Mines and Money Online Connect March round-up

Mines and Money continues to fill the void left by COVID-19 in the physical mining conferencing calendar with its Online Connect series, which aims to connect mining companies with the investment community on a digital platform, while providing cutting-edge content featuring some of the brightest minds in the sector. The three-day March event has just concluded, and RGN brings you a comprehensive round-up of highlights from the show.

Fireside chats:

The pick of the ‘fireside chat’ sessions was an in-depth interview between the World Gold Council’s chief market strategist John Reade and the CEO of the world’s largest royalty company, Franco Nevada’s Paul Brink.

On the ‘baptism of fire’ that was taking the reigns at Franco Nevada during the COVID-19 crisis last year, Brink talked about the importance of being flexible to changing market circumstances. “The key is to adapt the business as the environment changes and the environment is certainly changing,” he told Reade.

The chief executive of the royalty company also described the deal it struck with Ecuador-focused copper-gold explorer Solgold last year. “They needed to raise $100 million. We bought a 1% royalty on one of their properties in Ecuador. They would’ve seriously diluted their shareholders with an equity raise, so it was an easy decision for them” he said.

Keynote panels:

Of the many high quality keynote panel discussions that took place over the three days, the session on COVID-19’s impact on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) stood out for several reasons, not least because of the optimistic chords struck by all of the participants, including the host Graham Dallas from the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Dallas noted that mining M&A deals were down a third in 2020. “But I think that’s an outstanding result given the impact of the virus and the fact that 2019 was a big year for M&A with the Barrick-Randgold and Newmont-Goldcorp deals,” he highlighted.

Reiterating this optimism but looking ahead in 2021 was Mike Barton, portfolio manager from Orion Resource Partners. He said: “Most mining companies have a renewed sense of what’s out there having spent a year looking at assets in different data rooms. The amount of calls we’ve had from business development teams asking us to look at various assets in our portfolio has been like nothing before.”

Mining Pitch Battles:

In the weeks leading up to the Online Connect event, Mines and Money held a series of qualification rounds ahead of the illustrious Mining Pitch Battle final. The popular competition for junior miners sees executives battle it out to impress the judges and secure a hypothetical investment sum.

Four companies qualified for the final, including Latin America-focused Atico Mining, Canadian explorer Maple Gold Mines, Mongolia-based Steppe Gold and TSXV-listed Cassiar Gold. After each company representative took turns to deliver four strong corporate presentations, the judges chose a clear winner in Cassiar Gold, after CEO Marco Roque wowed them with a pitch on the company’s Cassiar Gold Project in British Colombia.

The company will be conducting a 15,000 metres drilling programme at the high-grade brownfields asset, starting in Q2. “We will be focusing on the high grade sections, which gives us a strong chance of growing the tonnage,” he proclaimed.