As we reach the climax of the holiday season, the Christmas cheer on Howe Street is a mere shadow of bull markets in years past. The mining industry and our weary investors have been delivered yet another lump of coal in our collective stockings. Not even some nice high value met coal or anthracite, but the dirtiest high ash, high sulphur mercury laden thermal coal not worth more than $40 per tonne, complete with an accessory pack of hippy protestors. Thanks Santa. All us miners want for Christmas is another resource market, same thing we asked for last year. And the year before.
Our friends in the brokerage industry are asking for simpler compliance and regulation, maybe scaling back the accredited investors rule. Over the past couple of years, the pro’s and their clients have held on to these illiquid shell companies. 2014 delivered a few wins, with a mini-bubble in weed deals paying some commission and corporate finance fees. The die-hard mining brokers and their clients need some wins in 2015…please Santa, bring us some more discoveries!! The Grinch has even expanded his territory, giving our oil and gas friends in Calgary a taste of junior miner-style misery; they’ll have to make do with their 2014 model F350 pickups for another year, I suppose.
No Christmas miracle this year, but the second half of 2014 delivered a bunch of reasons to be optimistic for this humble exploration geologist and amateur speculator. In British Columbia, the best new porphyry discovery since deep drilling at Red Chris by Imperial metals in 2008 was announced by Aurico at the new Kemess East porphyry a few weeks ago. The initial drilling delivered thick intervals of high-grade gold and copper, which at first glance look better than their Kemess North underground proposed development project. In my geological circles, this new discovery is creating quite the buzz.
My friends with the major copper miners are getting increasingly focussed on BC and the northern Cordillera in a flight to safer political jurisdictions, in spite of the disastrous tailings spill at Mount Polley during the summer. Antofagasta, Freeport, Anglo American, Teck, First Quantum and others all have programs often with increased greenfields budgets, primarily in BC, but throughout the north. Aurico’s discovery will certainly have the attention of major players. Rumour has it that BHP, gone for many years from Canadian exploration is apparently taking another look at the northwest.
The BC government’s decision to proceed with the Site C hydroelectric project is huge news for the mining industry, promising low cost power to current and future mines that would be uneconomic in other jurisdictions due to lower metal grades.
Many juniors have also had some decent success during 2014. Seabridge continues to add millions of tonnes of copper-gold-moly resources at KSM, recently receiving the often elusive federal permits for their mega-project. Porphyry finder Bob Dickinson’s Amarc Resources also has a nice discovery in what looks like a huge system. Further drilling should find some better grades. Prosper Gold and Doubleview Capital’s copper-gold projects in northwest BC are looking encouraging as well.
For 2015, I’m watching the strong, generative geological teams such as: Kiska Metals, Kaizen Discovery and Tower Resources as well as Millrock Resources in Alaska to capitalize on the major miner’s renewed interest.
On the precious metals side, northwest BC will continue to be where it’s at for the elusive high-grade deposits. I have long maintained that Pretium’s Valley of the Kings will be one of the richest mines in the world (hopefully they won’t overbuild it) and it is the best potential takeover target. During my summer field program with IDM Mining based out of Stewart, there were quite a few teams from majors that just happened to be coming through town, probably also kicking tires on KSM. Ascot’s Premier project, celebrating its 100th year since discovery and first shipments of ore, delivered some tremendously high-grade intercepts during 2014, and their share price has held in quite remarkably during this fall’s meltdown. At our Red Mountain project, IDM has delivered some high-grade discoveries, and entered the Provincial permitting process to develop a high-grade underground mine just outside of Stewart. As the richest area for gold in Western Canada, look for the Stewart area to keep delivering the goods in 2015 for exploration and development.
2015 should also see the commencement of production for the first significant sized, privately owned metal mine in recent memory in BC. My friends at JDS Silver are waiting on their final bulk sample permits to start construction and shortly thereafter processing ore from the Silvertip project in northwest BC. This should be a highly profitable operation, avoiding the drama, compliance and roller coaster markets that the pubco’s have to deal with, and managed by the best engineers in the industry.
As for me, I am looking forward to a better 2015 in the industry, particularly in the second half of the year. This terrible market, the worst in my 20 year career, will pass. As the excitement builds for Santa’s arrival for my eight year old daughter, and feigned excitement with a wink from my eleven year old son, the real gifts in my life, I am truly blessed and grateful to continue to work in an exciting and dynamic industry, knowing that I am only just a drill hole away from my next Discovery!
To Tommy and the crew at CEO.ca, his readers and our shareholders, on behalf of our team at IDM Mining, I wish you Merry Christmas, Happy Chanuka, Happy Festivus and may 2015 bring Peace and Prosperity.