together speakers,
company reps and investors at last year’s conference.

“I’m really happy with the advance registration—it’s above last year even though the market hasn’t been fantastic,” says the president/CEO of Cambridge House International. “But Q4 was really strong for gold compared to the Dow and the S&P, and gold stocks did relatively well.”

Although just one of many commodities to come under VRIC scrutiny, gold has regained its importance to market watchers. But Martin’s also excited about some new events scheduled this year, among them a competition that pits two of the best-known stock pickers against each other. Audience participation promises to make the contest even more unpredictable.

“When you walk into the Main Speaker Hall on Sunday morning, you’ll be handed a little electronic voting device, kind of like a cellphone but much simpler. Frank Holmes will open up with a 20-minute keynote and then we get into a battle between Frank Holmes and Marin Katusa with their top three stock picks. The companies get up and give a really quick six-minute pitch. Then we ask the audience to vote in real time on their top pick. The results go live on the big screen.

“Then we ask the audience a second question: ‘Which fund manager, Marin or Frank, would you trust with your money?’ That’ll really put some pressure on these guys.”

The Vancouver Resource Investment Conference turns opportunity into an event

Of course the ultimate test will be the stocks’ subsequent performance. But another first for VRIC will be the iconoclastic Rex Murphy. Far beyond the narrow pale of Canadian journalism, the social and political commentator nevertheless is tolerated by the National Post and CBC, probably because he delivers his scathing pronouncements with such entertaining wit.

“He’s kind of an ambassador for the Canadian resource sector, he’s always been very outspoken in its defence,” Martin points out. “He’ll do a keynote and also sit on a panel to discuss the future of Canada’s resource economy and the junior mining sector. Rex has strong views on the resource sector although he doesn’t come from the industry. He’ll have a different perspective on how things work and how things will turn out.”

More iconoclasm, on the geopolitical front, will likely come from Jayant Bhandari who joins a roster of speakers including Katusa, Holmes, Gianni Kovacevic, Daniela Cambone and Brent Cook among other mining commentators, portfolio managers, newsletter writers, commodities analysts and company executives.

The Vancouver Resource Investment Conference turns opportunity into an event

The latter category will be out in force at the Exhibit Hall too, representing 360 or more firms and ready to discuss their projects in person. Attendees can also sign up to meet CEOs over coffee in the Deal Room.

An exciting VRIC agenda and impressive pre-registration has Martin buoyant about the market’s prospects.

“I’ve been cautiously optimistic for a couple of years but there’s a lot going on right now that could suggest there’s going to be a rally,” he explains. “There’s a lot of uncertainty in the U.S. markets, more than we’ve seen since 2008, bigger corrections than we’ve seen since 2008, and historically we’ve seen investors trend towards hard assets and conservative investments, and that’s gold and gold stocks. We’re seeing that boost already. If you look at Kirkland, Newmont, the big gold producers, they had a great fourth quarter. No other big stocks did. That’s classic behaviour. If you look at the gold price in Q4, we haven’t seen that in a long time. I look at investor registration at gold conferences, public company treasuries and marketing spend, and I see an increase in all three of those. I’m seeing all the right things.”

As a result, he expects yellow metal to regain prominence. “At our last three or four events, energy metals were the biggest draw. What we’re seeing leading up to this show is that gold is taking that position. We’re getting more interest in our gold companies, speakers and features. I expect the gold topics, conversations and panels to be the best-attended of this event.”

The Vancouver Resource Investment Conference turns opportunity into an event

The Vancouver Resource Investment Conference 2019 takes place January 20 to 21 at the
Vancouver Convention Centre West. To avoid the $30 admission fee, click here for free registration.

Caution steadies the hand for Canada’s top miners: PwC

March 1st, 2018

by Greg Klein | March 1, 2018

Last year saw “few eye-popping deals and only limited financing activity” as TSX-listed mining companies responded cautiously to improved markets, according to a new PricewaterhouseCoopers report. Like many of their peers internationally, the big board’s top 25 miners focused on “paying down debt, improving balance sheets and judiciously investing in capital projects as commodity prices largely stabilized.”

The findings come from Preparing for Growth: Capitalizing on a Period of Progress and Stability, released March 1.

Gold, the raison d’être for most of the miners, fell 3% during the year ending September 30. During that period the 225 TSX-listed miners (down from 230 the previous year) lost 4% of their aggregate value, compared with a 10% combined improvement for other sectors. Miners slipped to a 9% share of the entire TSX market, compared with 11% the previous year, holding ninth place among industries on the exchange. (Financial services came in first.)

Barrick Gold TSX:ABX, still the world’s top gold producer despite Newmont Mining’s (NYSE:NEM) challenge, held top place among TSX mining market caps as of September 30. The top stock was Kirkland Lake Gold TSX:KL, with a 175% price increase over the full year, following its billion-dollar takeout of Newmarket Gold. The acquisition represented part of a trend of “mid-market, intermediate gold companies looking to build scale and gain efficiencies through consolidation,” said John Matheson of PwC Canada.

Two since-merged companies, Potash Corp of Saskatchewan and Agrium, followed Barrick with second and third place among TSX mining valuations. Currently at about $41 billion, the potash combination Nutrien Ltd TSX:NTR has far surpassed Barrick’s $16.8-billion market cap.

Nearly half of the 225 companies had valuations of $150 million or less. But the category between $150 million and $1 billion boasted 74 companies, compared with 59 the previous year.

Nineteen of the top 25 had exposure to gold, 10 to copper, seven to zinc, six to silver and four to nickel, PwC stated. The report noted increasingly bullish sentiment for copper, zinc, cobalt and lithium. The latter mineral did especially well for five companies, with an approximately 39% total increase in valuations over nine months to September 30 for Orocobre TSX:ORL, Lithium Americas TSX:LAC, Nemaska Lithium TSX:NMX, Avalon Advanced Materials TSX:AVL and Globex Mining Enterprises TSX:GMX.

But overall, TSX miners “raised only half the equity capital in 2017 that they did the previous year. And for the second consecutive year, there were no mining initial public offerings on the TSX.”

That contrasts with a more buoyant, although still cautious mood among Venture-listed junior miners reported in November by PwC, which found a substantial increase in market caps, financings, M&A and IPOs for TSXV explorers.

Download Preparing for Growth: Capitalizing on a Period of Progress and Stability.

‘Everyone’s hiring again’

May 24th, 2017

Mining headhunter Andrew Pollard says executive recruiting presages a wave of M&A

by Greg Klein

As an executive search firm, the Mining Recruitment Group might serve as a bellwether for the industry. Founder and self-described mining headhunter Andrew Pollard says, “I put together management teams for companies, I connect people with opportunities and opportunities with people.” In that role, he experienced the upturn well before many industry players did.

To most of them, the long-awaited resurgence arrived late last year. Pollard saw it several months earlier.

Mining headhunter Andrew Pollard says executive recruiting could presage a wave of M&A

“The market came back in a huge way, at least in the hiring side, early last year when my phone started ringing a hell of a lot more,” he explains. “There was a huge volume. And what I’ve found is that the available talent pool for executives shrank in a period of about six months. In January 2016, for example, I was working on a search and there was almost a lineup out the door of some really big-name people. What I’m finding now, a year and a half later, is that the available talent has almost evaporated. It’s much harder to recruit for senior positions.”

Lately his work suggests another industry development. “The major upturn I’m seeing in the market now is a huge demand for corporate development people who can do technical due diligence on projects. Over the last few years large mining companies and investment banks cut staff almost to the bone in that regard because no one was interested in doing deals or looking at acquisitions.”

Just completed, his most recent placement was for Sprott. “They had me looking for someone with a technical background who can do due diligence for their investments. In doing so I spoke with everyone on the street, from investment banks to some big name corporate development people and they all said the same thing: Everyone’s hiring again. These are people who couldn’t get job offers a year ago, now every single candidate on the short list for this last search has multiple offers from companies looking to get them. I haven’t seen that in five years.

“So that leads me to believe companies have been staffing up their corporate development teams. I see that as a major sign that you’re going to see M&A pick up in a huge, huge way, probably over the next three to six months.”

An early example would be last week’s Eldorado Gold TSX:ELD buyout of Integra Gold TSXV:ICG—“one of my best clients over the years”—in a deal valued at $590 million.

Mining headhunter Andrew Pollard says executive recruiting could presage a wave of M&A

Andrew Pollard: Executive recruiting “leads me to believe companies have been staffing up their corporate development teams.”

“I think there’s leverage for other companies to start pulling the trigger faster because they’re adding the expertise to get these things done.”

Having founded the Mining Recruitment Group over a decade ago at the age of 20, “a snotty kid” with only a single year of related experience, he’s placed people in companies with market caps ranging from $5 million to well over $200 million. Now in a position to pick and choose his assignments, Pollard’s business concentrates on “the roles that will have the most impact on a company’s future.” That tends to be CEO, president, COO and board appointments.

Last year he placed five CEOs, as well as other positions. Among those assignments, Pollard worked with Frank Giustra on a CEO search for Fiore Exploration TSXV:F and filled another vacancy for Treasury Metals TSX:TML as it advances Goliath toward production.

But the hiring surge coincides with an industry-wide recruitment challenge. Pollard attributes that to a demographic predicament complicated by mining’s notorious cyclicality.

During the 1990s, he points out, fewer people chose mining careers, resulting in a shortage of staffers who’d now be in their 40s and 50s. Greater numbers joined up during the more promising mid-2000s, only to “get spat out” when markets went south. Now Pollard gets a lot of calls to replace baby boomers who want to retire. Too many of those retirements are coming around the same time, he says, because stock losses during the downturn had forced executives to postpone their exit.

Now, with a wave of retirements coinciding with a demographic gap, Pollard sees a “perfect storm to identify the next batch of young leaders.”

But he also sees promise in a new generation. That inspired him to assemble Young Leaders, one of two panel discussions he’ll present at the International Metal Writers Conference in Vancouver on May 28 and 29.

“By talking with some very successful executives age 35 and under, I want to show that we need to look at people one generation younger, and foster and develop this talent.”

By talking with some very successful executives age 35 and under, I want to show that we need to look at people one generation younger, and foster and develop this talent.

Well, it’s either talent or a precocious Midas touch that distinguishes these panel members. Maverix Metals TSXV:MMX CEO Dan O’Flaherty co-founded the royalty/streaming company just last year, already accumulating assets in 10 countries and a $200-million market cap.

As president/CEO of Skyharbour Resources TSXV:SYH, Jordan Trimble proved adept at fundraising and deal-making while building a 250,000-hectare uranium-thorium exploration portfolio in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin. Integra president/CEO Steve de Jong raised the company from a $10-million market cap in 2012 to last week’s $590-million takeout.

And, demographic gap notwithstanding, Pollard’s second panel features three other success stories, just a bit older but with lots of potential left after guiding three of last year’s biggest M&A deals. They’ll take part in the Vision to Exit discussion, which closes the conference on May 29.

Eira Thomas burst into prominence at the Lac de Gras diamond fields where she discovered Diavik at age 24. Her most recent major coup took place last year on the Klondike gold fields with Goldcorp’s (TSX:G) $520-million buyout of Kaminak Gold.

Featherstone Capital president/CEO Doug Forster founded and led Newmarket Gold, producing over 225,000 ounces a year from three Australian mines and enticing Kirkland Lake Gold’s (TSX:KL) billion-dollar offer.

Now chairperson of Liberty Gold TSX:LGD and a director of NexGen Energy TSX:NXE, Mark O’Dea co-founded and chaired True Gold Mining, acquired in April 2016 by Endeavour Mining TSX:EDV. Three other companies that O’Dea co-founded, led and sold were Fronteer Gold, picked up by Newmont Mining NYSE:NEM in 2011; Aurora Energy, sold to Paladin Energy TSX:PDN in 2011; and True North Nickel, in which Royal Nickel TSX:RNX bought a majority interest in 2014.

“We’ll be looking at how they go into deals, what their philosophy is, what’s their current reading of the market and what they’re going to do next. They each have a big future ahead of them.”

Pollard’s two panel discussions take place at the International Metal Writers Conference on May 28 and 29 at the Vancouver Convention Centre East. Pre-register for free or pay $20 at the door.

In all, the conference brings generations of talent, expertise and insight to an audience of industry insiders and investors alike.

Read more about the International Metal Writers Conference.