Your usual Saturday editor, Jessica Cohn-Kleinberg, is out this week on vacation, so I’m back in my former weekly slot to fill in for her.

pgottschalk / Pixabay

This week, I thought I’d change things up a little bit and dig around in our Sovereign Investor Daily mailbag to see what thoughts and questions readers have for us.

In Jessica’s last article, she talked about zinc, the unique uses for the metal and the shortage that zinc is facing as demand continues to ramp up.

Reader Jim G. commented that:

Zinc probably isn’t the first thing most people think of when they’re considering metals, but Matt’s report makes one stop and think about niche markets such as this. I’d certainly be interested in seeing more like this.

I would definitely keep an eye on Matt Badiali’s reports in Winning Investor Daily and his Real Wealth Investor newsletter. He is always digging up unique opportunities within the natural resources sector, and his “on the ground” research allows him to get much closer to the companies and their operations than most of the pundits on Wall Street.

Meanwhile, Frank C. writes:

I’d like to know about silver. If there are metals that are projected to be in scarce supply into the future, it would be good to know.

Again, I’m going to turn to our natural resources expert, Matt. In fact, a couple weeks ago he wrote a great article titled “The World’s Most Fickle Metal.” In that article, he provides a much closer look at silver and its recent price action.

Sticking with metals for one more question, Marvin B. writes:

What are your thoughts on buying gold and silver coins? My thought is that it would be easier to spend if currency goes down the drain. I believe buying blocks of gold would be harder to sell and work with. What are your thoughts?

While I can’t speak to using gold and silver coins as an alternative currency in the event that fiat currencies go down the drain, I do believe that physical gold and silver should be a part of your portfolio as a critical hedge against volatility within the market. Gold grows in value during times of turmoil and uncertainty, and while currencies have withered and died, gold continues to hold value.

If you’ve not added gold and silver coins to your portfolio yet, one avenue is the EverBank non-FDIC insured Metals Select® Allocated Account. It’s a great way to increase your own economic power. It allows you to purchase specific coins and bars, and it’s even IRA eligible (gold and silver American Eagle coins only).

For the sake of full disclosure, we receive a marketing fee based on our relationship with EverBank. But, honestly, we’d work with them regardless.

And finally, I’ve got one last question from Robert S.:

Why haven’t robotics moved to mining? It seems like one of the most dangerous jobs where robotics could significantly reduce the risks. I know you need to provide employment to encourage mining in most countries, but there seems to be a great opportunity for the most risky mining.

Actually, we are now seeing robotics move more and more into the mining industry in the form of self-driving trucks, automated loaders, and automated drilling and tunnel-boring systems. A report put out last year by the International Institute for Sustainable Development stated that automation could replace 40% to 80% of workers based on technology that is available today. However, driverless tech would result in a 15% to 20% jump in output, a 10% to 15% drop in fuel consumption and an 8% drop in repair costs.

As a savvy investor, there are two ways to take advantage of this profitable trend. One is to look to the tech companies that are developing the sensors and software needed to make all this technology possible. These opportunities fall under the Internet of Things umbrella that Paul Mampilly specializes in. He’s uncovered the companies that are positioned to lead the charge in the next decade.

The second way is through the mining companies themselves. While implementing this automated technology might be costly upfront, the savings the firms reap in repairs, time, labor costs and more all benefit a company’s bottom line. And these are the types of things that Matt Badiali is taking into consideration when he’s looking for a great natural resources investment.