On this date in 1976, Ronald Wayne sold his 10% stake in Apple Computer for $800. Today it is worth $58,065,210,000. That’s billion.
I don’t need my notes to write this one: Colt Resources is broken; its board requires truly independent directors.
Colt’s portfolio in Portugal thus far is proven mediocre — tungsten and gold — and needs more of the lab analysis the company says will be meaningful. If, that is, Colt only had the available cash to pay for the hundreds of drill samples and rocks to be “assayed.”
Colt (GTP in Canada) operates in Portugal. It was in the Middle East. Colt and CEO Nikolas Perrault and then-chairman Richard Quesnel out of nowhere got excited about Pakistan, Afghanistan, other places in that part of the world.
Subscribers, I ask you to see five or six of the private TCR articles available at thomcalandra.com. Or this one, if you are a freebie: http://www.stockhouse.com/opinion/independent-reports/2014/09/17/the-calandra-report-broken-colt-bitterroot-dismay-and-hearty-sysorex.
Just to get a fuller picture.
I invested in Colt about three years ago because I went to Portugal with a group of bankers, lawyers, executives, geologists and German investors. I became as excited about Portugal, a country that produces tungsten and gold and needs jobs, as I was about Colombia and Cambodia and Ghana.
When longtime Colt shareholders heard about the Middle East initiatives earlier in 2014, they bailed. I know some of them.
Heck, I know most of them.
Mr. Quesnel is no longer chairman. He runs Colt’s Middle East unit. Colt sold out after letting Mr. Quesnel, a Quebec investor, incubate the Middle Eastern initiatives using Colt resources — as in cash.
That was when I should have taken Colt off the TCR list and bailed out myself. I did not.
Colt just sold the Middle East unit at the price of a song to raise money for the two projects it runs in Portugal. Mr.Quesnel — and select investors, including Mr. Perrault, a chartered financial analyst — now own those Middle East assets. Mr. Quesnel is a 59-year-old mining engineer who still gets listed as Colt’s chairman in some Internet references.
That would be like incubating an Internet company within an old-style data company, then denying the data company any of the success of the project.
Colt has spent many tens of millions of dollars doing a workingman’s like job on assaying its two Portugal properties and readying them for a bankable feasibility.
It has sold equity all over the place: to Hong Kong, to Quebec, to the USA. At prices up and mostly, down the dollar-scale.
Turns out, the tungsten is mid-grade and smallish — in the north. The gold is mid-grade and seemingly not contiguous — in the south.
Those two projects are close to sending Colt into receivership. The way I see it.
I am not even sure how much cash the company has on its books. $1.5 million?
Colt owns real estate in the north: surrounding the tungsten project, and adjacent to it: vineyards and a winery and a convent and a place for visitors to rest their weary heads.
Mr.Perrault tells us this week, “Real estate is almost worth market cap now. We will unlock the value; worst is now behind us.” The market worth of the company right now is about $20 million CAD fully diluted.
Mr. Perrault, mid-40s, says he will be able to deliver an event that takes the 10-cent stock back to a level where it can raise more money and perhaps separate itself from one of these projects. [There is a third project called San Antonio that I know nothing about; also in Portugal.]
- when corporate governance is darker than the darkest abandoned mine adit, as it is in the case of Colt, run.
- when the chairman of the company, in this case Mr. Quesnel, won’t even answer your e-mails, let alone meet you anywhere in the world, run. Do we cut him some slack as he must be in Dubai, or Islamabad, all this time? I don’t care if he is in Baghdad, Beirut or Bahrain.
- when you don’t even know how many board members there are, and which ones are independent, run.
- when the chief operating officer, Irishman Declan Costelloe, resigns from the board, really run.
- when you are promised that this Hong Kong placement or that is coming in at a certain price, to be delivered as payment for stock, but the closing is delayed, and delayed again, and then comes in at alower price than advertised, run.
- when you keep seeing the phrase “satellite deposits,” think about it: whether anyone in their right mind would fund the mine’s elongated infrastructure — something that has killed many a deposit of economic grades yet little connectivity, including the old Canaco Resources in Tanzania and could prove challenging for one or two of our TCR candidates in Nevada — well, you choose: walk or run. [I am taking a harder look at all of our TCR companies and what mine “buyers” expect in the projects they covet.]
When a chief executive officer goes off on other, personal investing trips in search of global hemp, or exotic real estate, no matter how worthy they seem at the time, and then scrambles as the cash runs out,run. Jesus Cristo, run.
Bright side? When your drilling contractor from Turkey is getting placement shares for 21 cents, with 2-year warrants, well, don’t run, but at least take a second look at that tungsten project. Mr. Okay, the contractor’s name, might know something we do not.
Finally, the next time I come up with a company that looks so promising I am willing to buy 300,000 shares, and hold them for years, at lower and lower equity prices, with more and more stock issued, well yes, I know we are in a “down” resources cycle, but still: ask me at the very least to question my assumptions.
Here is what I extract from several geologists, executives and plainclothes cops:
“The only thing worse than hearing ‘no resource’ is when you hear ‘almost’ resource. You can smell the dollars burning.”
“These satellite deposits eat up exploration dollars like a Dyson vacumn cleaner.” [This from a geologist.]
To be fair, I believe Mr. Perrault, a former financier from Quebec, did something I did in my mid-to-late 40s — let a kind of hypomania rule my professional life. He could pull something in the way of securing a white knight to purchase one of the two potential mines — likely the tungsten. And he could if he wants to avoid further srutiny, ask Mr. Quesnel to return some of the equity he owns in the Middle East unit. Nikolas Perrault also is advised to get an appraisal on the value of the vineyards/winery in the north.
Amongst these well-tended hamlets, there is one thing he cannot do: Mr. Perrault cannot use the existing mining license Colt has on the gold property to start processing 10,000 or so metric tons of ore a month for a cyanide heap leach.
Only a well trained team of mining engineers can get that done. A well trained team with perhaps $3 million USD, or is that 3 million euro? Part of the money must go to spreading the word locally that cyanide is an environmental PLUS for the project and surroundng communities.
Mr. Perrault is not the person to lead that team. He tells me that himself. Mr. Costelloe, who fits the engineering and geological bill, might be. I hear Declan has yet to receive salary for the past few months. Pay the man.
Perhaps, in the adversity that Colt finds itself just in the past six months, a jam that came onto the company like a sonic wave, just about the time Colt started talking Middle East, Colt’s team just might endure. Colt’s team can show a jobs-hungry Portugal how Mining Supports Us and We Support Mining.
As for the cyanide and the protected cork trees and the winery and the picture-perfect hamlets across the north and south, I have ideas how that all gets fixed to the satisfaction of a pastoral public.
Therefore, I hold. Besides, as a New Jersey investor who has been in this stock longer than I have tells me today, a smart Jewish lady who will be avenged if and when receivership or a 1-cent equity solution occurs, “What’s the difference, I lose 98 percent of everything or 100 percent?”
Great companies can spring from circumstances exactly like this one. So too can leaders redeem themselves after making rash decisions.
I won’t be selling my shares for chump change. I also won’t be hoping this thing is the next Apple of European minerals.
Sell the tungsten along with the winery/vineyard. Get the gold pouring by April 2015. Make all of the Middle East transactions, including names of coveted Pakistan projects, entirely visible to the public. Oh, and get a fresh board of directors.
Now $129 yearly! My ass is on the line, too.
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