Opening Faceoff

I have started to write my recapitulation of the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada’s conference (along with the many other events that took place from February 28 – March 6) while 30000 feet above Winnipeg and looking out the airplane window. For those of you reading this that are not familiar with the PDAC, it is the world’s largest mineral exploration and mining conference.

Being up this high in the sky heading home to Vancouver is really helping me put a lot of things into perspective. I’ve caught the rock fever awhile back, it’s been driving me forward in the mineral exploration and mining industry going on twelve years and yet I never really sat down to think why?…

I am one human in a world of over seven and half billion and yet as I sit in this cramped airplane chair typing this on my smart ‘phablet’ phone I feel a sense of wonder, amazement, an accomplishment, or rather a sense of inspirational for being so focused into the world of rocks. Our world wouldn’t be able to enjoy anything and everything around us if individuals didn’t have the drive to find, expand and develop metals and mineral deposits. The world is advancing through technological developments at a rate that it has never witnessed before and that means we are becoming more and more dependent on minerals.

Without them me and the other two hundred passengers wouldn’t be above the clouds drinking our preferred beverages (that literally all contain minerals), or me writing this as I am watching a documentary called ‘Anthropocene: The Human Epoch’ (Air Canada must have gotten the memo that the world’s biggest mining conference was happening because this documentary was on the first page of the New Releases and it is all about our drive for exploration, development and growth of the world) listening with headphones made from many metals.

Yes! I am very proud to be one of the many individuals that get excited about rocks, where they come from, how to find more of them, how to expand the size of a resource, how to market it, how to develop it both safely and environmentally friendly and how to apply it to our world today and in the future. It’s exciting to be a miner!

These are only some of the reasons and factors of why I chose to be focused in this industry for my career, my lifetime. We will always need mining. We have always needed minerals, dating back to when our civilization was created. It can be a very exciting and rewarding adventure, the never-ending pursuit of exploration and discovery. Who said treasure hunting was for the 13th century?!

As I write this, I’m thinking out loud now but the number one driver for my passion in the industry has to do with the people, the community, involved that you get to hear their stories, connect with and collaborate with. Once you get to know individuals that dedicate their lives to this pursuit you can feel their passion, excitement, the camaraderie, and its very comforting to know you’re not alone and we are all in it together. Knowing the community has personally helped me feel more comfortable, forgetting about being an introvert.

I thought I was just going to write my summary of PDAC and didn’t know why but now I’m ready to share the ‘Mining Letter’.

The Tailgate Parties

Okay. That’s a bit of a myth here in Vancouver as we don’t have such events before a big match-up like for the Canucks or BC Lions and quite frankly I just don’t think our city would allow it.

Yet in other cities and sports events I hear the Tailgate Parties are amazing, some may say that it is better than the actual match. Filled with die-hard fans, loyalists at heart and I hear that the compassion and generosity of the fans that bring their grills to cook food are so strong that they are even sharing with pure strangers. It sounds like a place we all need to be.

I got a chance to attend two pre-PDAC events that I had similar feelings for, and I will share them with you now.

Raise Conference Series

T he first event was the RAISE Investor Conference Series which is an investor conference. I must admit I haven’t previously attended or knew much about the RAISE layout prior, so I was going in blind. I’ve been to many similar conference types like this and was always curious the benefits of both the buy side and sell side. What I do know is that the RAISE organizer has created something unique from the other 1 on 1 investor conferences whereby he invites and welcomes all investors regardless of portfolio size, investment knowledge & strategy. It’s an open door for all types of investors to sit through a semi-private rotation of company’s presentations from the executives. Seeing this with my own eyes I see tremendous value and opportunity for all parties included from the sell side to the buy side.

I wasn’t there specifically for either side this time as the CEO of the conference invited me to MC the event. Raise had previously sponsored Dallas and my ‘Groundup Networking Events’ while in Vancouver during the Association for Mineral Explorations’ Roundup and Cambridge’s Vancouver Resource Investment Conferences. I suppose after witnessing me MC those two events he wanted me to do the same for his conference. Besides MC’ing an event that I co-founded I have never done any public speaking, but I said yes. My first and foremost reasons were that I would be saving Altamira & Cabral Gold my flight costs to PDAC. Representing junior companies, I feel it is the duty of the employees/consultants to try and save, wherever possible, the treasuries from spending so no matter where I go, I aim to stay in a low-cost AirBNB and fly economy to keep the costs down.

Nearly one hundred and fifty investors signed up to attend. The day before the event Toronto’s weather decided to dump 15cm of fresh snow that did get some investors delayed in transit and others decided not to brave the weather. Regardless, I would say about sixty to seventy keen investors plowed through it and were able to attend.

Seventeen junior mining companies were already set up and ready to go bright and early as the investors started to trickle in. One thing I noticed that was great was the RAISE team designs each company’s banners specifically for the event. Running through coffee and snacks to get everyone settled we kicked off the eight morning sessions which were twenty minutes each. I’d say each company got an average of two to four investors sitting to hear their opportunities, developments and potential per session and it went by swell.

During the break Raise Conference invited David Klein from Aerecura Capital to speak to the group. He flew in from the BMO Conference just in time for the event and his presentation was titled: Investment themes for 2019 in the mining sector. From listening and watching the audience you can tell that what he was saying resonated very well with the room.

Months in advance to the event I suggested to Neil Lock the CEO that he do a stock picking contest. Each investor at the end of the day picks 3 companies they believe will perform the best within 90 days and the winner would win a prize. Neil jumped on the idea and offered the prize of a flight and hotel package to his Raise Conference event in Calgary during the Calgary Stampede. Great for the investors and even more great for the exhibiting companies. *And they will be doing the same contest on April 11 in Toronto when they host small-cap companies from all sectors. With a prize of a flight and hotel package to Vancouver at Raise on the West Coast in September*

During lunch Raise Conference invited Denis Laviolette to present the newly listed Goldspot Discoveries – At the forefront of artificial intelligence in mineral exploration. GoldSpot Discoveries is revolutionizing the mineral exploration business by utilizing artificial intelligence to target on a regional and localized scale.

Here’s a link to Goldspot Discoveries presentation. Prior to him speaking I asked how long he could present for and he said however long I needed. It’s always great to hear a CEO that has the confidence and knowledge of their business model being presented and I knew we were in for a great presentation. Denis hopped onto the podium and enraptured the whole audience during lunch as I saw intrigue and captivation in most eyes. After the talk several junior company executives told me that while Denis was presenting, it felt as if he was using their company as a direct example. Investors had plenty of questions as well. Goldspot Discoveries presents an innovative technology that will most definitely lead to value creation for its shareholders and participating companies in the now and future. You should do your homework on them.

Usually after lunch the RAISE conference would continue for 8 more meeting sessions but Neil Lock wanted to try something different, so he decided for this event to have an open discussion format. All the executives remained at their booths. While the investors freely went around looking for companies that piqued their interest and may fit their investment style, interest, personal focus or they ran through every elevator pitch with each company to have a good feel of which three companies they should pick to enter the draw. I had the prime opportunity to see some early picks and then went to speak to those companies to see what they have going on. I usually don’t have the luxury during the conferences to speak with other companies to hear their stories, where they are at in the development cycle and what they are finding is working or not so I’m glad I had this opportunity.

Sitting here and reflecting on this whole experience I think a reason why I hopped on the opportunity to MC was part to do with putting myself out there. Driving myself out of my comfort zone to embrace not just what I’m used to but, what I could become? Or have become.

For one, I can indirectly get my two companies names (Altamira and Cabral Gold) and stories out there during the side conversations I had with investors and two, it gets me in front of retail investors & brokers that are actively pursuing opportunities in the junior space. So, I forgot being an inverted person and just put myself out there. Carpe diem as they say, make the most of the present time and give little thought to the future. The beginning was shaky I’ll admit, but I caught my nerves and worked my way through it and by the end of the day my confidence level rose. First MC gig, CHECK!

I’d like to congratulate Neil Lock and his team for creating an amazing investor conference. It’s a conference format that welcomes all investors to engage, learn and find some good investments. It felt very personal and genuine and if you ever need an MC I’d love to be it (if my companies aren’t already presenting). If anyone is interested or wants to hear more about Raise Conference Series I suggest you contact them, attend them and/or reach out to myself.

Red Cloud Pre-DAC Mining Showcase

I‘m going to start off by saying what a wonderful sight to see of the success from all the hard work Red Cloud puts into the industry for its clients and the investors. I remember first meeting Chad Williams in 2014 during a really bad part of the mining market and yet he stuck through it and is thriving through it all. This is just the beginning as we enter into a possible real bull market for the metals. Onwards and upwards!

So I attended the Red Cloud Mining Showcase last year as both Cabral Gold & Altamira Gold had their banners on display so I have some contrast and can do a bit of a comparison. Firstly, the new venue was amazing, and I personally preferred it over last year.

I have an idea of what an event of this magnitude may take in preparation and game day, so I want to start off by congratulating Chad Williams and the Red Cloud team for hosting such an amazing and informative event. The quality of attendees at the event was very high and that’s without really advertising it and marketing it (as my friend Nick the Mining Book Guy pointed out). It goes to show the high caliber of contacts Red Cloud has in their rolodex. These invitees and connections were truly looking for opportunities and there were a lot to choose from.

It was a great set up with 3 presentations simultaneously happening in 3 different rooms. There were many companies presenting, some stories, projects and opportunities I am familiar with and like and many I did not know. It was quite interesting to see a large presence of companies and projects with focuses in jurisdictions that weren’t your regular type. Very intriguing indeed.

That’s one of the reasons why I love Brazil. Many conferences they talk about looking deeper, all the good deposits were found yada yada but there are opportunities that are not yet known to the investing world. Take for instance Brazil, it’s one of the biggest countries and hosts the most amazon jungle. That alone should tell you that there’s shallow opportunities to be had still. I’m not telling you to rip out the jungle, there’s a lot of areas where its been turned into cattle grazing areas. Back in the 70’s Brazil was host to the largest gold rush in the history of all of the world? Why? Because when they started to plow the land to grow crops, they found gold, everywhere. Between the 70’s and 90’s over 40 million ounces of gold were washed from the streams. The last 15 years both the Cabral and Altamira team have been searching for the hard rock sources of that gold and have been very successful. These are the types of stories, opportunities that resonate with investors. Surface deposits may be rare in Canada, USA and Mexico but not in Brazil, Finland, Fiji, and parts of Africa and its because they’ve been overlooked for so long.

The Crucible Event

An innovative initiative was started by the Red Cloud team where they invited companies at least one month prior to the Mining Showcase to submit a 2-minute pitch video. Our CEO at Altamira unfortunately was on a roadshow showcasing the the Company’s opportunities so couldn’t submit, but our CEO at Cabral Gold was able to create a video of why we believe the Company is worthy of investment, so we submitted it. View the video here. I believe the Red Cloud team then went through all the submitted videos and picked 20 companies to move forward. The next step was to do a 3-minute pitch in front of 6 panelist judges that are experts in financing of mining companies. This was a private closed-door pitch, but they allowed our Chairman Mark Smith and me to sit in the corner of the room and watch. We have an amazing project that we believe with conviction that it will be a district scale one and our CEO and team have been laser focused in the region for 15 plus years. Though for whatever reason as the judges differed amougst themselves after all 20 companies presented, we were not picked as the Top 3 winners.

To conclude the Red Cloud Pre-PDAC Mining Showcase the Crucible Finale was in the main ballroom with the Top 3 winners presenting for 10-minutes in front of the judges, an audience and a backroom full of networking folk to compete with. Before the Finale started Red Clouds, CEO Chad Williams did a speech and he shared with us his 10 reasons to invest in a company checklist. #1 was ‘How are you going to make me money?’ and that right there clicked for me. As an elder millennial seeing my generation finally starting to invest in the stock market (though what started them up was the cryptocurrencies and marijuana) it stuck with me that that’s all any of us want to hear. We as an industry don’t do enough to show the younger generation how to invest in mining, how to understand results or the potential and how to do their own due diligence or who and what questions to ask. This has now become one of my focuses, to educate, not just the millennial generation but the new wave of resource investors, about the big opportunities within our industry. Anyways I’m digressing so sorry back to the Finale. The 3 winning Company CEO’s got to present their opportunities and once again I was surprised that Dr. Alan Carter wasn’t up there with our Cabral opportunity. Oh well, it was good experience and we learned some things. Always growing, always learning. I did approach Chad Williams after the presentations during the networking end of the show to ask him to send me his Top 10 checklist because I missed writing down a couple (which I have an outstanding request and once I receive it I hope to post it on this site), and he said that Cabral was his top pick, so I wasn’t all that disappointed. Every investor has an appetite for different commodities, jurisdictions, development stages and such and me being the Manager of Corporate Communications I hold a biased opinion.

At this time, I’d like to congratulate the Red Cloud team for such a successful event. It was bigger than last year, and the high-quality of companies and investors was certainly present. A lot of smart money was walking around, and we all know the smart money usually always has the appetite and risk aversion to get in first, the majority of us then follow the money.

Stanley Cup Playoff Time

I know, I know the Vancouver Canucks are yet to win a Stanley Cup since they actually entered the NHL but its coming. We have tried hard, and have gotten to the final game (three) to win that glorious trophy but we just haven’t been able to do it. Yet we currently have a bunch of juniors that are very promising so it will happen. In the meantime, Toronto was an original 6 for the NHL. They’ve won countless trophies (13) and may very well continue to win more.

So why did I start this whole write-up with a hockey example? Well we just wrapped up the world’s largest mining conference in Toronto called the PDAC. They have hosted this conference since 1932 (not as long as AME) & it will continue to be the leading city to hold such a large event for the unforeseeable future. Vancouver hosts a large mineral exploration & mining conference every year in January put on by the Association for Mineral Exploration and it is definitely worthwhile to participate but it remains the junior conference leading up to the major event, the PDAC. Like the Canucks it holds the potential to one day hold that Stanley Cup but for now we remain happy and focused as it is still a prestigious and must-attend conference. One day we will get that Cup, we will, but for now the PDAC will remain the largest mining conference in the world.

The PDAC kicked off as it always does on the Sunday. To be very frank it was a bit disappointing at the attendance for the day. You would expect that since it’s the weekend those that work locally would then have a chance to drive into town and walk the floor to discuss opportunities but no it was quiet. Thankfully the first day is not a barometer of how the week will be. Monday it picked back up and felt busy, felt good, so there was definite relief and a good feeling all around.

Quite a few investors including brokers contacted me prior to the conference to let me be aware that they found out that the PDAC organizers were now charging $25 a day for a pass. Now I get it, it was like a player hitting the puck by accident out of the rink in his own defensive zone and getting a penalty but really? It’s not that expensive. Now is the best time to be attending PDAC as Companies that are there in a quiet market believe they have a great opportunity and is worth investing their time, investors & management’s money & energy to showcase the company. This is my personal opinion but if a company doesn’t have the capabilities of raising money for their project/s in a quiet market than maybe that projects time to develop doesn’t warrant showcasing it during the world’s largest mining conference.

Yes, I will wholeheartedly agree that the overall show had a lot of unemployed individuals, students & service providers coming up to our booths, but I also saw the smart money walking the floor. The high-net investors, brokers and investment bankers that get the mining sector & also a lot of Representatives from the major mining companies approaching booths to hear what each may have. In my opinion this is a great sign as the smart money is usually always in first, and they are out looking.

There’s that old story of how John F. Kennedy was out getting a shoeshine and the shoeshine boy started to give him some tips on what stocks to buy. As soon as Kennady finished the shine he hurried back to the office and sold all of his family’s positions. He saved them and the families wealth from the imminent Black Sunday market crash.

You don’t want to be in a position, stock and market when Sally Sue or Joe Blow down the street that were throwing Tupper Ware parties last month, we’re now telling everyone to buy crypto currency. That ship has sailed and unfortunately Sally & Joe were the last ones in and the last ones out.

The Crucible Event

An innovative initiative was started by the Red Cloud team where they invited companies at least one month prior to the Mining Showcase to submit a 2-minute pitch video. Our CEO at Altamira unfortunately was on a roadshow showcasing the the Company’s opportunities so couldn’t submit, but our CEO at Cabral Gold was able to create a video of why we believe the Company is worthy of investment, so we submitted it. View the video here. I believe the Red Cloud team then went through all the submitted videos and picked 20 companies to move forward. The next step was to do a 3-minute pitch in front of 6 panelist judges that are experts in financing of mining companies. This was a private closed-door pitch, but they allowed our Chairman Mark Smith and me to sit in the corner of the room and watch. We have an amazing project that we believe with conviction that it will be a district scale one and our CEO and team have been laser focused in the region for 15 plus years. Though for whatever reason as the judges differed amougst themselves after all 20 companies presented, we were not picked as the Top 3 winners.

To conclude the Red Cloud Pre-PDAC Mining Showcase the Crucible Finale was in the main ballroom with the Top 3 winners presenting for 10-minutes in front of the judges, an audience and a backroom full of networking folk to compete with. Before the Finale started Red Clouds, CEO Chad Williams did a speech and he shared with us his 10 reasons to invest in a company checklist. #1 was ‘How are you going to make me money?’ and that right there clicked for me. As an elder millennial seeing my generation finally starting to invest in the stock market (though what started them up was the cryptocurrencies and marijuana) it stuck with me that that’s all any of us want to hear. We as an industry don’t do enough to show the younger generation how to invest in mining, how to understand results or the potential and how to do their own due diligence or who and what questions to ask. This has now become one of my focuses, to educate, not just the millennial generation but the new wave of resource investors, about the big opportunities within our industry. Anyways I’m digressing so sorry back to the Finale. The 3 winning Company CEO’s got to present their opportunities and once again I was surprised that Dr. Alan Carter wasn’t up there with our Cabral opportunity. Oh well, it was good experience and we learned some things. Always growing, always learning. I did approach Chad Williams after the presentations during the networking end of the show to ask him to send me his Top 10 checklist because I missed writing down a couple (which I have an outstanding request and once I receive it I hope to post it on this site), and he said that Cabral was his top pick, so I wasn’t all that disappointed. Every investor has an appetite for different commodities, jurisdictions, development stages and such and me being the Manager of Corporate Communications I hold a biased opinion.

At this time, I’d like to congratulate the Red Cloud team for such a successful event. It was bigger than last year, and the high-quality of companies and investors was certainly present. A lot of smart money was walking around, and we all know the smart money usually always has the appetite and risk aversion to get in first, the majority of us then follow the money.

Leave a Reply