The Dr. Doom of mining has spoken, and as expected, the news isn’t good.
Mining analyst John Kaiser, publisher of kaiserbottomfish.com and a frequent commentator at mining investment conferences, told the Prospectors and Developers Association Conference in Toronto that a turnaround in the slumping mining sector isn’t expected until 2017.
“We are now in the worst bear market in decades,” Kaiser told the audience assembled at PDAC.
The mining investment guru holds the least hope for junior miners. These small companies are dependent on buyouts from larger mining firms for growing their stock prices, but according to Kaiser, the buyers are disappearing. As explained by The Toronto Star, which covered the event:
That’s because a $140 billion junior buyout “binge” in recent years has left the seniors with ample development inventory, and the big financial institutions need higher metal prices to care about advanced resource juniors “and have little interest in earlier stage exploration juniors,” Kaiser said.
In the absence of a big discovery such as the Voisey’s Bay nickel find in Newfoundland or the Ekati diamond deposit in the Northwest Territories, the small-cap mining firms that are struggling to survive will need to rely more on retail or individual investors to weather the storm – and lots more of them, he said.
Kaiser has of course been down this road before, arguing in several past conferences that the Canadian venture exchange which hosts most junior companies is broken due to overregulation and that big banks have consolidated the brokerage business, to the detriment of the small-cap explorers.
CEO.ca recently ran a video interview of Kaiser, in which he states that the way to bolster the sector is to abolish Accredited Investor Exemption rules that restrict non-high-net-worth individuals from participating in private placements, the main source of junior mining financing.
Crowdfunding has also been suggested as a way to increase investor participation in the moribund junior space.