2018 is halfway there, are miners living on a prayer?

July 5, 2018

Congratulations to those of you reading. You have survived another 6 months in the mining industry, no mean feat, it has not been an easy ride! We are on the cusp of knowing: Are Glencore crumbling in the Congolese courts? Are Rio about to become South Asia’s biggest copper producer? Is this the year of the Juniors or will the Middle East’s divestment from oil to base metals squeeze us out?

This summer’s drilling season is well underway across most of the Northern Hemisphere and many of us are feverishly chewing our nails awaiting assays and announcements from our favourite projects. This season we want to ask ‘who’s reading your results’? With the markets in a perpetual state of confusion, unsure if they’ve peaked at a record $7 billion, or if everything is still undervalued. What sets your project apart from the other 3000… for all your effort, who is actually reading your outputs!?

Our award so far for the biggest win of 2018 goes unequivocally to Ireland based, Canada operated Dalradian. After filing 43-101 they have disposed of shareholders and returned their Co. Tyrone gold project to private hands. One success story early in the summer! Who’s next?

Dalradian Mines - Biggest winners so far of 2018 with a $580 million sell off confirmed
Dalradian Mines – Biggest winners so far of 2018 with a $C570 million buy-out confirmed

After an exceptional start to 2018 in North America, with an oversubscribed AME, full rooms at the Metal Investor Forums and a record breaking PDAC… followed by a Cape Town Indaba double the size of 2017… MiningIR’s teams couldn’t wait to hit the road for the European Conference season. What we stumbled into was surprising. If attendance and attitude are to be judged as proxies, Europe has very mixed feelings about entering another mining boom.

MiningIR attended the successful Nordic Mining Investment Conference in Helsinki
MiningIR attended the successful Nordic Mining Investment Conference in Helsinki – Click for our full review

We’ saw a big divide between operators in Scandinavia and those outside. Despite strict environmental rollbacks from the Swedish government and ongoing protests in Finland, most listed projects are raising money and are surrounded by countless amateur prospects to explore.

Round table discussions ended the first day, summarsing and sharing our thoughts on proceedings
Round table discussions at MIE2018 in Frankfurt, summarising and sharing our thoughts on proceedings – click for our full review

Oddly in Frankfurt we came across keen regional investors with money to spend, struggling to find companies to give it to. With Austria’s lithium and Slovakia’s cobalt projects remaining skeptical and Portugal’s most promising assets being already sufficiently bankrolled. Europe is full of minerals to mine, but it seems the auto-activism from the same people who’d like to build wind turbines and solar panels has stifled it’s ability to produce them and enter the green tech race. We’d love to see mainland Europe rally together and actually do some digging. It’s long overdue away from the majors in the Polish Kupferschiefer and Iberian pyrite belts.

In London we found a fantastic conference, overshadowed by Britain’s sombre fear of her looming future, as she sits in political no-man’s-land twiddling her thumbs and trying to sneak her coins offshore before anybody notices. This year it seems, a lot of our politically motivated and intentionally constructed ‘fear’ has inadvertently driven speculative money away from mining and into non-political  protest and escape assets.

Investors aren’t stupid anymore. They’re tired of being at the mercy of Trumps and Trudeaus, Merkels and Mays having tantrums.

Battery metal s dominated this year's Mining Journal Select meeting in London
Battery metals dominated this year’s Mining Journal Select meeting in London

In a recent interview with us in London, Rick Rule from Sprott US reported that around around 40% of their new mining investors were female Southern-Asians from educated technical backgrounds (interview to be published later this week at MiningIR.com). Research by InvestInBlockchain.com published in December 2017 suggests over 50% of crypto/blockchain investors entered the market in 2017 and are aged between 20 & 35 and entered the market due to lack of trust in standardised currency. Two fifths of these investors hold university degrees, two fifths hold post-graduate diplomas (PhD/MSc level). Four fifths of crypto investors said they check prices and interact in the online community more than 3 times per day!

This year is not just about making money, it’s about building new social dynamics for our industry.

In a digital age where everything is shared, public and interactive (and has been for 10 years now), investors want a more involved and immersive experience with their companies. Many choose investing in crypto assets to access the community and comradery. There are forums, social media groups and regular blogs/vlogs, they are all debated and targeted at social media platforms… Much like we may shake hands and swap stories with a few hundred people wandering around PDAC… Online investors seek out each other’s avatars and twitter handles, but there’s no $2000 entry fees or dress code for crypto.

Spot the difference: Attendees at the recent Crypto Bazar in Dubai celebrate raising $28.8 million in token sales for their blockchain platform.
Spot the difference: Attendees at the recent free Crypto Bazar in Dubai celebrate raising $28.8 million in token sales for their blockchain platform. (image – https://www.micromoney.io/)

Our mining industry has a tangible product, great characters to hear from and a real global development impact factor (try building a car battery out of crypto assets). We have historic stories, hilarious stories, geologically anomalous stories and bank-breaking stories to sell…  Unfortunately, we’re about 10 years behind our competitors and nobody is listening.

What to do?

I want to add an extra MARKETING tick-box to every investors handbook for the rest of 2018. Now, more than ever, we can’t just rely on a strong management team and favourable geology to raise money. Are your interests diversifying their media output and attracting new investors? Are they making decent and regular use of social media and involving you in their work? Are results and models from your prospects being explained at an accessible level, or just in wooden technical reports? Now is their time to get ahead of the game, because everybody has to be if we’re going to rope back in our future investors!

That’s my nugget for the halfway mark.

I truly look forward to reviewing the end of 2018, when we’re all rolling in Scrooge McDuck style money pits, gold is at $1900, everybody is wearing diamonds again and we’ve all hit the gym enough to run a casual marathon together…

Roll on the autumn results season and in the meantime, for any fellow football fans out there *COME ON ENGLAND!*.

MiningIR provide news and reporting on the global resource industry, our articles should not be considered as formal financial advice. Always seek professional guidance before investing.

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MiningIR hosts a variety of articles from a range of sources. Our content, while interesting, should not be considered as formal financial advice. Always seek professional guidance and consult a range of sources before investing.
James Hyland, MiningIR