Dead Man Talking

Crad Kilodney's archives

Category Archives: PDAC 2004

PDAC 2004 by Crad Kilodney

See also: PDAC 2001, PDAC 2002 and PDAC 2003


Photo 00
(click to enlarge)

     It’s that time of the year again, boys and girls! We’re back at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Convention, North America’s biggest mining show, held every year at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This year’s convention featured over 300 companies, and the place was more packed than I’ve ever seen it. Why? Because after five or six dismal years, the mining sector is back with a vengeance! Metals are all up in price, and so are the stocks of mining companies. If you want to see what I’m talking about, go back to last year’s photo essay (PDAC — 2003), pick out every company I mentioned, and generate a one-year chart with their ticker symbol at Look at how many of them have gone ballistic. Even those Uganda vermiculite guys are up.      I like to speculate on so-called “junior mining” stocks — companies which may not be producers yet but which have exploration projects that could become mines. And I don’t mind saying I’ve already made some money this year.


Photo 36
(click to enlarge)

     This year I’m accompanied once again by my neighbour, the lovely and talented Olga, who now works at Desjardins Financial and is totally into the resource sector. She’s a great networker and already knows a lot of people. However, I’m a better cook than she is.


Photo 03
(click to enlarge)

     Take a look down there. What do you see? White people! Smart, well-dressed white people! Not like the Third World sewer I live in. Let’s go down and mingle and meet some mining companies.


Photo 06
(click to enlarge)

     I made a nice chunk of money on Wallbridge Mining, which has a joint venture with Falconbridge on some nickel properties in northern Ontario. Now, here’s some advice for wannabe speculators: when a sleepy little mining stock suddenly goes up on huge volume (like ten times normal), buy it immediately. (WM — Toronto.


Photo 05
(click to enlarge)

     My man Randy Turner! This guy’s a winner. I’ve made money twice so far with Randy, and I’m back in with 1,500 shares of Diamondex Resources. They have a portfolio of diamond exploration properties in the N.W.T., Nunavut, and Quebec. With these Canadian diamond outfits, the field work gets done when the weather is not too severe, so you get the most news generated in the summer months. Normally, that’s when these stocks hit their highs. The end of the year usually sees a sell-off because of tax-loss selling. This is what is known as “bottom-fishing season” (November and December). But in the junior mining sector, anything is possible at any time. Anyway, I’m in no rush to bail out of Diamondex. (DSP — Venture.


Photo 11
(click to enlarge)

     Ashton Mining is another of my favorite diamond exploration companies. They have property interests all over the map and are a good speculation of geography alone. But knowing they have a babe like this makes me feel extra lucky. (ACA — Toronto.


Photo 15
(click to enlarge)

     Here’s another of my diamond speculations. I mentioned Stornoway Diamond (formerly Stornoway Ventures) last year after their stock shot up on a diamond discovery on the Melville Peninsula in Nunavut. I waited all last year for the stock to get cheap, and it just wouldn’t. (Bottom-fishing season was basically a bust last year — i.e., no bargains.) Finally, in January, I said to myself, “F–k it, I gotta get in,” so I bought 1,500 shares @ $1.75. (All pricess mentioned in this article are in Canadian dollars.) Yeah, it’s higher now. (SWY — Venture.


Photo 14
(click to enlarge)

     More diamonds in the Far North. Navigator Exploration and Strongbow Resources are going to merge, and I will end up with 1,400 “new” Strongbow shares for my 4,000 Navigator shares. These guys are sort of intermarried with Stornoway and the Northair Group. This is a good speculation. (NVR — Venture.


Photo 16
(click to enlarge)

     Catherine McLeod-Seltzer is one of the McLeods of the Northair Group and one of the truly great ladies of Canada. I admire her tremendously. She’s involved with some of the companies I just mentioned. Pacific Rim has gold projects in South and Central America. I don’t really follow the stock, but anything this lady is a part of would be a good speculation, especially if it gets cheap during bottom-fishing season. (PMU — Toronto.


Photo 18
(click to enlarge)

     Hey, does this babe love me or what? Look at that expression. Gotta be a Scorpio. Anyway, I already took a profit on Wheaton River Minerals, which has built itself up from a small gold producer to a mid-tier producer. They’re interlisted on Toronto and AMEX, and the mutual funds are sucking up shares like crazy, judging from all the block trades listed on Toronto. (WRM — Toronto.


Photo 26
(click to enlarge)

     Queenstake Resources is another of my companies. Good story line here. Exploration company sells one of their properties for cash, goes shopping, buys a largely-depleted mine (Jerritt Canyon) from a bigger company, does additional drilling to expand the resource, the price of gold goes up in the meantime, and they have a nice, little business for themselves. You’d have thought of it yourself if you weren’t wasting your time reading Canadian literature. If this stock dips below 70 cents, grab it. (QRL — Toronto.


Photo 25
(click to enlarge)

     Didn’t I say last year that Rubicon Minerals was on my “watch” list? Go back to last year’s essay and see for yourself. I bought 1,500 shares @ $1.30 in October, and I got Olga into this one promptly as well. This one’s worth sitting on patiently. Their main play is in the Red Lake gold district in Ontario; others are in Newfoundland and Nevada. They have joint ventures with Placer Dome, Goldcorp, Iamgold, and Wolfden, which is smart because their partners share the expense and the projects get advanced. They are drilling on fifteen projects this year and should generate a lot of news. Last year they were on the Venture Exchange, but now they’re on the “big board” (Toronto). I didn’t like the look of their 2002 Annual Report, which looked like it was designed by a homosexual interior decorator. This is a great speculation, but if you get in cheaper than I did, I don’t want to hear about it. (RMX — Toronto.


Photo 24
(click to enlarge)

     Olga, you cut the top of my head off! Yeah, right, blame my new camera….Here’s another of my companies. True North Gems, which I made a note of last year, has made the first discovery of emeralds in Canada (in the Yukon). It was something different, and I liked the story, so I bought it at one dollar. The stock is down, but I can’t bear to sell because it would break the hearts of these two gorgeous babes. The hot brunette, Bonnie, is a geologist, and the hot blonde, Holly, is in investor relations. Hey, those are my two favorite occupations! (TGX — Venture.


Photo 12
(click to enlarge)

     Okay, now listen up, because this is my Number One Recommended Speculation at the moment: International Uranium. The Lundin Group, ably represented by Sophia Shane, controls several resource companies, including International Uranium, Atacama Minerals (which I also own), Tenke Mining, South Atlantic Ventures, and Tanganyika Oil. The Lundins are all geologists and have deep pockets, so their companies always have money. They are the shrewdest guys I know of in this game, and they’re not in it to pump and dump stock; they’re in it to build real operating projects. Uranium is in a roaring bull market that the public is scarcely aware of. International Uranium has already multiplied ten-fold in one year, and I’m convinced this one’s going to be a moon shot. I have 3,000 shares at an average price of $1.75, and I got Olga in at around $1.50. The company has one of the only two uranium processing mills in the U.S. and exploration properties in Saskatchewan and Mongolia. The stock is volatile and not for old ladies and wimps. Get in under $3.00 if you can. Atacama is also a nice speculation at around 60 cents. They have an iodine and phosphate mine in Chile. This is a quieter stock and worth sitting on. (IUC — Toronto. AAM — Venture.


Photo 28
(click to enlarge)

     Placer Dome was showing off a gold ingot, and they had an armed guard for it, which was probably unnecessary. For one thing, this is a respectable crowd, not like the scumbags in my neighbourhood. And for another thing, you’re not going to be able to run very fast with something that weighs 65 pounds.


Photo 29
(click to enlarge)

     Two of Canada’s diversified mining giants — Noranda and Falconbridge.


Photo 30
(click to enlarge)

     Another Canadian mining giant — Teck Cominco. These guys rule. Allbig mining companies rule. Inco was also here, but my camera cut off the top of the photo.


Photo 08
(click to enlarge)

     Virginia Gold Mines probably has the best portfolio of exploration properties in Quebec, which, incidentally, is considered one of the best places in the world for mining. They joint-venture almost everything to stretch their money. I don’t own shares at the moment. After all, I can’t buy everything. (VIA — Toronto.


Photo 07
(click to enlarge)

     Olga insisted I meet the President of Barker Minerals, whom she knows, so I spent a few minutes here to be polite. This is a classic penny stock — a high-risk speculation with any possible outcome. They have a package of early-stage gold and base metals properties in British Columbia. It’s not yet a big target on radar. The stock does not trade heavily and has spent most of the past year between 20¢ and 30¢. Last year the chart was a classic bottom-fish chart, and if it follows the same pattern this year, you’re looking to get in below 20¢ in November and December. However, it’s not on my shopping list. (BML — Venture.


Photo 09
(click to enlarge)

     Strathmore Minerals is another uranium outfit, and the stock has gotten a lift along with the rest of the uranium sector. However, I think this one’s a dog. They have properties in the U.S., Canada, and Peru, and if they ever get their shoes dirty working on any of them, they should issue a press release. (STM — Venture.


Photo 19
(click to enlarge)

     Titanium Corp. has invented a process for extracting titanium and zircon from oil sands tailings (waste) and has a working agreement with Syncrude, one of the big oil sands miners in northern Alberta. This is a good story for speculators because it’s different and because it has great economic potential. However, it’s going to take some time to play out, since the extraction process will require several years of testing. I would not be surprised if this stock got a lot cheaper by year-end. (TIC — Venture.


Photo 20
(click to enlarge)

     Whoa, read the body language in this photo! The Gossan Resources investor package, which is awfully thick for a company whose stock hardly trades, notes that the company has only 14.4 million shares outstanding after 20 years as a publicly traded company. During the week of the PDAC, the total value of Gossan shares traded on the Venture Exchange was roughly $72,000, which is peanuts for a 20-year-old company.  What does this tell you? It tells you that Gossan’s exploration program has been so minimal for so long that nobody cares about them. True, the stock has more than doubled in the past year, but on crappy volume. They have an assortment of mineral properties in Manitoba and Ontario, including precious metals, chromium, silica sand, magnesium, titanium, and tantalum. They have also bought a 30% interest in a company that provides software to the property and causualty insurance industry to facilitate settlement of claims, but I don’t know why. We’ll check back with these guys next year, but my prediction is that the stock will be much lower. I believe the name “Gossan” comes from an Indian word that means “grass growing under your feet.” (GSS — Venture.


Photo 21
(click to enlarge)

     These guys talk big and don’t deliver. “We’ll be in production by the end of the year.” That’s what the President of Holmer Gold Mines told me about the silver mine in Cuba — around six years ago. They’re still waiting for approval. They’ve also got a gold project near Timmins (Ontario), which I was also hearing about six years ago. So far, they’re up to 180,000 ounces of gold in the “indicated resource” category (big yawn), although, to be fair, that number is likely to improve with additional drilling. Nevertheless, you don’t get too excited about a gold deposit until it passes the 1-million-ounce threshold of “proven” and “probable” reserves.

Mining is a white man’s game, okay? I avoid companies that have what I call a “Wog Factor.” Strathmore’s another. Wogs should stick to what they know — i.e., running bargain stores and driving taxis. So call me a racist, what do I care? Holmer used to trade on Toronto but now trades on the Venture Exchange, whose listing requirements are less stringent. (HGM — Venture.


Photo 22
(click to enlarge)

     What do you think of when you hear the word “Congo”? Do you think of staggering mineral wealth of all kinds, or do you think of jigaboos killing each other? I think of jigaboos killing each other. America Mineral Fields, on the other hand, is thinking of enormous quantities of copper and cobalt in their Kolwezi Tailings Project, which could be in production by 2006. Copper and cobalt are both up, and the tailings are just sitting there on the surface. The stock has been trading well and has been rising. The company just got formal approval from the government, and it looks like this one is flying like a birdie. The company is based in London, U.K., where the stock is interlisted, and Umicore of Belgium, a major refiner, is a significant shareholder. (AMZ — Toronto.


Photo 23
(click to enlarge)

     NovaGold Resources has four advanced gold projects in Alaska and western Canada and expects to be producing 500,000 ounces of gold a year by the end of the decade. Their flagship property is Donlin Creek in Alaska. Mining giant Placer Dome is paying the expenses to earn a majority interest. You and I are both way too late to this party. The only way you’re going to snag this beauty at a bargain price is if there’s a serious pullback in gold, and all the gold stocks get beaten up; otherwise, consider buying it on the AMEX in U.S. dollars if the U.S. dollar rallies against the Canadian dollar (which would make the stock even cheaper in U.S. dollars). Below $5.00 Canadian, I think this is a bargain. (NG — Toronto.


Photo 27
(click to enlarge)

     Redcorp Ventures would probably have been producing metal years ago, had it not been for the f–king Indians and environmental bullshit in B.C. I have avoided investing in B.C. for years. B.C. has great geology but a lousy regulatory regime. The Redcorp representative assured me that the new Liberal government in B.C. is pro-mining, and so are half of the Indians. (That leaves the other half.) Redcorp has a rejuvenated polymetallic mine called Tulsequah Chief (I love that name), which will be a dandy if it ever gets up and running. They also have a gold exploration property called Hawk in north-central B.C. If any outfit in B.C. deserves a break, it’s Redcorp. This is a good speculation if you can get in on a pullback below 35¢, maybe late in the year. Right now the shares are getting a lift from the bull market in metals, but the word from Barclays Capital’s mining experts is that metals are going to top out this yeaer or in ’05, so be warned. (RDV — Toronto.


Photo 32
(click to enlarge)

     You wouldn’t believe how many exploration companies are mucking around in the frozen North looking for diamonds. This area play is going to be a speculator’s dream for a very long time. And if you were not aware that Canada is already producing a lot of diamonds from its Far North, then you should quit hanging around with bohemians in coffee houses and get out in the real world and meet some normal people. Why do you think I write these articles every year?

Diamonds North has three projects going, one of which is joint-ventured with Teck Cominco. The stock is in the $1 range, trades briskly, and is fairly volatile, so it’s ideally suited for speculators. If you wait until November or December, you should be able to get it cheaper. On the other hand, if they trip over a monster high-grade kimberlite tomorrow, you’ll wish you’d bought it today. (DDN — Venture.


Photo 33
(click to enlarge)

     I was just about to recommend Cumberland Resources as a bargain below $3.50 when the stock got hit by some bad news: their Medowbank gold project in Nunavut will be delayed at least a year, and construction costs will be much higher than expected. Management said they were “disappointed,” which is a euphemism for “sick enough to puke.” Now I have no idea at what price to recommend Cumberland. The company was pretty confident they had 3 million mineable ounces of gold in the ground, but I think they will need to increase that number. Gold itself is still looking bullish, so Cumberland is still very much in play (maybe in the $2 range). Just don’t look up Baker Lake on the map unless you fantasize about visiting Pluto. (CLG — Toronto.


Photo 34
(click to enlarge)

     Now, here’s a good bottom fish for you if it gets cheap late in the year. Fortune Minerals has an interesting collection of properties, and judging from the stock’s action, the market is getting interested in Fortune again after several years of apathy. The NICO gold project in the N.W.T. is finally at the point of a feasibility study. The Mount Klappan coal deposit in B.C. is into an updated feasibility study. (A feasibility study is done by an engineering company to confirm the economic viability of a proposed mine and to lay out a detailed plan. This happens at the end of the exploration stage of a project. The next step is to raise the money to build the mine, which means making the rounds of the big investment banks.) Fortune also owns 30% of a limestone deposit in Ontario, which is in permitting. The Sue-Dianne copper-silver deposit, near NICO, is ready for scoping studies (a very preliminary engineering assessment of economic viability). There are about 1.5 million warrants priced at $1.50, which must be exercised by May of 2005, as well as 1.5 million insiders’ options at 69¢ and 75¢. This represents future selling pressure on the stock, so I would try to get it on the cheap. If Santa is reading this, I want Fortune Minerals for Christmas as a bottom fish at, oh, let’s say $2.00 or less. (FT — Toronto.


Also Noted

Afri-Can Marine Minerals (AFA — Venture.
Afri-Can holds offshore diamond concessions in Namibia and has also acquired a land-based concession. Marine diamonds are sucked out of the seabed from a boat using a sort of underwater vacuum cleaner. Some good diamonds have been recovered here, but proving up a mineable resource is expensive and time-consuming. These guys have already issued over 77 million shares, and the stock is around 17¢ at the moment. When you’re doing financings of a million units at 20¢ to raise $200,000, you are starting to fall behind the curve.
Arctic Star Diamond (ADD — Venture.
Arctic Star is exploring for diamonds in the Attawapiskat area of Ontario, which you can’t drive to. There is a small town, but God only knows why anyone would live there. Yes, there are diamonds, and if Arctic Star finds a lot of them on their property, their stock goes ballistic and you get somewhat rich, assuming you get in while it’s still cheap. However, the probability of an economic discovery is low. This is what speculation is all about.
Dunsmuir Ventures (DVV — Venture.
Dunsmuir’s main project is the Nanuq diamond project in Nunavut, where it is drilling along a train of kimberlite indicator minerals. (Minerals associated with diamond-bearing kimberlites will be swept along by glaciation and leave a train that can be detected by geological sampling. Geologists then try to work backwards to where the original source is likely to be found. This is basically how Chuck Fipke discovered the huge diamond deposit at Lac de Gras in the N.W.T.) As I’ve mentioned before, a lot of companies are in the northern Canadian diamond hunt. What I find particularly intriguing about this company, however, is their alliance with Majescor to explore for diamonds in the U.S. There are numerous alluvial (riverbed) diamond occurrences in the U.S. that have never been accounted for. These two companies intend to search for a previously unidentified rock type responsible for these diamonds. This stock’s on my shopping list for bottom-fishing season. A map of U.S. diamond occurrences appears below.
Photo 99
(click to enlarge)
Entree Gold (ETG — Venture.
Now, is this cheating, or clever, or what? Entree Gold has acquired rights to a large area of land completely surrounding Ivanhoe’s Turquoise Hill property in Mongolia. Turquoise Hill is a huge copper-gold desposit and one of the highest-profile mineral projects in the world. So, naturally, the market figures that Entree’s property could have an economic deposit, too, and Entree gets to ride on Ivanhoe’s coat-tails. Their stock trades good volumes and is volatile, so it’s a speculator’s stock. But I can’t help thinking that if Entree’s property were any good, Ivanhoe would have locked it up first. It makes me think of Hawkeye Gold, the worst company I ever bought, many years ago. They acquired some land next to Fortune’s NICO property and let everyone think they had an extension of the NICO orebody. (Hey, it’s possible.)
Etruscan Resources (EET — Toronto.
African gold and diamond projects. Already has alluvial diamond production in South Africa and is expecting gold production from the Samira Hill project in Niger to begin in late 2004. (It should be noted that half of Samira Hill’s reserves are already hedged below $400 US.) The stock is already on everyone’s radar and is no longer stupidly cheap. Risks include political unrest and legal and currency issues. A complex story, and this one’s not on my shopping list.
Freewest Resources Canada (FWR — Venture.
Large portfolio of gold and base metals exploration projects in Canada. Two joint ventures with Teck Cominco. I used to like this company a lot, but they are over 86 million shares outstanding, and their most advanced project, Clarence Stream, is nowhere near a production decision. This one’s getting “over-ripe.”
General Minerals (GNM — Toronto.
General Minerals has three early-stage copper and gold projects in Arizona and two silver-gold projects in Bolivia in locations of historic mine sites (i.e., defunct mines). Nothing excites me very much. But you know the old saying: a rising tide lifts all boats. And in a bullish mining market like this one, even a lesser outfit can raise money and see their stock go up. It should be noted that General consolidated their stock 1-for-10 (also called a “reverse split”), magically transforming it from a 14-cent stock to a $1.40 stock. You should be cautious about buying a stock that has been consolidated because they have a tendency to resume falling. This one’s over $2 at the moment, but volume is on the low side.
Goldbrook Ventures (GBK — Venture.
Goldbrook has the most acreage of any of the companies involved in the Raglan area play (see Knight Resources). It’s an early-stage exploration play, trading volume is decent, the price of nickel is up, and anything’s possible. Both Goldbrook and Knight are on my bottom-fish shopping list for November/December.
Intrepid Minerals (IAU — Venture.
Intrepid has two gold-silver projects on the front burners — San Cristobal in El Salvador, and Casposo in Argentina — and is advancing them aggressively. Drilling results so far have been very good, and the stock has more than tripled in the past year and trades good volume. There was a lot of buzz at the PDAC about Intrepid’s latest drill holes from Casposo. But trust me that this stock will get cheaper, because buzz is always temporary. You want to check on this one late in the year, and if the chart looks like a classic bottom fish (selling off because of year-end tax-loss selling), buy it.
Jaguar Nickel (JNI — Toronto.
This company used to be known as Chesbar Resources when they had gold properties in Venezuela, and I think they are better off in their new incarnation, because Venezuela is one of the worst places in the world to invest, regardless of all the gold in the ground. Jaguar is now into nickel, which is in a strong bull market. They have what’s called a nickel laterite deposit in Guatemala (which is maybe not an investment paradise, but not as bad as Venezuela). Laterite deposits pose technological challenges, which other companies have addressed with mixed success. Jaguar has a new method of processing laterite ore that they believe is vastly superior to other methods, and if it lives up to expectations, the stock is worth about $2.50 — more than double the recent price. The company is pushing their flagship property hard and expects to make a production decision by the end of 2004 or early 2005. This one’s on my bottom-fish list, but it must still be regarded as speculative.
Jilbey Gold (JLB — Venture.
Jilbey Gold is High River’s exploration arm in Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta). I mentioned High River in last year’s essay, so you can go back and read it if you want to. I made a small profit on High River this year. Jilbey has 4,000 square kilometers worth of exploration permits, which is not that much, really, but they’re located on or adjacent to known gold-bearing zones. Burkina Faso is becoming a significant area play in itself, since it’s politically stable, relatively unexplored, and has a progressive mining code. I’m waiting until late in the year and hope to pick this one up cheap.
Knight Resources (KNP — Venture.
Knight Resources has a large chunk of real estate in what is referred to as the “Raglan nickel camp” in northern Quebec, named after the Raglan mine owned by Falconbridge. This is nickel and copper territory, and a lot of companies have exploration projects there. Nickel and copper are both way up in price, so the market is keenly interested in this area play. Knight’s President worked for Falconbridge for 25 years, and their Exploration Manager was involved in the discovery of the Voisey’s Bay nickel desposit in Labrador and also worked for Noranda for seven years. The stock trades good volume, and I would buy it as a bottom fish late in the year.
Northern Orion Resources (NNO — Toronto.
Northern Orion owns a one-eighth interest in the Alumbrera copper-gold mine in Argentina and expects to get about $25 million (US) a year over the next eight years. It could come out a lot higher than that since the price of copper has gone up. They intend to advance a nearby property, Agua Rica, to production. It’s a copper-gold-molybdenum deposit, and they own 100% of it. Northern Orion consolidated its shares 1-for-10 in 2003 and still has 105 million shares outstanding and 160 million fully diluted (that means if all warrants and options were exercised). The overhanging warrants don’t expire until 2008, and they’ll act as a drag on the stock. If another company makes a bid for Agua Rica, the stock will go up, but that’s the only scenario where I can imagine making any serious money on this stock. I can’t predict how this story will play out, but barring any unusual event, I would expect the stock price to correlate to the price of copper more than anything else.
Pacific NW Capital (PFN — Toronto.
I don’t know how I missed these guys at the PDAC. I must have taken a wrong turn and missed half a row of exhibitors. Anyway, I own this one. It’s a platinum/palladium exploration play in Ontario, and the stock is cheap below 90¢. It correlates to palladium because their property has relatively more palladium than platinum. Palladium appears to have bottomed out and is coming back up slowly, but you can forget about $1,000-an-ounce palladium like a few years ago any time in the forseeable future.
Temex Resources (TME — Venture.
Two gold and two diamond projects in Ontario and Nunavut. Casino odds are much better than this one.

Web Sites Worth Bookmarking
Toronto Stock Exchange and Venture Exchange
Northern Miner weekly newspaper
Globe & Mail business reporting and market data and stock charts
Montreal Option Exchange

Have questions? E-mail me at (Allow two or three days for reply, as I don’t have a computer at home and use a public facility every few days.)



by Crad Kilodney



All material at Dead Man Talking/  is copyright © by Crad Kilodney. All rights reserved.

Crad Kilodney, P.O. Box 72577, 345 Bloor St. East, Unit 7, Toronto, ON, M4W 3S9

Crad’s new writing is now at