Don Lindsay Teck CEO

“You know that you’re going to get all of your money back in 2 or 3 good years. What you don’t know is when those 2 or 3 good years are going to be.” Don Lindsay (Photo: BNN)

Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B) CEO Don Lindsay made a brilliant comment on BNN Television earlier about long life mining assets.

“Whether it’s copper, whether it’s oil, whether it’s zinc, it’s a cyclical business, and you know that you’re going to get all of your money back in 2 or 3 good years. What you don’t know is when those 2 or 3 good years are going to be. However, if you have 50 years, you’re going to have those 2 or 3 good years 5 or 6 times.”

Mr. Lindsay, 54, has been the President and CEO of Teck Resources, Canada’s largest diversified mining company, since 2005, earning his stripes by guiding the giant successfully through the global financial crisis of 2008-2009.

He joined Howard Green of BNN’s Market Call Tonight earlier to share his 2014 outlook (Click here to watch part 1 of 3 on BNN.ca).

Lindsay sees the zinc market tightening at some point in 2014, and also expects copper to be range bound until 2016, although he noted that oversupply in the copper market recently has been less than expected.

For metallurgical (steelmaking) coal, Teck’s largest business, Lindsay has a negative outlook for the next couple of quarters. The demand (for steel and thus met coal in the blast furnaces) is there; the issue is oversupply, Lindsay believes.

“In fact, and just being honest, conditions are worse than they were [in coal] in the global financial crisis. The spot price is down to about $131 whereas five years ago we had $129 but you’ve had five years of cost increases along the way. Margins are actually worse today than they were then, but you know, it’s always the darkest before the day.”

Mr. Lindsay also stressed that Teck is not in the thermal (steam) coal business.

While there are a lot of mining projects for sale currently, Lindsay says sellers’ expectations are still too high for his company.

He expects Chinese buyers to be more aggressive going after copper projects than Western companies.

Lindsay complimented the new leadership regime in China, and noted that growth in that country is still powerful.

Watch Howard Green’s interview with Don Lindsay, President and CEO of Teck Resources at BNN.ca ->

Follow: @HowardGreenBNN