Red-Hot Resources

"Luck is not chance, it’s toil; fortune’s expensive smile is earned.”

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I'm back from Vancouver

I got on a plane in Vancouver at 10 am local time yesterday. After a stopover and plane switch in Chicago, I stepped off the plane in West Palm Beach at 10:50 pm local (my luggage seemed to have been sent on a later plane -- it didn't show up for another 25 minutes, LOL).

I shelled out an extra $92.50 for the "extra-leg-room economy" section, and it was worth it on the first leg of the trip. On the second leg, someone near me was cutting more cheese than the state of Wisconsin. I started to wonder how much extra for the "non-farting" section of the airplane.

Still, I arrived home safely, and that's what matters. Now, I am toast -- absolute toast. My brain is so fried I actually tried to pour my coffee on a dinner plate this morning.

Martin edited my new uranium report, and that seemed okay (he's an excellent editor). Since it was finished in a feverish flurry of writing -- I pushed the "send" button on my email to send him the story 5 minutes before dashing out of my hotel room to grab a cab to the airport. Then Martin is calling me with editing questions while I'm in the cab and I'm trying to find my notes -- argh! I ended up at the airport with a massive headache, still regretting not polishing this or that in the report. Time is truly the most precious commodity.

My MoneyandMarkets column today is a more polished version of some notes I've put here on the blog this week, as well as my notes from Frank Holmes' presentation on what he calls "Chindia" -- the twin economic engines of China and India, and how they're driving the global commodity supercycle.

But my editors (not Martin) left one story out that I wanted to put somewhere: The story of St. Pirran, the patron saint of miners...

The big buzz for 2007 is mergers and acquisitions, for a couple of reasons. First, there simply aren’t enough people with the technical knowledge necessary to staff all these companies and projects.

The second is the bigger the fish get, the more investor money they attract, as well as a potential buyout by one of the major uranium players. I heard the names SXR Uranium One and Rio Tinto invoked hopefully, like patron saints, more than once. In case you’re wondering, the patron saint of miners is St. Piran. He has something in common with some miners in that his is a great story, if not entirely true.

What’s Piran’s story? Pirates tied a millstone around his neck, and threw him off a cliff into the sea during a storm, but the sea calmed and the millstone bobbed to the surface like a cork. Piran landed in Cornwall, built a small chapel on the beach, and his first converts were a badger, a fox, and a bear. He lived there for years, working miracles for the locals, AND he discovered tin in Cornwall (hence the mining connection).

Great story, eh? I heard wilder ones in Vancouver! The trick in small- and micro-cap resource stocks is to separate the winners from the tall-tale tellers. As Mark Twain famously said: “A gold mine is a hole in the ground with a liar on top.”

Read the rest of my column, including Frank Holmes' insights, by CLICKING HERE.

Check out my new gold and energy blog at