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Robert Quartermain: The Geo Series – We May Have Hit Peak Gold

As part of our series on Geology Tom welcomes Robert Quartermain to the show. Bob explains his early background in computer science, living in the maritime provinces. His experience at Baker Lake, Northern Canada with a survey crew lead him to take up geology in university.

He discusses his early career, which gained experience working with various mines. He has helped make discoveries in many locales around the world, including some exciting initial discoveries.

Furthermore, he discusses reinvigorating Silver Standard now known as SSR mining thanks to Rick Rule and Jim Blanchard. From 1992, they acquired old projects for pennies on the dollar, creating a large bank of silver properties. He explains how that collaboration lead to several big discoveries which became successes for their shareholders.

It’s important to keep administrative costs low while putting the money into the ground to make the discoveries. This way, you’re attractive to those with the capital. If you have good geology, good potential, then you can always raise capital.

He explains the differences between mining silver and gold. Producing silver is more difficult as it usually requires off-site processing.

Historically, mining wasn’t often unkind to the environment, but today most operations have a minimal impact. Mining can create huge value from a relatively small area of land. ESG is helpful in leveling the playing field and can help insure a return to shareholders. North American mining companies tend to bring better stewardship to development around the world.

His preference is to work in British Columbia. You want an area where there is respect for the rule of law. Bob has worked in Russia, Africa, Haiti, Latin American and the Middle East. It’s important to have a safe and effective regulatory environment where you can build up a mine with minimal risk. This is also important for investors, who should consider the potential risks. It’s nice to be able to work in your own backyard and come home.

He focuses on investing in the people behind companies with superior track records. There are optimal times when you may want to invest on dips, and then there are opportune times when you may want to exit a position. Lastly, he provides some tips for what investments to avoid in the mining industry.

Talking Points from this Episode

  • Robert’s background and why he became a geologist.
  • Building up Silver Standard with Rick Rule and Jim Blanchard.
  • Importance of ESG, jurisdiction and why he prefers Canada.
  • Tips and caveats when investing in mining companies.

Time Stamp References:
0:00 – Introduction
0:54 – His Background
5:45 – Mentors & Analysis
8:54 – Exciting Career Times?
12:37 – Discovery to Production
14:42 – Younger Generations
18:15 – Silver Standard
24:47 – Raising Capital
29:26 – Takeovers & Mergers
34:04 – Silver Vs. Gold Mining
38:05 – ESG & Recycling
44:15 – Preferred Jurisdictions
47:12 – China, India, & Gold
49:30 – Energy & Mine Margins
52:34 – Peak Gold & Discovery
55:36 – New Production & ESG
58:23 – Investor Optimal Timing
1:02:18 – Investing Red Flags
1:04:08 – Resource Importance
1:05:00 – Wrap Up

Guest Links:

Robert A. Quartermain Dr. Quartermain serves as a Director of Dakota Gold and was most recently Executive Chairman of Pretium Resources Inc., which he founded in October 2010. Before Pretium, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of Silver Standard Resources Inc. (now SSR Mining Inc.) for 25 years from 1985-2010. Dr. Quartermain holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of New Brunswick, a Master of Science from Queen’s University, his Professional Geoscience certification from the Engineers and Geoscientists BC and Honorary Doctor of Science from the University of New Brunswick. In addition to his focus on Dakota Gold, Dr. Quartermain has a number of education, wildlife and social justice philanthropic interests that he supports.

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