There’s a high-value junior mining investment conference in Vancouver tomorrow (Saturday). Four independent newsletter writers — Brent Cook and Joe Mazumdar of Exploration Insights, Eric Coffin of Hard Rock Advisors and Gwen Preston of Resource Maven — and a dozen of their top picks are hosting the Metals Investor Forum (MIF) at the Pan Pacific Hotel.
MIF is a great place to meet credible people from the mining investment sector and learn about some of the most formidable stocks in the space. These are the juniors that have the best chance at success coming out of the current and epic mining depression.
The list of companies participating is impressive and includes Sabina Gold and Silver — which is advancing the world-class Back River gold project in Nunavut and NexGen Energy, finders of the Arrow uranium deposit in Saskatchewan that looks like one for the history books.
I just spent a couple days in Nevada with one of the CEOs presenting and we had a lot of laughs together.
William Randall is the 35 year old founder and CEO of Arena Minerals (AN.V), which is exploring for copper in Chile in joint ventures with JOGMEC, Teck and B2Gold. Mining titans Ross Beaty and Stan Bharti are major shareholders but Arena is not a Forbes and Manhattan company. Randall is from a farming family in Argentina and lives in Toronto today. He studied geology at the University of Toronto and went on to work in northern Quebec and Ontario before focusing on South America. Randall has spent the last seven years working in Chile and Argentina developing assets from discovery through feasibility.
Arena has a massive land position in Chile’s Atacama desert, home to several of the world’s largest copper mines — including Escondida and Chuquicamata. The land package was acquired from SQM - a global industrial minerals producer focusing on potash, iodine and lithium production. SQM had held the land for almost a century, mining the caliche layers in overburden. As a result, despite being in the heart of the copper producing Antofagasta region, it was never explored for copper or gold and is one of the last undrilled tracts of land in the region.
Since signing the deal Arena spent a year working the ground delineating drill ready copper porphyry targets. The company is looking for a large copper deposit in an area where similar deposits produce about 30% of the world's copper supply. Arena has three joint ventures on separate portions of the property. Collectively, Teck, JOGMEC and B2Gold are set to spend USD 6 million this year and USD 60 million over the term of the joint ventures. The bulk of this will be spent on drilling, giving Arena a good shot at a discovery. Both Teck and JOGMEC are drilling on the property currently and results are expected over the next month.
Arena has about 80 million shares out and close to $2 million cash. Arena operates the JOGMEC joint venture, which covers all of their costs in Chile and a portion of their overhead in Canada. This, combined with payments to be made by the JV partners, puts Arena in a strong financial position for the next few years.
Randall is also a technical advisor to Lithium X Energy Corp.
He'll be speaking at 12:20pm tomorrow followed by a catered lunch. Brent Cook and Joe Mazumdar are up next, which should also be a highlight. Sabina Gold CEO Bruce McLeod is on at 3:10pm.
Register for the Metals Investor Forum (it's Free).
Here's a look at the agenda.