Monday, June 08, 2009

Conference News - courtesy Global Rock Exchange

VANCOUVER- “Sombre” is a word favoured by many writers when describing the mood at mining conferences during downturns. The word nearly occurred here until, on reflection, the venue and day and season were taken into consideration; Vancouver, Sunday, summer. “Relaxed” seemed a more appropriate adjective.

So it was a relaxed mood that greeted this reporter yesterday, Sunday June 7 at the opening of 2009 World Resource Investment Conference held in the spectacular new Vancouver Convention Centre.

The usual suspects, exhibitors and visitors populated the aisles, though fewer in number. It crossed my mind that some of the gentlemen who strolled the aisles may simply have used the conference as an excuse to get out of mowing the lawn, clearing out the attic or perhaps washing the car.

The conference drew some 200 exhibitors. One exhibitor expressed his disappointment as he’d been given to understand that there’d be a strong renewable energy theme or presence at this conference. If this was indeed supposed to be weighted toward the renewable sector then it was well disguised. I did see two hybrid vehicles on display and a run of river exhibitor, but that was about it.

Anyone interested in learning the true purpose of this convention would have to have attended the two 30 minute panel discussions from 5:30PM to 6:30PM in the Speaker Hall where the subjects was titled sequentially “Gold, Silver & Currencies” and “The Recovery? Are we?” The panels, MC’d by Michael Border of Border Gold Corp., comprised David Morgan silver, Jon Nadler, KITCO, Roger Wiegand Trader Tracks, John Kaiser Bottom Fish Report, Paul van Eeden Investor Analyst and Letter Editor, Michael Berry Morning Notes, Rick Rule Global Resource Investments Ltd. and Greg McCoach The Mining Speculator.

The panels covered everything from the relationship between gold and the US dollar, gold and silver and importantly ‘how we got into this mess’ and is the route we have chosen to get out of this mess i.e. is the bailout, the smart thing to do. To a man, the panel concluded that Washington is on the wrong track. It was agreed that flogging the dead horse of debt with further debt would lead only to more dead horses (my words no the panel’s).

There was an interestingly vitriolic and surprising attack on our saviour of hope, Barack (“Barry” to his school mates, according to one panel member) Obama by the whole panel with van Eeeden describing the current bailout, TARP and other stimulus packages as outright insane and people who elected this administration as ‘stupid’. He found little resistance to that premise.

The other big issue was China. We were warned not to put all our eggs in China – nothing to do with avian flu of course. The big problem the panel had with the China syndrome is that the base and precious metals producers should be cautioned against putting their faith in economic information and growth data – particularly with respect to infrastructure – that is reported by the Chinese regime. The reason for this cautious approach is that being China, it is feared that the information is over-controlled and doubtless manipulated to suit Chinese goals rather than those of the supplier nations. Interesting, I thought. Only a few weeks ago I watched a documentary on the life and times of Chairman Mao. In part, the documentary reminded the viewer of how Mao fudged the agricultural output numbers for the great republic in 1950s. Could it be that ‘little has changed”.

We spotted at least two Global Rock Exchange members in the sparse crowd. George Read of Shoregold delivered an excellent presentation on developments at Shoregold’s diamond project in Saskatchewan. Brett Whitelaw was also spotted multi-tasking between booths.

Those who chose to stay for the dinner enjoyed Wild Mushroom Crostini, Pepper Crusted New York Steak and a Strawberry Romanoff Puff with Dark Chocolate Sauce. The restaurant overlooks the North Shore Mountains with Coal Harbour marina in the foreground. Not bad.

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