It was tough kid. We were just coming out of the most perfect spring. The fruit trees were all in blossom, streams filled with fish, deer abounded, and we were all feeling pretty right with the world—we owned it and were the chosen ones.
Then we headed out across the flats, believing the prophets that the next paradise, just over the horizon, was even better. But the horizon never came, the land turned to salt flats and dust; the temperature reached 110°, day after day after day. We burned and suffered. The roving bandits knew we were doomed and had no interest in what little we had left. Each promising oasis was a mirage and one by one we lost our way, numbed and staggering in all directions. We lost nearly everyone on that journey which began so optimistically—and naively.
It was brutal and devastating kid; I hope to never go through that again. But some of us did survive to carry on, and I’m here to tell you about it.
Yeah, right, I’ve heard that, but like, what about the 1997 to 2002 mining bust?
Well, that wasn’t really much different kid. We had come off of a truly remarkable mineral discovery boom from 1992 to 1997. The diamond discoveries in the Northwest Territory were fabulous: Diamet went from $0.21 to $55. Aber Diamonds (now Dominion) had a 40% interest in the Diavik discovery and went from $0.50 to $50. In Labrador, another company looking for diamonds, Diamond Fields, stumbled across a nickel showing (Voisey’s Bay) that was eventually acquired by Inco for $164/per share. It had been a $5 stock.
You see the world had suddenly been opened to modern exploration and all we had to do was Go There: we could do no wrong. Huge area plays developed around these discoveries, and the juniors with land on trend or close by doubled and tripled in a matter of months– regardless of the geology or prospectivity.
Corriente Gold traded up to $18 on a project in Peru that it never had to drill. Arequipa Resources, a copper explorer, put a bunch of holes and a tunnel into the Pierina gold prospect in Peru and went from $0.60 to a buyout price of $30 in nine months. Francisco Gold’s El Sauzal discovery in Mexico took the share price to $40. Queenstake went from $0.07 to $4.50, based on its Kilometer 88 projects in Venezuela.
What, you never heard of these companies? It figures.
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