Well, so far in 2016 at least. Canadian M&A points to health, too...
ERIC LEMIEUX is a consulting technical advisor to Peartree Securities Inc. of Toronto.
Holding master's degrees in mineral economics and in metamorphic-structural geology, and previously a mining analyst with Laurentian Bank Securities, he has worked at the Montreal Exchange, and also managed exploration projects for Cambior, Noranda and Soquem.
Now Lemieux says gold supply is getting tighter, deposits of quality are getting rarer and the project development timeline is getting longer. Enter the Canadian Shield, which – as he explains to The Gold Report here – still offers the possibility of break-out discoveries, as the recent spate of mergers and acquisitions suggests...
The Gold Report: In the month since the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada convention, the markets have been holding steady. Has the "PDAC curse" – where mining equities fall after the PDAC convention – been broken?
Eric Lemieux: I hope so, although it really is still too early to say. Perhaps at this stage, with the drop in copper prices and gold in the $1240 per ounce range, we're in a gray zone. However, there's a certain sense of optimism based on the fact that we're in the last amplitudes of a bottom. Certainly medium fundamentals look interesting. Gold supply is getting tighter, deposits of quality are getting rarer, and there is a lengthening timeline for the development of projects because of more stringent permitting and social acceptability elements.
TGR: What is going on with merger and acquisition activity in Quebec and Ontario?
Eric Lemieux: There has been a recent flurry of M&A activity in Quebec and Ontario. One could almost say it is the flight to the old parents...comfort in stability, access to know-how and the realization that there is still much to discover in the 'old' Archean greenstone belts of the Canadian Shield, a geological province that covers the heart of Canada. It is notorious for being very well endowed with different commodities.
This M&A suggests that there remains excellent geological potential in Québec and Ontario. With distressed assets because of the lack of cash – good assets with no monies to advance – inside quality jurisdictions and with relative proximity to infrastructure, the M&A of certain issuers should keep on pace.
Eric Lemieux: The spotlight is on the Canadian Shield right now; it still has a lot of potential and we could see some new world-class deposits emerge. When I was at PDAC a few weeks ago, and also when I was at the Cambridge House conference in Vancouver in the beginning of the year, there were a lot of things going on up in Northern Canada. Several companies are also working in Northern Canada, mostly on what I would consider greenstone belts, many of which have not been worked a lot. These jurisdictions are safe and stable, so they do hold an attraction for major companies.
TGR: Eric, thank you for your time.