INN approached miners and explorers based in Ireland at PDAC to find out whether Brexit is making waves for them.
With the deadline for Brexit rapidly approaching, questions about how the UK’s departure from the European Union will affect the economy of it and its neighbors have swirled around the corridors of government — though apparently not in the offices of the resource industry.
The Investing News Network approached zinc and gold mining and exploration companies operating in the only country with a land border with the UK — Ireland — on the floor of PDAC in Toronto to ask whether Brexit will have any impact on their industry, and the answer was an emphatic yawn.
“I would consider it white noise,” said Vice President of Exploration at Adventus Zinc (TSXV:ADZN,OTCQX:ADVZF) Jason Dunning, who added that for operators in the Republic, there are more important issues than what’s happening in London.
“In Ireland there are a lot more pressing concerns in the mines act,” and a more solid system for supporting the industry, he added.
That sentiment was shared by D. Neil Briggs, director at Playfair Mining (TSXV:PLY), who said the company’s concerns are “all domestic issues.”
“I don’t think it’s going to have an impact in the Republic — but the concern [in Ireland] is always the border,” said Briggs.
He said that for miners in the Republic, “nothing’s going to change” if Brexit goes through.
“In fact it might be positive for the Republic because financial companies may move there [if] they want to stay in the EU.”
Consultant geologist for Conroy Gold (LSE:CGNR) Garth Earls said that “given the cyclicity of mining, Brexit’s not that much of a big deal.”
“People have raised it, but until something happens … nobody really knows what’s happening,” he added.
Something that might happen — and has been highlighted as a danger to avoid by politicians on both sides of politics in both the UK and Ireland — is a hard border, though Earls said the chance of that happening is “infinitesimally small.”
Dunning said that with Adventus, the issue of Brexit has not reached any sort of level of concern — “it hasn’t even come up with our Irish consultants — at least not in any discussion I have been in.”
He conceded though that it “might complicate things,” but added that any complications might not be fully understood “for 10 years” after Brexit goes through.
“It’s still the mystery question — nobody has really come up with an answer.”
CEO of Group Eleven Resources (TSXV:ZNG,OTCQB:GRLVF) Bart Jaworski said that for the most part, his company sees Brexit as a risk to other sectors such as the agricultural sector, which exports a large percentage of its output to the UK.
“The agricultural sector within Ireland is going to be impacted negatively because of exports — at least half of the exports go to the UK right now, so all those trading routes will need to be renegotiated and redrawn,” he said.
Mining could ride to the rescue then, he added.
“Maybe mining will be able to fill some of that gap in providing jobs, providing tax revenue for the government. As we explore we pay farmers money for the privilege of drilling on their farms, so they benefit immediately from us looking for the mineral.”
His conclusion was the same as his mining colleagues though. “In terms of mining, it’s not going to have much of an impact.”
Speaking of the government, Minister of State for Natural Resources Sean Canney was in Toronto to spruik Ireland — though he never got a chance to make his planned keynote address during Ireland Day because he was called back to Dublin on “government business.”
Given how much the bureaucracies in Dublin, London, Brussels and beyond are consumed by Brexit, there are no prizes for guessing what he was called back for.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Scott Tibballs, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.