This month at the Mines and Money conference in Toronto, the Investing News Network team interviewed a baker’s dozen of experts and industry players. Here we explore each interview for key investor takeaways.
The three-day Mines and Money Americas conference in Toronto was an opportunity for investors to get up close and personal with experts in the mining space, and for those that missed it, the Investing News Network (INN) was there to ask industry players about their thoughts on mining.
From October 15 to 17, a baker’s dozen of experts were interviewed by the INN team, with topics ranging from traditional resources like gold and copper, to resources for the new age like lithium and nickel. INN also attended panels and presentations, with day-by-day coverage.
Scroll down to watch and read interviews with the pros.
Martin Murenbeeld, president of Murenbeeld & Co., discussed what happened to gold in Q3 and shared predictions on where he sees it going in both the short and long term.
The yellow metal has experienced two tough quarters this year, and Murenbeeld believes this happened due to a strong US dollar, rising equity markets and an increase in the real bond yield.
Sprott (TSX:SII) CEO Mark Grosskopf shared insight on the current state of the gold market and where he thinks it is headed.
Grosskopf believes the yellow metal will rise once again, particularly if it can garner appeal from a wider investor base than it has in the past.
“I think it’s time for gold to appeal to a wider investor base,” Grosskopf said. “I think digital gold is the way that will happen … that’s going to be one way.”
Brian Leni discussed how nickel laterites will support the anticipated nickel boom, how nickel prices may look in 2019 and shared tips for investors who are interested in investing in the base metal.
“Two-thirds of the demand goes into stainless steel, and that’s primarily fed by nickel laterites. And over the next few years, there’s going to be more — potentially a big push for electric vehicles, primarily driven by batteries, and it should be interesting to see the uptake of the electric vehicles,” Leni stated.
As for advice for potential nickel investors? Leni says that they can, and should, be picky.
Charles Nyabeze is the vice president of business development at the Center for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI). In his interview with INN, he discussed technology disrupting the mining sector, the role the Internet of Things and blockchain play in mining reform and what innovations he sees becoming prevalent in the future.
“I think we’re going to use more data, we’re going to take advantage of that data. And as we do that, we will be able to extract more value out of operations,” explained Nyabeze.
In conversation with INN, M.Plan International Managing Director David Anonychuk explained how the electric vehicle revolution will see several different battery metals find their place in the spotlight.
“I think the story is quite interesting for all of them because they’re all going to move together based on the demand that we’re going to see from electric vehicles, as well as the energy storage space,” he said.
“I think one thing to put this all in perspective is we probably hear the most about lithium right now, and that’s probably one that’s most well known in terms of what people talk about demand,” Anonychuk added — though he noted that financing remains a key issue in the space, with lack of technical knowledge keeping away “some of the financial community.”
“For the African projects, it’s more about what price do they need to get themselves up and running. What we’re trying to do is bring our cost down to get us in a … US$45 to US$50 range that would allow us to start construction,” Major explained.
He said that being able to quickly advance uranium projects through the exploration, development and production stages will be paramount to meeting increasing demand to fuel green energy grids.
GeoMegA Resources (TSXV:GMA) is positioning itself as rare earth oxide producer able to supply materials integral to the high-strength magnets used in wind turbines, electric vehicles and refrigeration systems.
INN had the chance to chat with CEO Kiril Mugerman, who explained that the recycling process created by GeoMegA harnesses the small amounts of rare earths left over in the manufacturing process, which means fewer new materials need to be mined.
Using waste from production reuses valuable materials, Mugerman said GeoMegA has created an environmentally friendly way to produce rare earths.
“Last week at LME Week in London, the [forecast from one group] was about $1.10 next year, which is softer even than where we are right at the moment, and I’m thinking that’s probably the reality,” he said.
Williams explained that prices may have come down in anticipation of increased supply coming into the market, and noted that usually new production has less of an impact than expected, “but nevertheless it is coming on, and I think the market knows that. And so I think we’re probably going to have a bit more pressure on the zinc price going into next year.”
Read on for stories from even more interviews conducted by the INN team.
Gianni Kovacevic, executive chairman of Copperbank Resources (CSE:CBK), waved away the trade war and said he isn’t losing any sleep over copper because investors are “scrambling for copper metal.”
Falling inventories are the indicator for that demand, said Kovacevic, who added that the tricky side of the copper story is supply. With 100-year-old mines in copper powerhouse Chile, “we’re going to have to rely on other jurisdictions” to ramp up copper production to meet increasing demand. However, “there’s not that many out there,” he said, pointing to the US as an attractive alternative.
Kovacevic also talked about what type of copper project he likes the most, and praised the US thanks to lower taxes and mining locations “where the worker can go home at the end of the day.”
Remi Piet, senior director of natural resources and infrastructure practise at Americas Market Intelligence, says there’s opportunity in Latin America, but investors must complete due diligence to get the full picture and understand the situation on the ground.
Piet shared his thoughts on investing in the region, from developments in national governments to how to approach local communities and prevent investments from falling over.
With elections on the horizon and new governments still making their mark, he said the continent, which is home to mammoth copper mines, huge iron ore projects and a burgeoning lithium sector, is an attractive prospect for anyone that wants to invest in mining.
Alfaro-Abogados partner Ignacio Celorrio explained that doing one’s homework is vital to finding prosperity down south.
“Because lithium has been so small for so much time, there is a lot of speculation and expectations, which can blur your eyes. But at the same time there is not enough knowledge about how the market works, which seems to oversimplify some analysis,” he said.
He added that while being informed is important, investors should make sure to take a big-picture approach when looking at the lithium triangle.
“[Don’t] be so concerned with everyday news of what’s going on, [just look for] the trends of what’s coming. Because Latin countries tend to be more volatile than the new investors are used to.”
Ani Markova, vice president and portfolio manager at AGF Investments (TSX:AGF.B), discussed what happened to gold in Q3 and what to expect from the gold price in 2019 and how the US dollar/gold relationship will play out next year and beyond.
Markova noted that despite the issues that kept gold down in the last two quarters, she is feeling optimistic about the precious metal moving forward.
“I’m getting encouraged because gold is doing what gold is supposed to do, which is being the portfolio diversifier. We’re seeing what happens when we have an equity market correction and gold starts to rally in the back of it,” she said.
Alain Corbani, the head of commodities of Finance SA, spoke about Trumponomics and how it could potentially “make gold great again.”
Corbani noted that gold is currently in a cycle that started three years ago and will continue for the next few years. He believes that this cycle is affected by Trumponomics, which is the idea that US President Donald Trump’s aggressive fiscal policy will bring down the US dollar, leaving room for gold to rise.
“He has got into a very aggressive fiscal policy, and this fiscal policy is going to make higher deficits. And when you have some inflation, higher deficits and debt to GDP that is close to 100 percent, real interest rates are staying low and the dollar, the US currency, will weaken,” Corbani said.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Scott Tibballs, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: Pasinex Resources is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.
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.