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Paved with mineralization

October 27th, 2017

Norman B. Keevil’s memoir retraces Teck’s—and his own—rocky road to success

by Greg Klein

Norman B. Keevil’s memoir retraces Teck’s—and his own—rocky road to success

Profitable right from the beginning, Teck’s Elkview mine “would become
the key chip in the consolidation of the Canadian steelmaking coal industry.”
(Photo: Teck Resources)

 

“We were all young and relatively inexperienced in such matters in those days.”

He was referring to copper futures, a peril then unfamiliar to him. But the remark’s a bit rich for someone who was, at the time he’s writing about, 43 years old and president/CEO of a company that opened four mines in the previous six years. Still, the comment helps relate how Norman B. Keevil enjoyed the opportune experience of maturing professionally along with a company that grew into Canada’s largest diversified miner. Now chairperson of Teck Resources, he’s penned a memoir/corporate history/fly-on-the-wall account that’s a valuable contribution to Canadian business history, not to mention the country’s rich mining lore.

Norman B. Keevil’s memoir retraces Teck’s—and his own—road to success

Norman B. Keevil
(Photo: Teck Resources)

Never Rest on Your Ores: Building a Mining Company, One Stone at a Time follows the progress of a group of people determined to avoid getting mined out or taken out. In addition to geoscientific, engineering and financial expertise, luck accompanies them (much of the time, anyway), as does acumen (again, much of the time anyway).

Teck gains its first foothold as a predecessor company headed by Keevil’s father, Norman Bell Keevil, drills Temagami, a project that came up barren for Anaconda. The new guys hit 28% copper over 17.7 metres. Further drilling leads to the three-sentence feasibility study:

Dr. Keevil: What shall we do about Temagami?

Joe Frantz: Let’s put it into production.

Bill Bergey: Sounds good to me.

They schedule production for two and a half months later.

A few other stories relate a crucial 10 seconds in the Teck-Hughes acquisition, the accidental foray into Saskatchewan oil, the Toronto establishment snubbing Afton because of its VSE listing, an underhanded ultimatum from the British Columbia government, getting out of the oyster business and winning an unheard-of 130% financing for Hemlo.

Readers learn how Murray Pezim out-hustled Robert Friedland. But when it came to Voisey’s, Friedland would play Inco and Falconbridge “as though he were using a Stradivarius.” Keevil describes one guy welching on a deal with the (apparently for him) unarguable excuse that it was only a “gentleman’s agreement.”

Norman B. Keevil’s memoir retraces Teck’s—and his own—rocky road to success

Through it all, Teck gets projects by discovery or acquisition and puts them into production. Crucial to this success was the Teck team, with several people getting honourable mention. The author’s closest accomplice was the late Robert Hallbauer, the former Craigmont pit supervisor whose team “would go on to build more new mines in a shorter time than anyone else had in Canadian history.” Deal-making virtuoso David Thompson also gets frequent mention, with one performance attributed to his “arsenal of patience, knowledge of the opponents, more knowledge of the business than some of them had, and a tad of divide and conquer…”

Partnerships span the spectrum between blessing and curse. International Telephone and Telegraph backs Teck’s first foray into Chile but frustrates its ability to do traditional mining deals. The Elk Valley Coal Partnership puts Teck, a company that reinvests revenue into growth, at odds with the dividend-hungry Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. Working with a Cominco subsidiary, Keevil finds the small-cap explorer compromised by the “ephemeral response of the junior stock market.” And smelters rip off miners. But that doesn’t mean a smelter can’t become a valued partner.

Keevil argues the case for an almost cartel-like level of co-operation among miners. Co-ordinated decisions could avoid surplus production, he maintains. Teck’s consolidation of Canada’s major coal mines helped the industry stand up to Japanese steelmakers, who had united to take advantage of disorganized Canadian suppliers. “Anti-trust laws may be antediluvian,” he states.

Keevil admits some regrets, like missing Golden Giant and a Kazakhstan gold project now valued at $2 billion. The 2008 crash forced Teck to give up Cobre Panama, now “expected to be a US$6 billion copper mine.” Teck settled a coal partnership impasse by buying out the Ontario Teachers’ share for $12 billion. Two months later the 2008 crisis struck. Over two years Teck plunged from $3.6 billion in net cash to $12 billion in net debt.

But he wonders if his own biggest mistake was paying far too much for the remaining 50% of Cominco when an outright purchase might not have been necessary. Keevil attributes the initial 50%, on the other hand, to a miracle of deal-making.

For the most part Keevil ends his account in 2005, when he relinquishes the top job to Don Lindsay. By that time the company had 11 operating mines and a smelting/refining facility at Trail. A short chapter on the following 10 years, among the most volatile since the early ’70s, credits Teck with “a classic recovery story which deserves a full chapter in the next edition of Never Rest on Your Ores.” Such a sequel might come in another 10 years, he suggests.

Let’s hope he writes it, although it’ll be a different kind of book. As chairperson he won’t be as closely involved in the person-to-person, deal-to-deal, mine-to-mine developments that comprise the greatest strength of this book—that and the fact that the author grew with the company as it became Canada’s largest diversified miner.

Meanwhile, maybe Lindsay’s been keeping a diary.

The author’s proceeds go to two organizations that promote mining awareness, MineralsEd and Mining Matters.

April 13th, 2016

China goes prospecting for world’s gold mines NAI 500
SWOT analysis: Yellen’s interest rate intentions are good for gold GoldSeek
Tesla will need a lot of graphite and lithium—but China will need even more Benchmark Mineral Intelligence
Gold had its best quarter in a generation. So where are the investors? Stockhouse
Here’s what we know about the Panama Papers so far Equities.com
Epic battle rages on: “Ali-Frazier” in the Crimex pits Streetwise Reports
The China Rare Earth Association takes stock Industrial Minerals
Gold stock rally’s market cap bias may surprise you SmallCapPower

April 11th, 2016

SWOT analysis: Yellen’s interest rate intentions are good for gold GoldSeek
Tesla will need a lot of graphite and lithium—but China will need even more Benchmark Mineral Intelligence
Bank of Canada official says Chinese demand for Canadian resources will keep rising NAI 500
Gold had its best quarter in a generation. So where are the investors? Stockhouse
Here’s what we know about the Panama Papers so far Equities.com
Epic battle rages on: “Ali-Frazier” in the Crimex pits Streetwise Reports
The China Rare Earth Association takes stock Industrial Minerals
Gold stock rally’s market cap bias may surprise you SmallCapPower

April 8th, 2016

Tesla will need a lot of graphite and lithium—but China will need even more Benchmark Mineral Intelligence
How to prevent hackers from erasing your bank account GoldSeek
Bank of Canada official says Chinese demand for Canadian resources will keep rising NAI 500
Gold had its best quarter in a generation. So where are the investors? Stockhouse
Here’s what we know about the Panama Papers so far Equities.com
Epic battle rages on: “Ali-Frazier” in the Crimex pits Streetwise Reports
The China Rare Earth Association takes stock Industrial Minerals
Gold stock rally’s market cap bias may surprise you SmallCapPower

April 6th, 2016

How to prevent hackers from erasing your bank account GoldSeek
Bank of Canada official says Chinese demand for Canadian resources will keep rising NAI 500
Gold had its best quarter in a generation. So where are the investors? Stockhouse
Here’s what we know about the Panama Papers so far Equities.com
Epic battle rages on: “Ali-Frazier” in the Crimex pits Streetwise Reports
The China Rare Earth Association takes stock Industrial Minerals
Lithium’s state of affairs Benchmark Mineral Intelligence
Gold stock rally’s market cap bias may surprise you SmallCapPower

April 5th, 2016

Here’s what we know about the Panama Papers so far Equities.com
SWOT analysis: Is the bear market in gold over? GoldSeek
Epic battle rages on: “Ali-Frazier” in the Crimex pits Streetwise Reports
The China Rare Earth Association takes stock Industrial Minerals
Lithium’s state of affairs Benchmark Mineral Intelligence
Gold stock rally’s market cap bias may surprise you SmallCapPower
Commodity veteran says you just can’t tell when markets will turn NAI 500
Electric car war sends lithium prices sky high Stockhouse

Panama holds $200 billion in mineral resources waiting to be mined—Government

January 20th, 2014

by Cecilia Jamasmie | January 20, 2014 | Reprinted by permission of MINING.com

Mining has become one of the fastest-growing sectors in the Panamanian economy, and it is expected to expand even quicker after the government disclosed last week it has identified mineral reserves estimated at $200 billion at current prices.

Zorel Morales, chairman of the Mining Chamber of Panama (CAMIPA) told local paper La Estrella (in Spanish) that mining-related activities jumped 25% in 2013, but with the billions in mineral reserves waiting to be mined, that’s only the beginning.

“So far we have identified 50 billion pounds of copper reserves, 12 million ounces of gold, 25,000 ounces of silver and 250 tons of molybdenum … Of this total, 53% must stay in the country in the form of taxes on income and dividends,” Morales was quoted as saying.

Construction and development of the $6.2-billion copper, gold, silver and molybdenum Cobre Panama mine, on the country’s Atlantic coast, helped expand the mining industry by a third for the quarter.

Expected to become one of the world’s largest open pit copper developments and Panama’s biggest source of exports, the mine’s first shipments are due in 2016, according to Minera Panama, a subsidiary of Canada’s First Quantum Minerals TSX:FM.

Slow take-off

Despite its important mineral reserves, Panama has not experienced a mining boom. There is only one operating mine in the country, the Molejon gold mine, which is also run by a Canadian firm, Vancouver-based Petaquilla Minerals TSX:PTQ.

Apart from the touted Cobre Panama, there are other projects expected to begin operations soon, such as the gold-copper Cerro Quema mine by Canadian junior Pershimco Resources TSXV:PRO and the reopening of the Santa Rosa gold mine, in production from 1996 to 1998.

One of the fastest-growing economies in the world, Panama mostly evaded the global recession, expanding by double digits for four of the past six years.

Reprinted by permission of MINING.com

Pershimco reports Panama Results of 0.91 g/t Gold, 0.06% Copper over 98m

March 22nd, 2012

Resource Clips - essential news on junior gold mining and junior silver miningPershimco Resources Inc TSXV:PRO announced assays from La Pava Deposit of its Cerro Quema Project in southwest Panama. Highlights include

0.91 g/t gold, 4.47 g/t silver and 0.06% copper over 98 metres
(including 0.51 g/t gold, 20.35 g/t silver and 0.09% copper over 16 metres)
0.47 g/t gold, 4.79 g/t silver and 0.04% copper over 159 metres
(including 1.19 g/t gold, 0.47 g/t silver and 0.05% copper over 19 metres)
0.32 g/t gold, 2.14 g/t silver and 1.17% copper over 41 metres
(including 0.92 g/t gold, 6.22 g/t silver and 3.06% copper over 13 metres)
0.84 g/t gold, 0.58 g/t silver and 0.09% copper over 62 metres
0.92 g/t gold, 0.54 g/t silver and 0.02% copper over 27 metres
0.12 g/t gold, 0.52 g/t silver and 1.04% copper over 28 metres

President/CEO Alain Bureau remarked, “We are very satisfied with these latest results which keep increasing the value of the project. With the airborne geophysics exercise that already started and the high-grade copper covellite intercepts at depth, my team is definitely showing that we are heading in the right direction.”

View Company Profile

Contact:
Pershimco Resources Inc
819.797.2180

by Greg Klein

Pershimco reports Panama Assays up to 1.84 g/t Gold over 71m

September 29th, 2011

Resource Clips - essential news on junior gold mining and junior silver miningPershimco Resources Inc TSXV:PRO announced results from its Cerro Quema Project in Panama. Highlights include

1.84 g/t gold, 0.85 g/t silver and 0.2% copper over 71 metres
(including 3.61 g/t gold, 1.54 g/t silver and 0.06% copper over 36 metres)
0.93 g/t gold, 2.02 g/t silver and 0.08% copper over 94 metres
(including 1.58 g/t gold, 0.56 g/t silver and 0.01% copper over 27 metres)
6.48 g/t gold, 2.05 g/t silver and 0.06% copper over 13 metres
2.09 g/t gold, 0.66 g/t silver and 0.18% copper over 27 metres

Cerro Quema is located about 45 kilometres from the city of Chitre and about 190 kilometres from Panama City. The project’s camp is next to the concessions, with road access, water, power and communications.

View Company Profile

Contact:
Alain Bureau
President/CEO
819.797.2180

by Greg Klein