Oh No, Not Another Spotlight PDAC Ramble

We caught up with Brandon Macdonald (Fireweed Zinc) and Mininster for Mines in the Yukon, Ranj Pillai, to hear the biggest news from PDAC, straight from the horse’s mouths. An immense new government infrastructure investment for the people and projects in their region.

G’day mining buddies,

Today I’m writing to you from a joyfully empty Air Canada flight to nowhere! With Lufthansa grounding 150 planes, my connection from Frankfurt to Vienna has been cancelled and, at the time of take-off, nobody knew where or how I’d be getting any further than the airstrip in Oberfranken. There’s never a dull day in this line of work.


  • There’s a nasty cold going around apparently, I wish I had its advertising budget.
  • PDAC was a bit of alright, I’m told there was a lovely crowd and positive atmosphere, if only I’d managed to leave the media office and see some of it.
  • Sold: Appia & AMEX
  • Bought: Riverside, Exro and Nevada Exploration
  • 2020 Spotlight Mining tours now confirmed in: Mexico, Europe (Mining for Europe), Jamaica, Australia and Canada
  • Cheers for your time!


Here we go!

This is of course a PDAC-themed edition of my weekly spam-rant, but I’m going to open with some housekeeping notes, an apology and a correction, I hope you don’t mind.


Mining is – extracting substances from the ground that somebody else values and trading them for substances you value.
Mining is not – Your stock price, newsletter writers, $35k on a bar tab in downtown Toronto, videos or media.

Anybody here who isn’t actually removing metals from the ground and selling them for a profit is essentially a parasite on the margins of that eventual sale. Every single one of us in the service world has to prove our worth and deliver notable value along that chain, I am keenly aware that this includes me.

There is so much rubbish out there right now cold selling at booths, pushing stolen mailing lists, buying followers and fake video views online, scamming older CEOs about how much it costs to run a social media channel and, what social media can realistically deliver (Basic social media shouldn’t take more than c.15 minutes a day. Unless you’re Barrick, you shouldn’t be paying more than $1000/month for the relative engagement a basic channel can bring you, unless there’s content creation or business development work involved).

An apology:

Thousands of you who couldn’t attend PDAC watched Charlotte & Scott’s video summaries from INN this week. You may have been desperately searching for day 3’s piece, wondering who said what and to who as the show came to a close… Unfortunately, this video piece is on a hard drive on a 777 over Greenland and is only semi-edited for release. I thought I could manage the job offered by the lovely folks at INN, but I dropped the ball. I completely overbooked myself and couldn’t keep up with the position during the show to deliver on time.

It’s one of those moments where we test our strengths, hit a peak and find our limits, I now know I need to leave the technical & artistic work to our artistic & technical team, instead of trying to manage everything myself! Big sorry guys, the beers are on me next time we’re in town.

A correction:

Last week’s newsletter had a heavy bias towards various protests and against certain groups in our industry. I made a case for engaging protesters, trying to see their side and trying to communicate better. I implied, essentially, that we were responsible for these protests.

During PDAC, a group from Extinction Rebellion came on a jolly through the conference, waved some flags, shouted some casual abuse and then left claiming some kind of victory, after taking plenty of selfies with their banners of course.

Being a stubborn lad, I wanted to prove my point and test my theory about communication being the issue. I reached out to these protesters via Twitter and in person, I asked to interview them and invited them to join me on a podcast or on camera. While a few made small efforts to chat while we smoked together outside (aggghem actually, while they smoked my cigarettes…), most barely even knew why they were there.

A campaign about an indigenous group in Ecuador seemed to be one protesters purpose, another was against pipeline expansion, many just generally against all mining wherever, regardless. When I asked questions about their sources, their technical training, their knowledge of the industry, and which companies they’d reached out to for information, the group became exceptionally defensive. A few quoted sites such as ‘MineWatch,’ or things they’d seen on Twitter, but most said that I was ‘doubting the victims’ and that ‘I obviously didn’t know anything about mining’ and just quickly moved to insulting me personally.

At that point I took a breath, looked around the group, and realised that I am no longer a young revolutionary soul. I have grown up and, although I still consider myself to be very left-leaning politically, I am terrified of what we now seem to call ‘the left’ who were outside that conference. This generation’s protests are very different to those my mother, my grandparents, and I (now 30) have been on.

In 2013, when I marched with 6000 people in Brighton against the EDL, I knew why I was there, I had read countless stories about this group burning mosques and assaulting black people and I wanted that bloody well stopped. When my mother protested against the use of circus animals in the UK, she’d been to a circus and was appalled by what she’d observed. My grandparents did the 60s, peace, love and stop the war thing… That had a purpose!

When I took that breath and looked at these protesters outside PDAC, waving irrelevant anti-LPG and coal banners (of course, daubed onto nylon sheets and laminated boards), being wildly defensive and clustered together, I realised they hadn’t got a clue what they were doing. They were angry, they needed something to fight, some way to feel relevant and empowered in their lives, but they had landed fairly pointlessly at loggerheads with me (a sympathetic fellow lefty protestor) and they wouldn’t be engaged or communicate, even when I agreed with them. They just needed to fight something, someone… Literally, it could have been a prtest about the voice casting of Frozen 2 and they’d have found a reason to march that day.

They terrified me, because I don’t know how we can bring these people inside. They are stakeholders in mining and have just as much of a vote and right to engage as we do, but how can we sit down and chat and work through these clashes if so many on both sides are so stuck in their ways. If they won’t even chat to me, we’ll never get them sat down with Bristow.

Let me get back to you on that one.


I’m not sure I really really want to PDAC anymore. I managed to walk the floor for about an hour in four days and barely got to see anything I wanted to. Apparently, the government of Bhutan had a booth which would be fascinating to learn about, along with loads of new tech displays from deep mine imaging and modelling from surface to geeky geo tools and shiny mineral samples. I had a list of companies I wanted to compliment, criticise and query and managed to see so few of them that I’m not sure why I flew in. I seem to get more out of the smaller shows like MIF, 121 and MINEX, I just wish the geeky tech was there too.

I enjoyed Trudeau’s speech (yeah, sorry). Even though he was heckled and jeered and out of his depth, he made some very good points about needing to clean up for a cleaner Canada and work together. I felt a bit sorry for him, which is dangerous in politics. Whether you like him or not, he had the balls to stand up and speak in front of the hardline mining ‘old boys club’ and hardline ‘not sure why we’re here’ protestors to try to keep everybody positive. He did better than I could have at keeping the hot-room together.

Our friends at Riverside (TSX-v: RRI) had a solid show with a packed investor dinner followed by queues at the booth discussing their new spin-out (Capitan Mining) and their new expansion into Canada. Geos Freeman and Erika recorded some brilliant videos with us which we’ll fill your inboxes with soon.

Our recent work was displayed on 2 booths with GeophysX Jamaica and Mountain Boy Minerals and I also had 3 written articles in the PDAC edition of Prospector magazine. My musings on Appia, GeophysX and Osisko Metals can be downloaded HERE if you missed the printed copies. One must admit, twas grand to shake one’s tail feathers and see our creations in the open in the exhibition hall.

The biggest talking point on the dull small-talk-rosta: the Corona virus. Essentially a mediocre cold that has somehow managed to crash global stocks and inspire absolute panic. It has inspired the wonderful kind of fear needed for an American election campaign to focus on outside threats and paranoia rather than regional issues but, you’ll have to find me in a bar late at night for my extended crackpot tinfoil hat theories there. Look after those around you is all I’ll say. While most of us will just get a fever and sneezes… It has been fatal to those with immune issues. Just like the legend Clopp says, Take your advice from the WHO. I’m a grumpy writer, I’m not a medical professional, and neither is @randomprofile456 on twitter…
Get your news from real scientific sources, not loons on social networks.

Could/should corona have any impact on global metals and mining…? Only if we’re absolute morons. If we succumb to the panic and delusion fed to us, then yes, consumerism will have to kerb, metal demand will probably slow and we’ll have a little dip. Apparently, most people are absolute morons and yes, we’ve had a little dip.

‘Kill off your flowers’ was a favourite phrase of my secondary school English teacher. Companies showboating without any substance will hopefully be weeded out without speculative money floating around… Those with real metal in the ground and a respectable team should (theoretically) still soak up money from larger investors while they’re cheap and make it through, while making clever people very rich.

Uranium was alright for a bit… I sold my Appia +15% while drinking at a wonderful Uranium investment party! Knowing how unreliable U stocks are. I leapt at a positive margin and some cash! I still like Appia and their project, good results, good rocks and I’ll keep following them, I just prefer to hold cash than U/REE right now.

AMX still look good, but I’ve sold (+3%). Somebody had to fall off the wagon to pay for our raucous PDAC. I’ll be looking for another good point to re-enter.

And Finally… That’ll do, I’m getting a lot of dirty looks from those around me for having my laptop screen beaming into the cabin. Time to snap it closed and try to nap before being forcibly abandoned in Frankfurt.

Thanks y’all muchly for your continued tolerance of my words and presence, even though I complain a lot, I am truly humbled to have made so many great friends in this madhouse and I had a wonderful time sharing diseases in a sealed underground cavern with you this week at least #PDACORONA2020 makes a suitable blag for a few days off.

Cheers eh.

Spotlight Mining

Rock of the Day Video: Cain shows off some lovely silver sands from New Pacific Metal’s Bolivian prospects. We’ve written these guys up a few times and we’ll keep following their story. Well funded and well managed, with real mining potential.

A long chat with Paul Metcalfe, VPX at Auramex Resource Corp… Why drilling can be a huge waste of money and why many juniors neglect first principle geology in their programs.

Posted in Uncategorized

Liam Hardy View posts by Liam Hardy

With a family background in African mining exploration and a degree in geology, Liam brings a mix of technical ‘on-the-ground’ ore hunting and suit-booted office experience to the team. Liam worked in Liberia with Hummingbird Resources and spent 4 years as a geochemical analyst, before focusing on streamlining communications and development in exploration businesses, through the founding of ‘Spotlight Mining’.