The 2017 Vancouver Resource Investment Conference (“VRIC”) carried a tone of optimism that wasn’t present a few years ago, and the smiles that lined the faces of both exhibitors and attendees indicated that mining had returned from the depths of the abyss it had slipped into back in 2011.
In fact, famed author and professional investor, Doug Casey, was emphatic that the stratospheric prices we witnessed before the collapse of the last super cycle were bound to return by 2019.
He wasn’t the only one with enthusiastic verve.
Mining investment icon, Frank Giustra, spoke to a full house during his forum on Sunday, leaving his audience with some choice words of wisdom.
He mentioned something that has been plaguing the mining sector for the last decade: Mining executives are steadily getting greyer and as they work their way into retirement, there is a decided void as Generation X’ers don’t seem to be taking up the cause.
Icons like Pierre Lassonde and Rick Rule agree with Giustra and feel that bringing in the next generation of talent is critical for the survival of the industry.
It is for that reason that Giustra and others like him have taken the younger set under their wing, providing guidance and opportunity to “Young Turks” such as Tommy Humphreys and Brian Paes-Braga.
Giustra’s efforts seem to be working as Humphreys and his site CEO.CA have become internationally recognized symbols of analytic integrity within the sector.
Then there’s Paes-Braga who founded Lithium X (LIX.V), one of the most exciting lithium miners to come on the scene in recent history. It’s flagship Sal de los Angeles project is situated in the prolific “Lithium Triangle” in Salta Province, Argentina.
The project is comprised of 8,156 hectares covering the nucleus of Salar de Diablillos with an NI 43-101 mineral resource estimate of 1.037 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent of indicated and another 1.007 million tonnes inferred.
Impressive, even without counting the company’s other holdings.
But back to Frank.
Giustra stated that worsening political and economic uncertainty on the global stage was going to feed an incredibly bullish gold market, one that could quite possibly surpass the $1900 an ounce mark.
He went on to say that if you’re looking at gold from an investment point of view, you’ve got to get in now.
Giustra wasn’t talking through his hat, he currently has serious money in three gold explorers operating in Japan, Latin America and the Klondike.
When grilled about his investment strategy, Giustra admonished investors to stay away from the “stans”, Bolivia, Egypt, Venezuela and Turkey, but Argentina, which had historically been a place to avoid, was now a good opportunity.
Next to Argentina, sits Chile. This is where Giustra has laid his initial South American gold bet with Fiore Exploration (F.V).
The well-funded junior miner operates with an objective of acquiring undervalued exploration and development-stage mineral assets across the Americas.
And there is no better time for Fiore to carry out its mandate.
Because exploration budgets are half of what they were in 2012, Fiore’s veteran management is not only able to acquire world-class assets on the cheap, but they are also able to capitalize on those assets with drastically reduced exploration costs, and industry-leading exploration staff and contractors who are readily available for the first time in years.
Giustra launched Fiore last year along with Paes-Braga, and with incredible business acumen and negotiating skill, the duo secured one of the most sought after land packages in the country directly adjacent to Yamana’s wildly prolific El Penon mine, which produced 227,000 ounces of gold and 7.7 million ounces of silver in 2015.
But wait, that’s not it.
Fiore also recently picked up the Cerro Tostado project, located just south of the Mina Fortuna and Main El Peñon complexes.
Cerro is a tasty acquisition not only because of its location. Previous work carried out on the property by SQM produced a phenomenal intercept of 247.6 g/t silver over 10.0 metres after drilling just 17 holes.
I wanted to know more.
Luckily, I had the opportunity to speak with expert geologist, Tim Warman, CEO and Director of Fiore, at the Roundup mining conference which followed on the heels of VRIC 2017.
In fact, I got it all on video and here is the result: