Tuesday 26th September 2017

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The Greenwood renaissance

June 23rd, 2017

Golden Dawn Minerals moves to revive the historic B.C. mining camp

by Greg Klein

It’s a case of one bold decision leading to another. Among the companies that saw opportunity during the downturn, Golden Dawn Minerals TSXV:GOM began picking up past-producers, assembling a cluster of properties radiating around a mill in south-central British Columbia’s fabled Greenwood mining district. Now, with a recently released PEA and some of the permits in place, the company’s ready to boldly venture into trial mining sans feasibility.

Company adviser George Sookochoff credits president/CEO Wolf Wiese with being “very aggressive in making deals, acquiring properties and putting together this fantastic package. Now that markets are looking better, he’s already got his projects and financing lined up.”

Golden Dawn Minerals moves to revive the historic B.C. mining camp

Golden Dawn’s mill plays a vital role in the
company’s plans to re-activate the past-producing mines.

So extensive is Golden Dawn’s portfolio that it reads more like a catalogue. But the initial focal points constitute a mill with three nearby past-producers: the Lexington-Grenoble gold-copper, Golden Crown gold-copper and May Mac gold-silver-lead-zinc mines. The company’s crushing-grinding-gravity-flotation mill and tailings facility has a 212-tpd capacity expandable to 400 tpd. Built in 2007, it’s been on care and maintenance since the end of 2008.

“The mill is key to the potential success of this economic model,” Sookochoff explains. “It enables us to mine and process smaller deposits. We’ll find bigger deposits if they’re there but we could keep feeding the mill with these smaller deposits. All these projects are within 15 kilometres of the mill.”

With the advantages of refurbishable infrastructure straddling a highway 500 kilometres east of Vancouver, the PEA calculates a very high after-tax IRR of 103.4% and NPV of $19.7 million. Capex would come to $27.2 million, including pre-production costs of $3.4 million spent over six months. Payback would come in 1.4 years, while the life of mine would be 4.6 years.

The limited lifespan, of course, highlights the importance of resource expansion, Sookochoff emphasizes.

This week the company announced provincial approval to re-activate Lexington and the mill. The 2,020-hectare Lexington property had its underground infrastructure expanded by a previous operator that mined the project from April to December 2008, producing 5,486 ounces of gold, 3,247 ounces of silver and 860,259 pounds of copper that was processed at the Greenwood mill. Using a 3.5 g/t gold-equivalent cutoff, Lexington has a 2016 resource showing:

  • measured: 58,000 tonnes averaging 6.98 g/t gold, 1.1% copper and 8.63 g/t gold-equivalent for 16,100 gold-equivalent ounces

  • indicated: 314,000 tonnes averaging 6.38 g/t gold, 1.04% copper and 7.94 g/t gold-equivalent for 80,200 gold-equivalent ounces

  • inferred: 12,000 tonnes averaging 4.42 g/t gold, 1.03% copper and 5.96 g/t gold-equivalent for 2,300 gold-equivalent ounces

At Golden Crown, meanwhile, permitting is in process for surface drilling to upgrade the resource and test for extensions. The 1,017-hectare property underwent small-scale underground gold-copper mining early last century and extensive exploration on and off since then. Using a 3.5 g/t gold-equivalent cutoff, Golden Crown’s 2016 resource shows:

  • indicated: 163,000 tonnes averaging 11.09 g/t gold, 0.56% copper and 11.93 g/t gold-equivalent for 62,500 gold-equivalent ounces

  • inferred: 42,000 tonnes averaging 9.04 g/t gold, 0.43% copper and 9.68 g/t gold-equivalent for 13,100 gold-equivalent ounces

May Mac also has permit applications under review, these ones for underground drifting, drilling and bulk sampling. A previous round of underground drilling wrapped up in spring, resulting in high-grade silver-gold-base metals assays. Surface drilling continues.

But Golden Dawn’s very extensive assets—again, all proximal to the mill—offer additional potential to keep the facility busy beyond the PEA’s timespan. Among them are 29 former mines covering 11,000 hectares that came with the January acquisition of Kettle River Resources. One focus is the former Phoenix mine that reportedly gave up around 500 million pounds of copper and nearly one million ounces of gold. Sookochoff, a database specialist, has been poring over something like a century’s worth of files including approximately 3,000 maps and 500 reports.

In the last few years especially, junior companies have been able to acquire so much data that it’s a challenge to handle it efficiently.—George Sookochoff
Golden Dawn Minerals adviser

“In the last few years especially, junior companies have been able to acquire so much data that it’s a challenge to handle it efficiently,” he says. Nevertheless, after compiling the archives and incorporating new exploration data, he hopes to see some “deeper-seated feeder systems” underlying the shallow former mines.

Phoenix has deep-penetration airborne VTEM planned for September, he says. “If we get a strong anomaly coincident with a former mine, we’ll know that’s a mineralized geophysical signature and we’ll look for similar signatures around the property. This should be extremely valuable to identify larger systems deeper down, or even smaller ones closer to surface.”

Additional potential, not covered by the PEA, could come from Washington state. Earlier this month Golden Dawn announced an LOI for the Lone Star copper-gold property just across the border and contiguous with Lexington. With “material that looks very suitable to our mill,” the 234-hectare property would come with a 2007 estimate that the company considers non-43-101:

  • indicated: 63,000 tonnes averaging 1.28 g/t gold and 2.3% copper for 2,600 ounces gold and 3.19 million pounds copper

  • inferred: 682,000 tonnes averaging 1.46 g/t gold and 2% copper for 32,000 ounces gold and 30.07 million pounds copper

Big plans notwithstanding, Golden Dawn’s not immune to the typical junior hope that a senior might come knocking. The Greenwood camp’s largest landholder is Kinross Gold TSX:K. As the company’s Buckhorn mine close to the B.C. border in Washington state nears depletion, Kinross might look for other convenient assets to keep its Kettle River mill in operation, Sookochoff suggests. That might make some of Golden Dawn’s primarily gold assets attractive, although the high-grade copper projects would be more suitable for the Greenwood mill, he says.

As a native of Grand Forks, about a half-hour drive east, Sookochoff says the region shows strong community support for mining. A packed open house held in December went very well, he adds, and the company enjoys “very positive relations with the Osoyoos Indian Band. They’re very supportive, very pro-business.”

Earlier this month Golden Dawn closed the final tranche of a private placement totalling $1.76 million. In February the company closed a gold purchase agreement that brought in US$4 million. That same month the company received a US$1-million increase in a convertible security that began the previous August at US$2.4 million. Even with the caveat that the company intends to proceed without feasibility-level de-risking, the PEA allows Golden Dawn to return to the market “with a stronger story now,” says Sookochoff.

Golden Dawn Minerals to add American past-producer to B.C. holdings

June 2nd, 2017

by Greg Klein | June 2, 2017

Geology disregards the 49th Parallel, so Golden Dawn Minerals TSXV:GOM has turned to northern Washington state to expand its southern British Columbia portfolio. Under a non-binding LOI announced June 2, the company would acquire the 234-hectare Lone Star copper-gold property in the U.S. contiguous to its Greenwood claims in B.C.

Golden Dawn Minerals to add American past-producer to B.C. holdings

Golden Dawn hopes to revive the historic silver-gold-polymetallic camp, beginning with the former May Mac, Lexington and Golden Crown mines, all proximal to the company’s gravity-flotation mill with a 200-tpd capacity expandable to 400 tpd.

Another past-producer, Lone Star operated from 1897 to 1918 and from 1977 to 1978. An estimate compiled in 2007, which Golden Dawn considers historic and non-43-101, showed:

  • indicated: 63,000 tonnes averaging 1.28 g/t gold and 2.3% copper for 2,600 ounces gold and 3.19 million pounds copper

  • inferred: 682,000 tonnes averaging 1.46 g/t gold and 2% copper for 32,000 ounces gold and 30.07 million pounds copper

Lexington’s rock types, structure and gold-copper mineralization continue south onto Lone Star, the company stated, “forming a three-kilometre-long prospective exploration trend of past-producing gold-copper mines and prospects, including the Lexington-Grenoble, Lexington, No. 7 and Lone Star mines.”

The new acquisition would cost Golden Dawn $200,000 cash and $200,000 in shares determined at the average price prior to announcing the LOI. A 2.5% NSR applies.

In April the company released silver-gold-lead-zinc assays from underground drilling at May Mac. Metallurgical tests for the past-producer have been conducted at the Greenwood mill, 15 kilometres away.

Golden Crown, meanwhile, has an application pending for surface drilling and preparations are underway for field work at the more recently acquired Kettle River properties.

Golden Dawn plans to reopen May Mac, Lexington, Golden Crown and the mill without de-risking the project at the feasibility level. Prior to filing on Sedar, the company is currently reviewing a recently completed PEA on all its B.C. Greenwood holdings. The report was commissioned to support a short form prospectus.

On June 2 Golden Dawn also closed the final tranche of a private placement totalling $1.76 million. Last February the company received a US$4-million advance on a gold purchase agreement.

Located about 500 kilometres east of Vancouver, the Greenwood properties have nearby highway access.

B.C. election: Inconclusive result puts focus on Green Party

May 10th, 2017

by Greg Klein | May 10, 2017

What looks like British Columbia’s first minority government since 1952 will evoke plenty of speculation, not the least from miners. As cliff-hanger metaphors competed with seesaw comparisons throughout the night of May 9, the B.C. election came to an inconclusive result by ResourceClips.com press time. While the B.C. Elections website took most of the day and night off, CBC pegged the post-midnight results at 43 Liberals elected, 41 New Democrats elected and three Greens in the upper echelons (two elected and one leading, compared with just one seat last time).

B.C. election: Inconclusive result puts focus on Green Party

During the campaign all three parties professed support for mining, especially the continuation of flow-through tax credits. But the much more vexatious issue of permitting drew largely euphemistic responses.

Quoted by the Association for Mineral Exploration, NDP leader John Horgan pledged his party would address the uncertainty of permitting by working with Geoscience B.C., the B.C. Geological Survey and First Nations “to develop comprehensive mineral land use plans.”

In the same publication Green leader Andrew Weaver professed his commitment to fix B.C.’s “structurally broken” environmental review process, in which the “professional reliance model” has lost the confidence of First Nations and the general public.

Former mines minister Bill Bennett, who retired as the writ was dropped, reminded AME about his government’s inducements to native support, including royalty sharing and training programs.

But the mining-related issue that unexpectedly gained most prominence was thermal coal and its trans-shipment from the U.S. to Asia via B.C. The stuff “fouls the air. It fouls the oceans. It’s terrible for the environment,” Canadian Press quoted BC Liberal leader Christy Clark.

She spoke in response to the U.S. president’s 20% tariff on softwood lumber imports, most of which come from B.C.

Her proposed $70-a-tonne penalty would not only cripple thermal coal exports from the U.S., but also from Alberta, to the detriment of that province’s mines and this province’s ports. Clark’s comments didn’t acknowledge B.C.’s reliance—notwithstanding its hydro resources—on Alberta’s coal-generated electricity. That’s not to mention B.C.’s dependency on nuclear-generated power from Washington state. B.C. has banned uranium exploration.

Additionally Clark’s proposal would hammer the final nail in the coffin of Quinsam, B.C.’s last thermal coal mine. Hillsborough Resources suspended the Vancouver Island underground operation in January 2016 due to low prices.

A coal mining topic unacknowledged in the campaign was the election’s coincidence with the 25th anniversary of Nova Scotia’s Westray disaster, which killed 26 miners. Down Easterners marked that anniversary as a former director of mine-owner Curragh Inc, 83-year-old BC Liberal Ralph Sultan, swept to his fifth straight victory in the affluent riding of West Vancouver-Capilano.

Meanwhile preliminary results offer the Greens potential power that’s unprecedented for their party in Canada. All three projected Green seats are on southern Vancouver Island, also home to Canada’s sole Green MP, Elizabeth May. Apart from B.C., only New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island have Green MLAs, one each in those two provinces.

However B.C. Green leader Andrew Weaver stands apart from the other parties’ undistinguished professional politicians. A University of Victoria professor, he shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his participation in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

His influence, with maybe two other Greens, could be formidable. That might be especially true since this election will mark the first new government after the 2014 Mount Polley tailings dam disaster that challenged public support for mining.

Name that company

May 29th, 2014

Zimtu Capital presents a contest to raise awareness about industrial minerals

 

Just as Vancouver’s annual spring investor conference rebrands itself, market-watchers will have the chance to help rebrand a company—and win a prize for doing so.

Electra Gold TSXV:ELT has an identity problem. It’s not a gold miner. It’s not a gold explorer. It’s an industrial minerals miner that’s been in production since 2003. But its public profile matches that of many industrial minerals companies. Electra produces a commodity we all take for granted but few people have even heard of.

Zimtu Capital presents a contest to raise awareness about industrial minerals

Hence the contest. Electra wants people to look at the company, its operation and its potential, and come up with a compelling name. The winner gets a prize from Zimtu Capital TSXV:ZC. The chance to participate comes at the Canadian Investor Conference 2014 held in Vancouver June 1 and 2. Entry forms will be on hand at booth 320 or by e-mail from TLowes [at] Zimtu.com.

So what does Electra do?

The company mines chalky geyserite at its PEM100 quarry, part of the Apple Bay project on Vancouver Island. Product is shipped to a customer in Seattle. Electra intends to continue exploration, acquisition and development of small-scale industrial minerals projects in addition to chalky geyserite.

Chalky geyserwhat?

Chalky geyserite. Also known as aluminum silica, it’s an integral ingredient in cement. About 20% of cement contains chalky geyserite. Electra says Apple Bay covers readily accessible silica and alumina resources in PEM100 and to the northwest.

Why the contest?

To raise awareness not only of this company and commodity, but of industrial minerals in general. They’re all around us, we rely on them for countless everyday uses, but we tend to know little or nothing about them.

How do I enter?

E-mail Tyler Lowes at TLowes [at] Zimtu.com for more info and an entry form. Or drop by booth 320.

Booth 320?

At the Canadian Investor Conference 2014, held June 1 and 2 at the Vancouver Convention Centre West.

Didn’t that used to be the World Resource Investment Conference?

Yes. Cambridge House International has expanded the event to include oil and gas, liquefied natural gas, agriculture, life sciences, technology, real estate and marijuana.

I’ve heard a lot about the greenrush. Will the conference provide opportunities to purchase the physical commodity?

No.

But it looks like resources get short shrift.

Not at all. Mainstays like Chris Berry, Rick Rule, John Kaiser, Brent Cook, Eric Coffin and Lawrence Roulston, among others, will be out in force. Speakers and panel discussions will tackle resource-related topics while miners and explorers give corporate presentations and meet with the public.

What’s that cost?

Nothing, if you register in advance. Otherwise it’s 20 bucks at the door.

Getting back to the contest, what’s the prize?

We can’t tell you yet. But the winner and prize will be announced following the conference.

How do I enter again?

E-mail Tyler Lowes at TLowes [at] Zimtu.com or drop by conference booth 320.

Four-twenty?

Three-twenty.

And the answer’s still no about buying weed?

Yes.

 

Read more about industrial minerals here and here.

Disclaimer: Zimtu Capital Corp is a client of OnPage Media Corp, the publisher of ResourceClips.com. The principals of OnPage Media may hold shares in Zimtu Capital.

Athabasca Basin and beyond

November 30th, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for November 23 to 29, 2013

by Greg Klein

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December 6 expected for Fission to finish Alpha acquisition; Fission spinco gets court approval

Now that both companies have put it to a vote, Fission Uranium’s TSXV:FCU acquisition of Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW goes to the TSXV and Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench for final approval. The 50/50 Patterson Lake South joint venture partners announced overwhelming support at their respective meetings on November 28. The companies expect final approval on December 6.

The Fission tally was 99.55% from shareholders and 99.6% from security holders. Alpha’s enthusiasm was slightly more restrained, with 83.18% shareholder and 85.72% security-holder support.

Assuming final approvals come through, the arrangement will put the celebrated PLS uranium project under a single takeover target… er, company. Alpha and Fission will each create a spinco for their non-PLS assets.

Court approval for Fission’s spinco was announced November 29. Itself a spin-out resulting from last April’s Fission Energy acquisition by Denison Mines TSX:DML, Fission Uranium calls the new entity Fission 3.0. Each Fission Uranium shareholder gets one new share of post-arrangement PLS-holding Fission Uranium as well as a share of Fission Mach III, expected to start trading December 10.

Read more about the takeover.

Read more about uranium merger-and-acquisition activity.

PLS regional drilling disappoints but Fission/Alpha end campaign triumphantly

Two of the final 11 autumn holes at PLS confirmed continuity along a 30-metre strike at the project’s recently discovered sixth zone. But nine others failed to find significant radioactivity, according to scintillometer results released by Fission and Alpha on November 27. The non-mineralized nonet, sunk further west of the project’s western-most R600W zone, might please only an anti-nuke activist. Nevertheless “varying degrees of secondary hydrothermal alteration were present in all holes, thus providing encouragement for the prospectivity of the western strike extension” of the PL-3B EM conductor corridor. R600W remains open in all directions, the partners maintain.

Their hand-held scintillometer measures gamma ray particles in drill core up to a maximum of 9,999 counts per second. These results are no substitute for assays, which are still to come. But don’t hold your breath—so are assays for 40 holes drilled last summer.

Of the two mineralized holes, PLS13-123 reached a total depth of 260 metres, encountering sandstone at 90.7 metres and the basement unconformity at 100 metres. Some highlights show:

  • <300 to 1,200 cps over 20 metres, starting at 95 metres in downhole depth

  • <300 to 5,100 cps over 7.5 metres, starting at 132.5 metres

  • 320 to 2,300 cps over 2.5 metres, starting at 142.5 metres

Hole PLS13-124 found sandstone at 97.5 metres and the basement unconformity at 99 metres before stopping at 257 metres. Highlights include:

  • 450 to 5,500 cps over 6.5 metres, starting at 97.5 metres

  • <300 to 1,300 cps over 7.5 metres, starting at 114 metres

  • <300 to 2,500 cps over 11.5 metres, starting at 197 metres

True widths weren’t available. With dips of -87 and -89 degrees respectively, the two holes’ downhole depths are close to vertical.

The 11 land-based holes bring an end to this drill program, most of which took place from barges over the lake. Fifty-three holes totalling 16,485 metres found six near-surface zones along a 1.76-kilometre trend. Ending the season on a triumphant note, Alpha president Ben Ainsworth said the 12-month campaign nearly equalled “what was completed in four years of work on Hathor’s Roughrider discovery.”

Research report examines Lakeland Resources as company acquires additional Basin property

Just one day after a research report was released on Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK, the company reported expansionary plans in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin. Announced November 27, a JV teams the company with Star Minerals Group TSXV:SUV on two claims totalling 1,092 hectares. The new turf sits adjacently north of the Gibbon’s Creek target, focal point of Lakeland’s Riou Lake property.

The acquisition takes place while results are pending from autumn field work at Gibbon’s Creek. “Based on preliminary findings we decided it was important that we acquire that ground,” Lakeland president/CEO Jonathan Armes tells ResourceClips.com. “Star Minerals is focused on a rare earth project north of the Basin so the agreement works well for both companies.”

Gibbon’s autumn campaign, including boulder sampling, line-cutting, a RadonEx survey and a ground DC resistivity survey, has just wrapped up, he adds. “We’re putting all the data together and we’ll get that out imminently.”

A distinct topographical feature of the new property is an uplifted block of basement rock that “highlights the evidence for structural offsets, a key feature of known unconformity-type uranium deposits,” Lakeland stated. Historic work by Cameco Corp TSX:CCO-predecessor Eldorado Nuclear found several anomalous soil samples around the uplifted block measuring up to 0.01% uranium. Trenching by Eldorado showed concentrations of rare earths that might also indicate unconformity-type uranium mineralization. The property has also undergone 14 historic drill holes.

Lakeland plans to follow up on the previous work while reviewing Gibbon’s Creek data to identify drill targets. “We still have two other priority projects, South Pine bordering Riou Lake on the west, and Perch Lake farther east,” Armes says. “There’s lots more field work we can do, even during winter. Both radon and resistivity can be carried out during the winter, so we’re not limited to fair weather programs.”

Gibbon’s Creek and the new claims also benefit from close proximity to the town of Stony Rapids, a few kilometres away. Apart from the new acquisition, Lakeland has a portfolio of nine properties totalling over 100,000 hectares in the northern and eastern Basin.

Under the JV agreement, Lakeland may earn a 100% interest in the two additional claims by paying Star $60,000 and issuing 600,000 shares over 12 months. Star retains a 25% buy-back option for four times the exploration expenditures up to 90 days following a resource estimate.

One day before the announcement, prospect generator Zimtu Capital TSXV:ZC released a report on Lakeland. Written by Zimtu research and communications officer Derek Hamill, it places Lakeland in the context of Athabasca Basin exploration, the nuclear energy industry and the outlook for uranium prices. Presented as both research and opinion, Hamill’s work shows a shareholder’s perspective—Lakeland is a core holding of Zimtu.

So a degree of self-interest can be acknowledged. But the breadth of research goes far beyond Lakeland, its people and projects, providing a level of detailed scrutiny not often applied to early-stage companies.

Download the Lakeland Resources research report.

Read more about Derek Hamill’s research.

Read more about Lakeland Resources.

UEX announces final Shea Creek results, initial 2014 uranium exploration plans

North from PLS along Highway 955, and 13 kilometres south of the Cluff Lake past-producer, a year’s drilling has wrapped up at Shea Creek. UEX Corp TSX:UEX reported final results for two concurrent programs reported November 27.

UEX picked up the entire $2-million tab for drilling around the Kianna deposit while funding $1.27 million of $2.6 million sunk into property-scale exploration as part of the company’s 49%/51% JV with AREVA Resources Canada.

Results were given in uranium oxide-equivalent (eU3O8) using readings from a downhole radiometric probe which were calibrated with an algorithm calculated by comparing previous probe results with assays.

The most promising results came from the Kianna deposit. Kianna East hole SHE-142-3 reached a total depth of 1,065 metres, finding the unconformity at 736.9 metres and expanding the zone to the south. Highlights show:

  • 0.99% eU3O8 over 5.3 metres, starting at 961.2 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 3.21% over 1.5 metres)

In addition, UEX credited hole SHE-135-16 with a northwest expansion to Kianna East. Ending at 1,038 metres’ depth, the hole found the unconformity at 750.5 metres. Some of the better results show:

  • 0.16% over 5.2 metres, starting at 956 metres
  • (including 0.41% over 0.9 metres)
  • (and including 0.49% over 0.7 metres)

  • 0.48% over 3 metres, starting at 979.9 metres

Kianna North hole SHE-135-17 hit the unconformity at 732.2 metres before stopping at 1,059 metres, expanding the zone’s eastern extension of basement-hosted mineralization. Highlights include:

  • 0.33% over 9.4 metres, starting at 724.6 metres
  • (including 0.5% over 1.3 metres)
  • (and including 0.53% over 4.4 metres)

  • 0.8% over 31.5 metres, starting at 848.8 metres
  • (including 3.29% over 1.3 metres)
  • (and including 3.22% over 1.3 metres)
  • (and including 4.05% over 4.1 metres)

Of 10 exploration holes that tested two conductors, eight failed to find significant results. Two holes at Anne South showed these results:

  • 0.14% over 0.9 metres, starting at 765.4 metres

  • 0.21% over 0.9 metres, starting at 748.4 metres

(True widths were unavailable for all holes.)

Four of the 10 holes confirmed the Saskatoon Lake East conductor’s location, providing a new target area parallel to the roughly three-kilometre trend hosting Shea’s four deposits. Combined, they comprise the Basin’s third-largest resource after Cameco’s McArthur River and Cigar Lake, showing:

  • indicated: 2.07 million tonnes averaging 1.48% for 67.66 million pounds U3O8

  • inferred: 1.27 million tonnes averaging 1.01% for 28.19 million pounds

Still undecided are next year’s plans for Shea Creek, where AREVA acts as project operator. UEX states work will depend on Q1 capital market conditions.

But another November 27 announcement reported a $2-million budget for three western Basin projects. Plans include about 4,000 metres of drilling to test EM conductors at the Laurie and Mirror River projects, and a 50.4-line-kilometre ground tensor magnetotelluric survey at the Erica project. Work is expected to start in January. By that time ownership will be divided approximately 49.1% by UEX and 50.9% by AREVA, again acting as operator.

Among other UEX projects, its 100%-held Hidden Bay on the Basin’s east side has three deposits totalling:

  • indicated: 10.37 million tonnes averaging 0.16% for 36.62 million pounds U3O8

  • inferred: 1.11 million tonnes averaging 0.11% for 2.71 million pounds

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A resourceful institution

September 6th, 2013

Looking at Cambridge House conferences past, present and future

by Greg Klein

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While anticipating the Toronto Resource Investment Conference 2013 from September 12 to 13, Cambridge House International founder Joe Martin takes time for reflection.

He dates the genesis of his conferences to Vancouver circa 1994, after the Northwest Territories diamond play began. “I quickly put together a small event, I think it only had about 17 exhibitors. Back then everybody in Vancouver became an overnight expert in diamonds. I had a whole bunch of geologists talk, and also Bob Bishop.” The newsletter legend packed the hall. “I quickly learned the audience didn’t want to listen to geologists, they wanted to listen to stock talk,” Martin says.

A look at Cambridge House conferences past, present and future

Rick Rule (right) addresses an impromptu gathering
at Cambridge House’s last Vancouver event.

By 1995 Cambridge House had a full Vancouver conference preceding the annual Roundup presented by the B.C. and Yukon Chamber of Mines (now the Association for Mineral Exploration BC). “And from 1995 to ’96 we expanded into Calgary and had a pretty good run,” Martin says.

“The venture markets were doing phenomenal. When we hit the downturn later in the ’90s, we said we’re just going to hang in here until it turns around. And of course it did. My goodness, it turned around so dramatically I couldn’t believe it.”

Now Cambridge House hosts six major conferences a year, two in Vancouver (in January and June) and one each in Toronto, Calgary, Spokane and California, as well as other events like the Vancouver Junior Mining Seminar.

As founder and former owner of BCBusiness, Martin describes the conferences as “a living magazine. Basically Cambridge House was an outgrowth of a printed publication. You’ve got speakers like John Kaiser, Eric Coffin, Lawrence Roulston—well, rather than just read them, come out and listen to them and talk to them. That gives me two things, my circulation and my content. The third ingredient, advertising, comes in the form of the exhibit hall. Companies pay a fee to exhibit and they’re our advertising base. Basically you’re meeting advertisers directly, not just seeing an ad in a magazine. The speakers often give you tips on what questions to ask, so you can make a more informed decision.”

Kaiser remembers his first Cambridge House gig as a panel member, later becoming a keynote speaker. The years 1995 to ’97 were “the beginning of the discount brokerage boom, when people started opening their own accounts and trading on their own,” he recalls. “It was a good time for me to launch a hard-copy newsletter because people needed information from sources other than brokers. I did quite well building a subscriber base and a lot of those people started attending the shows. The shows really took off in those years, coinciding with an explosion of interest in the junior resource sector.”

A climax came at the 1997 Toronto show, he says, during a controversial time. “People were starting to ask whether Bre-X was a fraud, or whether there was a fraud to steal the Busang deposit, so there was tremendous media interest, lots of people there. And then of course we went into the bear market from 1997 to 2002. Gold dropped to $260 and there were few interesting discoveries. That started to change in 2003 as gold started to rise, along with the supercycle in base metals and other commodities, the emergence of institutional money and a change in emphasis from exploration drilling to resource-feasibility projects which required more money. But money came from institutions and audiences kept growing.”

It was in a January 1997 event, Kaiser says, that he learned about a shift in audience interest rather abruptly—while delivering a speech. “I spent most of the 30 minutes talking about how the market works and all this bottom-fishing blah blah blah. Joe was standing on the side as the MC and I could suddenly hear him hissing, ‘Give ’em some picks! Give ’em some picks!’”

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