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Monday, October 23, 2006 12:29 PM

Chicago Natural Resources Conference Highlights

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On October 13th & 14th I attended the Chicago Natural Resources Conference. If you have not been to a mining/minerals or natural resources conference you owe it to yourself to do so. I had the pleasure of sitting on two Q&A panels along with Bob Moriarty of 321gold.com, Clyde Harrison of Brookshire Raw Materials Group, Jason Hommel of Silver Stock Report, Michael Berry of Investing Success, Dave Skarica of the Skarica Letter, Peter Grandich of the Grandich Letter, and several other prominent speakers. I was certainly the junior member of that group.

Many of the speakers on the panel did not need to be there by any means, but they graciously donated their time and knowledge. Where else can you go and fire off questions to well respected industry experts like Bob Moriarty or Clyde Harrison for free? The room should have been full but there were some empty seats.

Does anyone remember the summer of 2005? People were camping out overnight in Florida and drawing lottery tickets as well just for the privilege of buying condos at absurd prices. Others were paying upwards of $500 to listen to Donald Trump talk for 30 minutes at seminars instructing people how to accumulate wealth by flipping houses. Meanwhile a real chance at building wealth by accumulating assets when they are cheap goes largely unheeded.

At one point in the conference, Rich Radez, the organizer of the event said something to the effect of “When people are paying $500 to attend natural resources conferences and the room is 5 times this size, please remind me to sell”.

That analogy might tell you just how much closer we are to the beginning of this move than the end of it. Instead of learning about building wealth in what is likely to be a very long bull market in resources fueled by demand from China, India, and other emerging markets, the masses were in a deadly embrace, chasing the end of a housing bubble that has now burst.

Everyone in attendance was captivated by the “Market Views” discussion given by Bob Moriarty and Rich Radez, as well as the lunch discussion of Clyde Harrison on “The Big Picture” otherwise known as China. There were over 20 resource companies giving slideshow presentations and many additional exhibitors. Attendees had the chance to talk to CEOs of various junior mining and exploration companies of all kinds (not just precious metals), pick up free literature, and hobnob with industry experts willing to share their knowledge.

The presentations that most caught my eye were given by Douglas Lake Minerals, Houston Lake Mining, and Hard Creek Nickel. I am now making plans to tour all three operations and have a tentative schedule to visit Douglas Lake Minerals early next year.

Douglas Lake Minerals

Douglas Lake Mineral's (DLKM) properties are in Tanzania, a very poor but politically stable, mineral rich country in Africa. Gus Sangha and Byron Hampton made the presentation. They talked about the country, its people and the mine. Drilling is currently in progress. The first core sample, 200 meters in length, hit pay dirt revealing visible gold.

Click on the following image to see enhanced resolution.

Obviously these images represent a hand picked sample that is certainly NOT representative of the entire core length by any stretch of the imagination.

Still, visible specs of gold in core samples are rather uncommon, and chunks of gold are extremely rare.

Byron Hampton, VP of Investor Relations, mentioned that 3 more core samples are currently planned and/or underway, 60 meters out from the strike, 140 meters out from the strike, and 240 meters out from the strike. Those are unusually large distances which shows the confidence Douglas Lake has in the size of the strike zone. Results of those drillings are expected to be announced by the end of November, possibly sooner. Email Byron Hampton if you wish to request additional information.

Hopefully the above example shows how conferences like these are a good way to find out about exciting happenings in the world of junior miners and explorers. I would not have found out about any of these other companies had I not attended. There were many good presentations. I simply do not have time to write them all up in a single blog. Those wishing additional information can click on the following links.

Conference Presenters (in order of appearance)

Other exhibitors
For what it's worth, (and possibly nothing), I am particularly interested in Canaco and Tradewinds from the above list.

Additional Notes

It took me over a week to figure out whether or not to present the above information and if so, how best to go about it. On the list of possibilities was simply doing nothing, starting a newsletter, charging a subscription fee to my blog, and many variations thereof. The newsletter idea was quickly discarded. There are arguably too many metal related newsletters already. A glance at the panel above should be proof enough, especially given that list is by no means all encompassing of available newsletters. Note too that I already have my own newsletter produced with partner Brian McAuley but is not specific to metals nor is it tailored to writing about junior mining companies.

I also made a personal commitment not to charge for my blog from the day it was launched. There is no good reason to change that stance now. Yet the amount of hours I spend writing without any compensation whatsoever keeps escalating higher and higher. That led me to consider the idea of doing more paid ads. Yes, the first ad of this nature will be for Douglas Lake. This of course puts me in the position of being accused of all sorts of things, most of which are not printable. Rest assured I am not going to take an ad for any company whose story I do not understand or believe. Nor will I accept ads for any company that I feel is not treating its shareholders fairly. Taking ads will also let me recover some costs that will occur when I start touring mines later this year or early next year.

I vividly remember the brouhaha that developed on the Motley FOOL not too long ago when I first put up banners for Elliot Wave. The discussion was intense to say the least. Yes, Prechter has made some horrid calls on gold and other things. But I use Ewave principles in some of my technical analysis and find the concept of waves quiet useful. I use it and I encourage those interested to find out more about it. If I did not find Ewave to be a useful tool, I would not have a banner for it. Yes, it is that simple.

Almost everyone by now understands that I am a Huge Housing Bear. Yet for some time now you have seen a banner on the right hand side of my blog for No Bull Mortgage. I have explained this twice now, the latest being Two Anecdotes.

The bottom line to all of this is simple: I made a decision that I can easily justify and I am running with it.


Anything and everything written above is not and should not be considered as investment advice. Please consult your investment advisor before making any investment decisions. Furthermore I may or may not have a position in any companies I write about and I may or may not have a position in any company that I accept an ad for. I do pledge to the best of my abilities to only take ads from companies that I believe are legitimate endeavors, but mistakes can be made. Any actions that you take based on information or analysis printed above is ultimately your responsibility.

Final Thoughts

I am not sure if I can attain the lofty standard of integrity set by keynote speaker Robert McEwen former CEO of Goldcorp in his keynote address to the Denver Gold Forum, but it is my commitment to try. That integrity caused him to be banned from further Denver gold shows. If you have not yet read my take on his presentation please read Gold, Mortgages, & Bigger Things.

In the end, what investors need is for companies to protect and enhance shareholder value and ultimately for the interest of shareholders to be aligned with interests of the board. McEwen's keynote address shows we have a long way to go. Investors also need more discussion of ideas and more sharing of worthwhile information. Investors do not need another paid newsletter or another subscription based blog. This blog has been and will remain a free forum of discussion with a goal of sharing ideas and information about all kinds of economically related topics. The best way for me to accomplish that goal, while at the same time attempting to recover some of my costs in time, effort and dollars, was to start taking more ads. I have no doubt that I am opening myself up for more criticism over this decision, but over time I will strive to prove those critics wrong.

Mike Shedlock / Mish

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