The yellow-eyed horde that overruns the Vancouver Convention Centre next month will look like 9,000 shiny Gollums escaped from The Hobbit, all chanting “precious metal” in unison.
It’s going to resemble an epidemic of 24-karat zealots, a gang of metallic cheerleaders, an orgy of apocalyptic paranoia. Most of all, it’s going to look like a swarm of golden insects finally come home. Because that’s what these people are – gold bugs.
And Vancouver is the gold-bug capital of the world. Next month, 8,000 to 9,000 gold bugs will storm the Vancouver Convention Centre for two days of what is billed as the world’s largest investment conference dedicated to resource exploration.
These gilded zealots are unfazed by gold’s tumbling price this year. For a gold bug, lower prices simply mean you can buy gold and gold stocks more cheaply, and wait for them to resume their inevitable climb.
From simple gold-buying hobbyists to dogmatics who despise Richard Nixon for taking the U.S. off the gold standard in 1971, the conference will be glittering heaven.
Also on hand will be the extremist buggies represented by the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee, the folks who believe the world’s governments and central banks are conspiring to suppress the price of gold.
“The range of people who might be called gold bugs is wide,” says Matthew Hart, author of a new book called Gold: The Race For The World’s Most Seductive Metal. “There are many such people in Vancouver.”
Jay Martin, the Cambridge House International boss who is organizing the conference, says the show’s analysts, investment celebrities and guest miners will discuss a host of minerals. But gold is the perennial kingpin, accounting for about a third of the 300-odd exhibitors and much of the focus of individual attendees, Martin says.
“Vancouver is the hub for gold exploration globally,” says Martin, 29. “We’re the drivers for finding new deposits, we’re the first to explore for gold on the ground and we’re usually the first people producing it.
“Sixty per cent of mineral exploration globally is conducted by Canadian companies and two-thirds of those companies are headquartered right here in Vancouver.”
The gold bugs who flock to Cambridge’s Vancouver conference on Jan. 19-20 are crucial to Vancouver’s precious-metals hunters because their investments help to fund their exploration.
But it’s a tough time for gold bugs to keep the faith. The world’s 13-year-old gold binge fizzled this year, with the precious metal’s price tumbling to its current $1,220 range from a peak of $1,920 in September 2011.
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