Top 9 Prospect Generators during the Past Two Years

Prospect Generators increase their chances of a resource discovery by simultaneously advancing multiple projects using funds from joint-venture partners. These companies offer the benefits of reduced risk, greater discovery opportunities, and less shareholder dilution, among other factors, compared with other types of resource explorers.

The following companies have been selected from a list from and may not include all such publicly-traded firms employing this business model today. All two-year cumulative returns were calculated based on the February 24, 2015 closing prices.


Border Gold: A Deal to Make a Deal

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A Deal to Make a Deal

Greece can declare a small victory. As Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras stated Friday evening, “a battle has been won, but not the war.” Since their new government was elected with a mandate to better the terms of their bailout, they have now successfully dealt themselves more time to negotiate with other member European countries and the IMF. Whether negotiations will be successful four months from now and they will actually be able to deliver on their mandate against austerity is still to be determined. The headline “Greece Reaches Deal with EU,” which sent financial markets joyously higher was not based on a solution, but instead a deal to make a deal four months from now as we revert back to the oft to used expression of kicking the can down the road.

Credit can be given to Greece because they have managed to single handily isolate Germany as the ‘bully’ of Europe. Since this government was elected a little less than a month ago, their first condition for negotiations was to deal with European nations individually. Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis startled financial markets with the statement, “we will no longer negotiate with the Troika,” referring to the 3 member group of creditor institutions: the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Commission. Instead, he chose to threaten their stability and expose their fragility, which ironically depicts the problems of the euro currency. The members are not united as they differ dramatically in terms of culture and politics, which questions why they also back a common currency.

This calculated move by Greece is what’s bought them more time to potentially break and renegotiate the terms of their original bailout. Single handily isolating Germany and gaining support from Italy, the third largest EU nation means that some of the institutions that originally dealt Greece their bailout terms are now fractured. Very simply, Germany now faces the challenge of keeping other influential voices like France and Italy united with their own. And that predicament seems to suggest Germany may be losing its hold on power in these negotiations, as was suggested earlier this month.

There are three possible outcomes for Greece’s negotiations with the other EU nations. The first is they simply leave the Euro. The implications of this are far reaching and a treacherous story from bank runs to a Greek government that is unable to raise revenues from credit markets. Second, Germany maintains a united voice through Europe and Greece’s new Syriza government is forced like past governments to accept the hand they were dealt. The third option, which became more likely on Friday, is Greece does manage some victories to ease the bailout terms and move away from austerity budgets.

This question is what will eased bailout terms actually achieve for Greece?

Some economists have actually argued that austerity in itself has been a myth for Greece. Because of the way bailout terms have been negotiated with low interest rates for a long enough time period, debt burdened Greece actually spends less than both Italy and Ireland on debt service payments (interest paid on their debt) every year. As well, because so little of their budget goes to servicing their debt this brings into question, how much austerity is actually being imposed or indeed avoided from the bailout?

Through the recent quantitative easing announcement, the ECB has created some stability for the euro market for the time being. This allows investors to focus on geopolitics instead of the economic stagnation of the Eurozone witnessed through the second half of 2014. As the Germans are and will remain the largest creditor, they will always remain at the table for debt talks. But the question should be asked, without a united institution representing the lenders, what’s their tipping point for keeping Greece in the euro?

The pending answer to that puzzle will keep markets volatile end edgy for some time.

Geologist Brent Cook Bought These 3 Junior Gold Stocks Recently

Veteran geologist Brent Cook, editor of the Exploration Insights newsletter, describes why he’s feeling optimistic about the mining industry in 2015, especially gold and zinc. He also mentions the types of mineral deposits he likes as well as three Canadian gold juniors that he bought recently, all of which have solid management, decent deposits, and are located in safe jurisdictions.


Jay Taylor Calls This Possibly “One of the Most Fantastic Gold Discoveries in a Long Time”

Jay Taylor, editor of J Taylor’s Gold, Energy & Tech Stocks (, explained at the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference why he believes this is the greatest gold bull market of his lifetime, which he thinks will end in a multi-thousand dollar gold price. He also mentions a resource junior led by a highly-regarded geologist with a promising discovery, which Mr. Taylor says is his “largest personal holding.”


It’s Not About Being Famous: Gold Mining Started out of Desperation – Greg Remsburg


Greg Remsburg was an out-of-work carpenter in 2009 when he decided to sell off everything he owned and head to Alaska to look for gold. He’s now a TV star on Discovery Channel’s hit show Gold Rush and will be heading up to the Yukon this year for another season of gold mining.

In this video Remsburg tells Vanessa Collette why he decided to make the desperate move of heading north to look for gold, what the hardest parts of the job are, what make him successful, and what advice he would give to people considering doing the same thing.



Sprott’s Rick Rule Says, “Junior Resource Investors Keep Making the Same Mistakes”

Sprott Global Resource Investments Chairman Rick Rule provides his thoughts on the current state of the junior resource market at the recent Vancouver Resource Investment Conference and why most speculators/investors keep losing money. He also explains why he thinks gold doesn’t need to win the war with the U.S. dollar and believes investors will look back to 2015 as being “the good old days.”


David Baazov of Amaya Inc. opens up about the company


David Baazov, CEO and President of Amaya, spearheaded the company’s $4.9 billion takeover of the Rational Group, a company that owns the world’s largest online gambling sites and happened to be 10 times the size of Amaya.

Baazov sits down with Vanessa Colette to share his greatest lessons in business, what the future holds for regulations of technology and online gambling, and how he managed to pull off one of the boldest business deals in recent history.

Baazov also talks about the securities investigation into the deal, and his plans to transform the world’s largest online gambling company into a consumer driven technology company.


Canadian Gold Junior Takeover Targets: One of These Companies Could Be Next

Could 2015 be a comeback year for gold stocks? The precious metal’s price is up more than 9% year to date (recently breaking US$1300) and oil costs are way down from a year ago, all of which should equate to more cash and higher stock prices for gold miners looking to add ounces via an acquisition or two. The following companies have greater appeal now that Probe Mines is off the market:



Putin Is Going To Do What Is In The Best Interest of Russia – Marin Katusa

Marin Katusa
is the chief energy investment strategist at Casey Research and author of the best-selling book The Colder War.

In this video Katusa talks to Vanessa Collette about what he expected, and didn’t expect, about the collapse in oil prices and what it means for the global economy.

He also expands on how the latest oil price moves are just part of the long-term global fight for resources that he outlined in his book; how China and Russia are colluding on many levels to counter the west; and how Saudi Arabia could potentially be the black swan of this price drop.

Katusa rounds things out with some specific investment advice for volatile times.


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Border Gold Corp: A Long Bridge to Where?

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A Long Bridge to Where?

“The best the ECB can do is to buy time in the hope that other policy-making entities with better instruments will step in, both at the national and regional levels”

-Mohammed El-Erian, Former CEO of PIMCO

 There was certainly no shortage of action in the markets this week. Following a week when the Swiss France made a 30 per cent move in a matter of seconds, it would have been hard to believe we could match the week prior in terms of volatility and excitement. We are currently witnessing an undeniable shift in monetary policy. Six years since a financial crisis, and just recently the consensus was for an improving economy and a rising rate environment, but instead we are now seeing round two of central bank stimulus with a number of G20 central banks participating.

The surprise for the markets this week was provided by the European Central Bank. Somehow the ECB was able to deliver investors an open ended stimulus program that exceeded expectations. The oft-quoted Mario Draghi line from the summer of 2012 pledging to do whatever it takes to preserve the Euro finally came to fruition. The ECB President, Mr. Draghi and his team of central bankers delivered a US Fed style open ended stimulus aimed to buoy risk assets and support the sovereign debt markets of member nations. The question is, will it work?

The shortfall with Quantitative Easing in the United States was very simply the fact that there were no complimentary fiscal policies. Too many analysts and commentators concentrate on the actions of central bankers and whether or not there policies are justified. This is the wrong question to be asking.

A prime example of this was the Swiss National Bank’s decision last week to abandon the peg. Their balance sheet had grown so exponentially, and would have been under even more pressure to support the Franc given the action seen in the Euro this week. Abandonment was more an inevitability than a decision. And in the United States, 2008 and 2009 saw credit markets freeze and a slow response in terms of fiscal policies. The Fed bought time for the economy by keeping rates near zero, keeping downward pressure on long term debt markets, and an imperfect response, but created a wealth effect in the equity markets to hope for increased consumption and spending in the economy.

Similarly, the Europe Union will see similar outcomes, but faces similar challenges. Moreover, the situation there is posed as even more challenging given already politically unpopular and unfavourable policies and social unrest. One common example of this, and has been evident through the Euro Crisis is small businesses through Europe cannot get affordable credit and loans because the financial institutions don’t want the risk. The transmission of the process undertaken by the ECB to the financial institutions to the lenders is broken, and that’s just one task to fix.

Mohammed El-Erian’s quote above addresses the shortfall in the ECB’s policies. Many have referred to these coordinated actions by central banks as building a bridge to nowhere. I don’t like to be that pessimistic. But the point is that monetary policy will not be a sufficient solution to spurring economic activity should they not be accompanied by policies from fiscal and regional levels of government. Time will tell if my views will have to shift.

Border Gold Corp: Cutting Their Losses, Early

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Cutting Their Losses, Early

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) shocked currency markets Thursday of this week with a policy decision that crippled the Euro-Franc cross. Their announcement sent the franc soaring 30 per cent against the euro before settling lower, (still 16 per cent stronger) into the end of the week. This was as the SNB abandoned their 1.20 franc peg they’ve been defending since September of 2011, coincidently when the gold market peaked at over 1,900 USD per ounce.  The decision by the SNB has far reaching implications for not only financial markets, but also for when policy becomes exhausted and policy makers themselves are rendered helpless.

The move in the Swiss franc really demands the attention of investors as it is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, single day move from a liquid western economy’s currency in modern time. Beyond the questions of the stability of financial markets and the overleveraged and crowded trades that amounted to millions of dollars in losses for investors, there are the direct losses to Swiss businesses and the Swiss economy as their exporters are heavily linked to and trade with a European market. As well, the price adjustment in the franc reminded all investors of a bid for haven assets as even gold ended the week 4.5 per cent higher.

The SNB’s decision to abandon the peg to the euro ultimately came down to necessity. The commonly watched EURUSD is down over 15 per cent over the last year, and pressure on the euro continues for multiple reasons. The first is simply the threat of deflation to the Eurozone. Stagnant growth and the trap of weak business investment and broken fiscal and monetary policy have the region looking hapless. Then if we include the probability of the European Central Bank embarking on an episode of quantitative easing and factor the likelihood of a Greek exit from the currency union, there are many downward pressures on the euro.

The Swiss franc faces the same appreciation pressures as almost all other currencies that trade directly against the euro. In order to defend their peg they’ve been maintaining for over the last three years, they had to expand their balance sheet (print francs) and buy euro denominated assets. The balance sheet of the SNB relative to the GDP of the Swiss Economy has expanded so drastically they are now the largest of any western central bank at around 80 per cent. By comparison, when the US Federal Reserve saw balance expansion to 4 trillion USD during the process of Quantitative Easing, their balance sheet to GDP ratio was around 26 per cent.

The threat for the SNB was that the size of their assets on their balance sheet would soon dwarf their economy, and their large proportion of assets denominated in euros would too heavily impact their economy from fluctuations and volatility in the euro exchange rate. As is the case with most exchange rates pegs, the market forces will eventually takeover and the outcome that the policy makers had been trying to avoid (like an overly strong franc) becomes reality.

As we see central banks like the ECB and Bank of Japan make moves that increase their influence on financial markets via balance sheet expansion, questions center on the idea of stability. Furthermore, was the market action Thursday a “one-off’, or are we amidst an environment that is setting itself up for snap price adjustments that leave investors too slow and unable to react?

Top Canadian Tech Stock Picks From the Cantech 2015 Conference

One of the highlights from the January 15 Cantech 2015 Investment Conference in Toronto was the panel of investment analysts who revealed their top stock picks for 2015. Presenting their selections was Massimo Voci of Haywood Securities, Pardeep Sangha of PI Financial Corp., Daniel Kim of Paradigm Capital, and Robert Young of Canaccord Genuity.


Border Gold Corp.: A Longer Term View

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A Longer Term View

Following a year where US equity markets found the ability to overcome a Russian invasion of Ukraine, a tremendous decline in oil and commodity prices, and policy uncertainty in the major economies of the European Union and Japan, investors have to question whether the same resilience can hold through 2015. Renowned bond fund manager Bill Gross asked a similar question this week in his monthly investment outlook, taking a look at the year ahead and then suggesting we are now at an inflection point where the western world’s troubles of slowing economic growth can no longer be solved with debt creation and money printing. Consequently, 2015 will be a year for losses in most asset classes as capital looks for a new harbour that can produce positive returns.

The first full trading week of 2015 certainly complemented this story quite well. Violent selloffs in North American equity markets recorded the worst start for North American stocks since 2008.  But it begs the question whether markets are destined for a year of negative returns as Mr. Gross suggests, or can they overcome the crippling factors of deflation in Europe and a weakening emerging market picture along with declining commodity prices.

It’s difficult to imagine in such an interconnected global economy how the US is able to decouple itself, and avoid the perils of economic headwinds originating from outside North America. It is a much different scenario than a few years ago when North American markets were much more vulnerable to fragility of the European economies and the systematic risk of a sovereign debt crisis. Turmoil in peripheral European countries seemed to reap much more havoc than the effect we’ve seen recently. Perhaps that was because of the interconnectedness of the debt crisis. Whereas today, Greek snap election called for later in January do not raise as much fear because bailout loans to the IMF are close to being paid back and Greece’s problems too many extents have been contained to Greece.

But as the European deflation fears once again present themselves (as was reported midweek for the first time in 5 years), the idea of a system wide issue now comes forward again. Mario Draghi and European Central Banks ultimate challenge will be preventing a deflation scenario in Europe, and time does seem of the essence. There has been no change to the fact that unemployment rates remain elevated across the peripheral Eurozone and particularly for the younger demographics. Investment suffers not only from the prospects of subpar returns, but also from the perspective of currency risk as the euro lost approximately 13 per cent in 2014. The paramount example is that German 10 year bunds are yielding less than half a per cent as the trend continues lower. Growth prospects continue to diminish.

Whether or not the North American markets perform in the short term will be determined by investors comfort with their volatility. At this point, six years into a bull market, it’s about the longer term view. Above all else, the number one consensus call a year ago as 2014 began was that interest rates in the US were going to begin to creep higher. And perhaps to the surprise of many, longer term bonds were one of the best performing asset classes of the last year. The consensus was wrong. Interest rates were supposed to move higher because of improving prospects for long term economic growth. Instead, they moved in the other direction.

With all the caution and some pessimism from respected analysts such as the aforementioned Mr. Gross, gold is catching a bid and is moving somewhat in tandem with a stronger US dollar.  This could very well be that the US dollar is in for a rest and a bit of a pullback from recent levels which would add to gold’s punch.  The biggest worry going into the second half of 2015 could very be the rekindling of the sovereign debt crisis and this time it will be much more difficult to paper over.


Frank Holmes’ Surprising Stock Pick


Frank Holmes, CEO and Chief Investment Officer at U.S. Global Investors, talks about the gold and oil price and provides some insight into whether the commodities “Super-Cycle” has come to an end. He also mentions a surprising stock pick that involves diamonds as well as a “no-drama” fund where he parks his cash.


Border Gold Corp: Divergence Part II

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Divergence Part II

The focus of financial markets has certainly stuck with the fallout in the price of crude oil, and rightly so as its impacts will be far reaching from global economic growth projections to domestic monetary policy. One thing that’s seems to be lost, however, is not the over excitement of lower energy prices putting approximately $75 billion back in US consumers wallets and a similar story around the globe. Instead, what’s missing is the lack of focus going to a diminishing global growth picture out of emerging markets and a continuing weakening demand for crude oil and energy. The story with oil and lower prices warrants as much concern over weakening demand as it does over a supply glut, and the price action to end the week in all markets illustrates that.

This week for the markets was a classic risk off environment with equities and commodities ending the week lower and bonds and the US dollar moving in a positive direction. Unfortunately, as optimistic as most have been over the positive benefits of lower energy prices, the financial markets are tied too closely with the pressure of falling oil prices. Concerns particularly over the balance sheets of a number of oil producers, and in particular their debt loads, have sparked fear over the stability of the resource sector, and leave investors puzzled. In a week that already saw oil prices fall 12 per cent, at what point will this market find stability?

The other factor to key in on was a report released at the end of the week from the Paris based International Energy Agency that said demand growth for crude oil next year would be less than a million barrels a day. This is driven by weaker outlooks for countries like Russia, China, and Brazil, and the prospects of a strong dollar stunting other emerging markets. The strong dollar impact on emerging markets has the potential to be somewhat far reaching.

A number of the emerging economies of the world benefitted tremendously during the aftermath of the financial crises as the US Federal Reserve’s weak dollar policies caused exchange rate appreciation in their markets, which not only made them attractive for capital investment, but also lower their import costs. Essentially, in today’s market we are seeing the opposite. A strong dollar is increasing the burden of their US denominated foreign debts and increasing the cost of the raw materials they purchase to fuel the growth of their economy. Emerging economies do not see the same benefits of lower energy prices that those of advanced Western economies might.

Looking to next week (FOMC meeting Tuesday-Wednesday) and beyond, investors will be looking for an answer as to what impact this has on fed policy. Expectations vary from March until about September for when the Federal Reserve will begin to raise their key policy rate. If they drop the “considerable time” phrase from their statement when referring to the duration of a 0 to 25 basis point fed funds rate is something that could support a move sooner rather than later.

Last week I wrote on the topic of divergence between North America’s economies and the rest of the world, and its impact on financial markets. It’s a topic that was further explored by many economists and commentators this week. The question is whether this sharp drop in oil prices keeps the fed at bay because lower energy and producer prices keep downward pressure on inflation, and the global economy poses too much of a risk, or does it accelerate the likelihood of this divide?