Finalists gather in the race for graphite production – by Christopher Ecclestone ( – October 11, 2017)

The “Big Beasts” of the Canadian mining scene are neither as evident nor as prominent as they used to be. Some have reconfigured their activities for the new reality of markets since 2011. One of the “Big Beasts” that temporarily disappeared from the scene and has now resurfaced is Sheldon Inwentash.

He is famed for his management of Pinetree Capital which, at its peak, commanded a market cap of over $1 billion and held a rather daunting 400 plus names in its portfolio. Pinetree Capital can be said to be the proto-mining hedge fund in the Canadian space and it revolutionized the resource investment model.

Pinetree veterans are spread across Toronto, churning out deals, raising hundreds of millions of dollars, and managing funds and mining companies themselves. In its heyday Pinetree was famous for having seeded companies such as Queenston Mining (acquired by Osisko Mining Corp. for $550mn), Aurelian Resources (acquired by Kinross for $1.2bn), and Gold Eagle Mines (acquired by Goldcorp for $1.5bn).

Inwentash “retired” from Pinetree in 2015 after 23 years at the helm, but began incubating another company almost immediately after, waiting for the markets to stabilize and emerge from the bear market. One of the targets for his interest has been CKR Carbon, with its focus on graphite in Namibia.

Thus far in the process of broadening the supply of graphite (and reducing China dependency) Africa has been seen as a major new frontier with Madagascar (NextSource and some historical small producers), Guinea (with SRG, the former Sama Graphite), Mozambique (with Syrah and Triton, some other ASX players in the now blighted Tanzanian sphere and CKR Carbon with its past producer in Namibia.

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