Mines and Money Online Connect (EMEA) – Day two round-up

Day two of Mines and Money Online Connect EMEA delivered another jam-packed day of virtual networking, lively discussions and informative presentations from resources companies around the world. Following in the footsteps of day one, Wednesday’s sessions were broken down into morning, afternoon and early evening segments.

A bright future for Australian mining exploration?

The morning plenary session had a distinctly Australian flavour, with four ASX-listed resources companies providing investor updates to the Online Connect audience. These presentations were preceded by an illuminating conversation on the rosy prospects for Australian mining exploration.

The panel featured four Australia-focused geologists, including S2 Resources CEO Mark Bennett, John Forwood from Lowell Resources Funds Management, Oz Minerals head of exploration and growth Richard Holmes and Hedley Widdup from Lion Selection Group.

Widdup kicked off the discussion by referring to a ‘purple patch’ for Australian exploration during the last 18 months, with key discoveries occurring in Western Australia, South Australia and the Victorian gold fields.

“Having worked in four of the five continents worldwide, there is no place like Australia for exploration and developing discoveries into mines,” added renowned explorer Mark Bennett.

Free cash flow the big positive for gold stock investors, says Frank Holmes

In a fireside afternoon chat hosted by Kitco editor Neils Christenson, legendary investor Frank Holmes discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the mining investment landscape. Holmes observed an ‘avalanche of new millennial investors’ during the pandemic and more speculative investors buying gold stocks.

However, the biggest positive for gold stock investors has been the operative word ‘free cash flow’, according to Holmes. “After COVID-19, the S&P 500’s free cash flow went negative, but not gold – it went positive. Now you are seeing more interest in gold stocks,” he said.

“Barrick & Newmont have been very loud in saying they have free cash flow available this year [hence the ability to pay dividends to generalist investors] and I think we’ll go into a nice run for the next three to five years where gold stocks will outshine the S&P 500.”

5@5 returns on day two of Online Connect EMEA

Today’s edition of 5@5 focused specifically on the European mining sector, with the panel comprised of resources investors Huw Williams from European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Kate Southwell of Pala Investments and 91 Asset Management’s George Cheveley.

Joining the discussion were Paul Cronin and Alberto Lavandeira, CEOs of Europe-based firms Adriatic Metals and Atalaya Mining. Both spoke candidly about the time-consuming permitting process for mining projects in European jurisdictions.

“The permitting framework is very complicated in Europe, but it’s doable and the reality is there are lots of projects in production across the continent,” said Lavandeira. “You also have to be prepared for environmental and social groups to challenge projects in the courts.”

Despite long permitting times, Cronin highlighted the well educated and highly trained labour force available to miners in Europe, particularly in the Balkans. Adriatic has polymetallic projects in Serbia and Bosnia.

Check back to RGN tomorrow for coverage of Mines and Money Online Connect EMEA, day three.