Asia – Where The Mining Activity Is

Asia – Where The Mining Activity Is
Photo by State Library of Queensland, Australia

Further to the second-last item above, there’s still a lot of money floating around for good resource projects.

And a lot of it is in Asia.

As I discussed last week, there have been some big announcements recently on billions of dollars in funding for oil and gas acquisitions out of Asia — particularly Japan and Indonesia. And Thailand’s PTTEP got in on the act this week, saying it has $3.7 billion for acquisitions in Southeast Asia.

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That’s a lot of cash looking for petroleum deals. And this week’s acquisitions of the famed Kalgoorlie gold mine by Chinese property outfit Shandong Tyan Home shows that there’s also a lot of cash focused on mining deals — especially in the Asia Pacific sphere.

It’s of course logical that big buyers in Asia would be most comfortable with projects in their own backyard. After working on projects the world over, I can attest there’s an attraction to being near your own time zone, and not having to take day-long flights in order to reach your working area.

But we have to go where the money is. And for that reason, I’ll be heading back to Asia once again this week — spending the first half of December in the wilds of Myanmar.

I’ve talked at length about the silver-lead-zinc projects my partners and I have been developing in this up-and-coming mining nation. And more recently about some of the incredible gold potential we’re seeing in the unexplored border regions of Myanmar.

And that work is starting to get noticed.

Over the last several weeks, I’ve been back and forth from Myanmar hosting site visits — and it’s been my honour to have some of the world’s most famed geologists come to site. For confidentiality reasons I can’t name names, but suffice to say they’re people that were my heroes dating back to my days as a rank undergraduate rock kicker.

It’s incredible having projects that people of such caliber would fly around the world to visit — which is largely a testament to the unsurpassed prospectivity of Myanmar. Simply put, there aren’t many places on Earth that were once the world’s largest mining centers and have then been completely closed to exploration in modern times.

As it turns out, the under-explored nature here means you can almost literally walk into the jungle on traverse and find yourself standing atop surface-outcropping mineralization — silver, zinc, lead, copper, gold, tin, tungsten. All depending which part of the country you’re investigating.

Working with that kind of discovery potential for the last six years has been one of the most exciting developments of my 20-year career. And I increasingly believe will lead to at least one — if not a number of — important discoveries for the global mining community.

One of the questions about Myanmar has been — when might the world start to take notice of the potential? After all, major miners like Newmont were crawling over the country in the 1990s. But then completely abandoned the nation during the last 15 years, due to political concerns.

Whispers are growing however, that things are on the verge of changing once again. Friends in mining academia have quietly told me that major miners including Rio Tinto, Newcrest, and First Quantum have all been covertly sending representatives to the country in recent months — and that’s in addition to Asian groups like PanAust and Posco Daewoo that already have an active presence in Myanmar.

This is a place we’ll be hearing a lot more about. I hope to be able to tell you more specifics soon — there’s a lot in the mix right now. Have a great weekend, and I’ll be back to you as time allows between field visits over the coming two weeks.

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Dave Forest writes Pierce Points Free Daily E-Letter, an advisory on mining and energy read every day by BP, Rio Tinto, JPMorgan, BNP Paribas, Repsol, GDF Suez, GE, Platts, Warburg Pincus, and the UN. Sign up for free at Mr. Forest has funded and managed over $80 million in global exploration and development in natural resources, and continues to design and develop projects globally. He is a professional geologist.
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