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North American mining money gone to pot? No, says Albanese

Veteran mining executive Tom Albanese says he spent some time recently with Toronto mining analysts on a copper-gold mine tour in Nevada and there was a lot of talk about their new ‘sideline’ – cannabis.
North American mining money gone to pot? No, says Albanese North American mining money gone to pot? No, says Albanese North American mining money gone to pot? No, says Albanese North American mining money gone to pot? No, says Albanese North American mining money gone to pot? No, says Albanese

Former Rio Tinto and Vedanta boss Albanese keeps a close ear to the ground still

Staff reporter

Not as nefarious as it sounded, the former CEO of Rio Tinto and Vedanta quickly added. Albanese, who chaired and presented at the recent Mining Journal Select 2018 conference in London, was discussing the flatness in the past 12 months of Canada's normally exuberant mining capital markets having been asked if the recent fixation of North American investors with medical marijuana and cyptocurrencies had helped sideline mining stocks.

"I don't see it as gold money going into cannabis, or gold money going into cryptocurrencies," said Albanese, a director of Nevada Copper Corp (TSX: NCU), which is developing the Pumpkin Hollow copper-gold mine near Yerington, Nevada.

"My sense is the overall Canadian financial market has been over-exposed to resources and, for a variety of reasons, [portfolio, fund and finance managers have moved to] balance that down … and grow other parts of the portfolio.

"It's just a case of, let's lighten up the load here and get a little more balance in the portfolio."

Albanese said it was different in the US, where investors generally had been "under-invested in resources [and were] now tending to be more positive about the outlook for commodities".

"It's really interesting because when I talk to gold analysts in the Toronto finance community I'm finding out they're picking up cannabis as their sideline."It's actually a flat Canadian [resources equity] market, not a flat US market, because I actually see more interest in the US now than I'm seeing in Canada.

"I'm not saying they're picking up cannabis, I'm saying picking it up as their sideline of coverage.

"We brought some sell-side [analysts] over to Yerington - a bunch of these analysts covering cannabis on the side … going into Nevada, which has legalised it all [medical marijuana] - and I've got to listen to all this talk of [cannabis] and technology and it's pretty … I was going to say mind blowing but that's probably the wrong term."

Fairly instructive, though. In his closing remarks at MJ Select, Albanese also commented on:

  • Retirement: "My wife doesn't believe me."
  • Hot commodities: "Gold, copper and cobalt."
  • Nevada and the US: "The risks are so diminished compared to some of the other places I've worked in over my career, that it's almost like a resource nationalism holiday."
  • Standout companies/projects covered at MJ Select London: "Metals X/Nifty; Trilogy Metals/Arctic-Bornite; Fortune Minerals/NICO; Central Asia Metals/Kounrad."
  • Standout leaders in mining: "I'm not a sporting fan but when I hear anyone talk about great sporting teams they usually don't talk about individual players, they talk about the team and its collective capabilities, but more importantly is that team working together [and] are they cohesive."
  • Where are we in the cycle? "I think we're seeing that volatile set of cycles … still within a secular [upward] trend."
  • Outlook: "I think we are all going to be navigating within more turbulent waters."
  • Trump: "It is clear that the [US] government policy towards the mining sector is the best we've seen in 40 or 50 years."