Tales from the Covid Bunker: Day 4

Above image from our epic adventure in Jamaica with GeophysX Jamaica! Read more about it HERE

VIDEO: today’s ‘End of the world soundtrack’ was selected by geologist Tim from Kangari Consulting, who has gone for Aerosmith’s I don’t want to miss a thing… Which he also selected for first dance at his wedding… No further questions.


Oh boy… Here we are again!

Housekeeping notes: With the cancellation of all of our overseas jobs for the foreseeable future…  I’m waving a tin can around in the proverbial mining streets this week. I’ve launched a Patreon service, where you can sponsor our newsletter and content from €3/month. All support will be greatly appreciated.

Chasing tickers today has been like trying to keep Steve Irwin still around crocodiles (which has admittedly been much easier since 2006). Alamos Gold actually put news out after re-acquiring a 3% net smelter return (NSR) royalty on production from the Island Gold mine in Ontario. With 15 minutes still to play on the European market, they’re 14% up at €4.13 with a €4.27 ask…  My biggest plug from the weekend (ANX, Anaconda Mining) broke a perfect even 0.00% with 600k volume. Riverside are down 30% to €0.06 with 130k traded… This is an exceptional (and upsetting) time to get in and claim shares of their upcoming spin-out project.

Double edged ‘Casualty of the day’ medal from our circle of friends goes to Fireweed Zinc, who put out all the great news, cut the cost of their project with government investment and stayed engaged with investors and still lost 30% with only 30k shares traded. Somebody out there was desperate to shift those! The second edge being… Only 30k shares sold so… People are holding tight to those babies.

All in all, trying to offer a sensible overview on junior mining stocks is becoming somewhat like commentating the Monaco Grand Prix. Which is funny, because I’ve just finished working on the first fully fledged conference Gridwalk with Andrew at Supercharged Stocks…!

There’s a 3-way split in company approaches this week:

1. PANIC AND HIDE: Many companies who had core assays, geophys and deals to release have simply slipped into the eery mists of obscurity. they have all crashed at least 20%, but nobody has really noticed them gently tumble out of sight and mind… (except Victoria Gold, who are both silent and up, and quickly becoming the exception to a lot of rules).

2. EMBRACE THIS AS A PR OPPORTUNITY: Advertise the safety of your staff and how they’ve been given extra time with their families in this challenging time (even though this was a government order and you’ll be docking their wages for it).

3. STORM ON: While many are in hiding, a friend of mine flew to her shift in Côte d’Ivoire yesterday, another chap told me he’d just decided to stay out in the field and eat emergency rashions, he felt safer there. They’ll have fresh data and results ready for any upturn and/or no halt in production as long as their staff are kept isolated at the mines and away from communities.

As a large part of my job is crafting words, I love working backwards on formal announcements to see who wrote them and guess what they really meant.

Lets look at Barrick’s response to the Covid outbreak from March 6th. The news release itself is 201 words long. The company’s legal disclaimer below the release was 650 words long. Did the writer really care about their message to scared employes, shareholders and stakeholders, or did they just feel they had to say something in face of panic and just about scraped together 201 reasonable words.

Compare those kind, but somewhat pointless, words to this statement from Norilsk (NorNickel) to Reuters:

“The Chinese government restrictions on mobility, extended work holidays and mandatory closures have imposed a significant disruption to the supply chain and already had a significant impact on end consumption – The extent of demand disruption makes it unlikely that the first-quarter losses can be fully recouped in the second and third quarters of 2020, as the supply is also yet to recover.”

Zero nonsense there. No flapping about wishing well and reassuring… It’s a mining business and that’s all they’ll discuss. Russians eh. They might be running one of the dirtiest mines on the plnet, but they’re doing it well!

How we present in times like these has a long term effect.

Barrick’s news voice (I do hope its not just me who hears different voices when they read depending on the tone and purpose of writing!?) will now forever be that of a fairy godmother, she will be soft and reassuring, but fall flat on technicals while Mark Bristow pokes her with a hot trident off-stage, encouraging her to go on and cast more spells.

Whereas Norilsk will still sound like Kimi Raikkonen, giving direct and relevant answers.

How we write and present impacts how we are judged long-term, every press release and every interview. Make sure you’re sending the right messages and… Feel free to reach out if you’d like to do this better.

Wishing you another pleasant bunker day,

Liam Hardy
Spotlight Mining