What lies beneath the Bundesplatz in Bern?

Would you give something very precious to someone else to mind? Maybe if you did not feel secure and you did not have a safe place for it or you had borrowed on the strength of its value.  After World War II West Germany’s “economic miracle” during the 1950s was built on hard work and … Read more

Comets, Asteroids and the Sow’s Ear

Venture capitalists and entrepreneurs not only want to make lots of money but they want to change the world and some even believe they can. Bryan Johnson has committed a substantial portion of his wealth, $100 million, to what he calls “crazy” projects. One initiative is to capture an asteroid and mine it. Mr Johnson … Read more

A Tale of Two Metal Deposits and a Volcano

It was the best of times – for bottom fishing and acquiring distressed mineral assets. It was the worst of times –to finance exploration as distinct from rediscovering what was already found. It was the age of wisdom – the sudden realisation that grade is king scale alone can never make a project work. It … Read more

Leveraging value form a rising zinc price

Maybe you can buy zinc like any other commodity in the hope that someone will buy it off you for a higher price in the future.  But for the ordinary investor there is really no option for physical zinc exposure but exchange traded funds or ETFs such as ZINC:LN that are backed by zinc.  More … Read more

Multiple pledging of zinc stocks in China

As credit tightened in China over the last while it became popular to use metal inventories in the warehouses of Chinese ports as collateral for loans.  The problem occurs when dishonest people get involved in pledging the same stock of metal as security for multiple loans from several banks.  Apparently there could be as much as … Read more

Squirrels and Stents

In London this week I spoke with a private equity fund specialising in the mining and metals sector which has a keen interest in zinc. They cast a critical eye over the limited pool of development-track projects held by Juniors and the conclusion was that athose reviewed lacked quality and some had significant flaws or red flags.  … Read more

Kola Nuts and Gold and the Garden of Eden

We land with Air France in Bamako, the capital of Mali on the Niger River.  Bamako means “crocodile river” in Bambara.  The French under general Gallieni built a railroad at the end of the 19th century all the way from Dakar on the Atlantic to reach the Niger at Bamako.  This was an extraordinary engineering … Read more

Is the Present the Key to the Future?

“If the present tries to sit in judgement of the past, it will lose the future.” – Winston Churchill Several western zinc mines have recently closed or are running out of ore quickly. Glencore recently announced that its zinc production fell 18 per cent to 306,000 tonnes as two of its mines have reached the … Read more

We love zinc

According to the prospectus for its $10bn initial public offering in May 2011, Glencore supplied 60 per cent of the international third-party market in zinc metal and 50 per cent of the international third-party zinc concentrates market.  This was before Glencore’s takeover of Xstrata was completed in May 2013.  To meet antitrust approval for the … Read more

Zinc mine supply – have we run out of time?

In 1974, some forty years ago now, Marc Rich and co-worker Pincus Green set up their own company in Switzerland as Marc Rich & Co. AG.  In his book King of Oil, Daniel Amman describes how Marc Rich’s attempt in the early 1990’s to corner the zinc market was the worst deal of his career.  This … Read more