Tag Archives: Giles Gwinnett

Generation Mining: Investors rush to rare palladium pure play as metal price soars

Palladium is not a metal that the average person on the street is likely to know much about, but with the race on to create a cleaner, greener world, that could soon change.

Over 90 percent of this so-called ‘white metal’ is used to make catalytic converters for cars with internal combustion engines, and it’s also used plentifully in hybrid vehicles. As regulations tighten across the auto industry to reduce emissions, more palladium is needed than ever before.

This dynamic is behind the meteoric price rise for the metal in the last couple of years, going from around $800 USD per ounce to $2,300 USD. A potential supply deficit in the years ahead is adding fuel to the increase.

Based on one study’s findings, the globe’s 10 million ounce-a-year palladium market is set to experience a deficit of 1.9 million ounces in 2020, as mining production has been steadily falling since 2004 and there is a dearth of new mines coming onstream.

Generation Mining Ltd. (CSE:GENM) is looking to take advantage of that backdrop with some big ambitions in the PGM (platinum group metals) space. With its shares having more than doubled in value since the beginning of 2020, recognition of the strengthening palladium price is broadening just at the right time.

The company’s flagship asset is the Marathon Palladium Project, which is in partnership with Sibanye-Stillwater, a major player located a few miles from the town of the same name in Ontario.

Marathon is the largest undeveloped palladium project in North America. It has already had 1,000 holes drilled into it, and has been the subject of two feasibility studies at lower palladium prices. Generation Mining is the operator.

“It’s had great work done on it,” explains Kerry Knoll, Generation Mining’s Executive Chairman.

“It was not a mine when people tried to develop it before, when palladium was at $500 an ounce, and it wouldn’t be a mine today at $500 an ounce. But at $1,000 and higher, it is a mine,” he says.

Several companies have been involved with the project since the mid-1980s, including Marathon PGM Corporation, Stillwater Mining, and Mitsubishi.

The numbers for Marathon – 7.1 million palladium-equivalent ounces in the main deposit – are compelling.

Generation Mining’s preliminary economic assessment, published in January of this year, was based on a palladium price of $1,275 an ounce, which gave the deposit a pre-tax net present value of $1.19 billion CAD at a 5 percent discount rate. One can only imagine the economics today, given the price of palladium is well above $2,000 per ounce.

Going into production could make Generation Mining, as Knoll puts it, “lots of money,” but he points out that the mine would still be profitable even at $1,000 an ounce.

Knoll also notes that Marathon, which has a mine life of 14 years, represents something of a rarity for investors, as it is a pure-play palladium project (even though it also contains metals such as platinum and copper).

In addition, palladium projects tend to be held by private companies or are just one part of a huge mining company’s overall portfolio, so getting exposure is tricky for investors.

When asked how the Marathon deposit compares to others around the world, Knoll says, “There’s a couple of very large ones in South Africa. Ivanhoe has one, a company called Platinum Group Metals has one. They’re much larger than ours, but they’re also slower to develop because they’re underground mining. Ours is an open pit, surface mine, and we can get into production a lot quicker because of that. And it’s also a lot cheaper.”

Generation Mining aims to bring the project and its 194,000 palladium-equivalent-ounces per year to commercial production. According to the PEA, initial capital costs are pegged at $431 million, which Knoll reckons is eminently achievable, via a number of options.

“Financing mines today has never been more flexible,” he explains.

“There are streaming royalty companies to which we could sell, perhaps, the gold, or a part of the gold and a part of the platinum stream, upfront for cash. And it looks like we might be able to raise up to $100 million doing that on pretty reasonable terms.” Knoll also cites the equity and debt routes and points out that Generation Mining’s partner Sibanye must provide 20 percent of the money or get diluted down.

The project, neatly situated in a region where mining is part of the tapestry of life, boasts excellent local infrastructure, including Trans-Canada Highway access, a main rail line, power, and an airport.

“One of Canada’s largest gold mines, Hemlo, is located just down the road from us and it’s still in production, although it’s been winding down and the locals are looking forward to the jobs that we would bring to the area,” says Knoll.

Generation Mining is just the latest company that mining industry veteran Knoll has been involved with. He and Chief Executive Officer Jamie Levy were behind the sale of Pine Point Mining and its zinc project in the Northwest Territories to Osisko Metals for $35 million in 2018.

He explains how Osisko Metals didn’t want to buy all of the exploration assets, so Generation Mining was spun out into a separate company, which then struck an option deal the same year to buy a 51 percent stake in Sibanye-Stillwater’s Marathon deposit.

Generation Mining can earn up to an 80 percent interest by spending $10 million over four years, at which point Sibanye can re-acquire 31 percent to bring its stake up to 51 percent, though Knoll reckons this is unlikely because Sibanye will need to spend over $100 million to do that.

Sibanye is a pretty decent partner to have, of course, since it is the second-largest palladium company and largest platinum company in the world, so its knowledge of the commodity and the industry is extensive.

Knoll says Sibanye can be particularly helpful once the project is in production. Sibanye would be able to assist Generation Mining with the marketing and sale of its concentrates to smelters (a co-marketing arrangement is in place with Sibanye), which can be an onerous process for smaller companies.

In January, Generation Mining announced an $8 million financing to advance the Marathon project. Resource sector legend Eric Sprott invested $5 million of the total, joining other big names on the shareholder register, including Lukas Lundin and Osisko Mining.

There should be plenty of news flow in coming months as the company hires its engineering team and selects the group to carry out a feasibility study. It also plans to restart the permitting process.

With the green energy story getting louder by the day and lesser known metals increasing in global importance, Generation Mining’s Marathon project is taking a well-deserved place in the spotlight.

This story was featured in the Public Entrepreneur magazine.

Learn more about Generation Mining at https://www.genmining.com/.

Versus Systems: Clever technology increases advertising engagement to extraordinary levels

Versus Systems (CSE:VS) is disrupting the conventional advertising landscape with an innovative choice/reward model. The company’s main focus is the esports sector, where game developers use its WINFINITE platform to create competitions that provide players the chance to win a variety of attractive prizes.

The platform can be accessed via mobile, console, PC games and streaming media, and thanks to that reach some half a million prizes have been awarded already. WINFINITE is used for games in the US and Canada right now, with a UK launch slated for December. Plans call for making it available in continental Europe in the first half of 2020, and in China around mid-year.

In August of 2019, Versus struck a licensing deal with hardware giant HP that will see its technology used in a variety of HP products and services. Public Entrepreneur caught up with Versus Chief Executive Officer Matthew Pierce last month to learn more about the company and its considerable potential.

How is the advertising landscape changing and how does Versus fit into that?

I think media is changing but that advertising is changing more slowly. People in general don’t care for old systems of advertising, or paid ads. We measure videos not by whether they were watched but by how many seconds they were watched before someone hits X to escape. People don’t care for banner ads or interstitials or pre-roll or any of those kinds of things.

And as content, as media, as games, as shows and all those things become more interactive, and more choice-based and more tailored to the viewer or the player, so too does the advertising. The advertising needs to be just as thoughtful. And for us, the marriage of choice and reward, which is to say that when you get to choose what you want to play for or you get to choose what you’re trying to win, it introduces the idea of earning it, so it no longer feels like an ad, but rather a prize. It feels like something you’ve earned and that makes all the difference.

Can you explain how WINFINITE works and how you came up with the idea?

In any Versus-enabled content, whether it’s a show, a fitness app or a video game, when you enter into the experience, when you’re about to load up the game or when you’re about to watch your show, there’s a menu that asks what you want to play for. You can choose anything from downloadable content in a video game to trips, to apparel, to food, to electronics. There’s a huge number of things that we’ve given away, from tickets to BlizzCon to hats and shirts.

Users see a win condition that says, “If you do this then you will get this, or if you do that then you will be entered into a sweepstakes to get that.” People try to win the race or crush the right amount of candy and then you get sent a message saying that you either won it or you didn’t. If you didn’t, you try again or try to win something else. It doesn’t interrupt the show or the game. It’s there to enhance the experience.

The company came out of an incubator whose limited partners included a large software development firm, a large law firm, and people with strong media backgrounds. The idea was to create something that’s in a really thorny regulatory space that is also difficult to achieve technically.

People love winning things and people love earning things. How can we make that real? We’ve been filing IP on it for years now. We’ve been granted patents covering how to do it and how to do it at scale.

Is it fair to say you’re focused mainly on the gaming space?

We very much like the gaming side of things. We also like things that look like games. Games are already made such that there’s what we call a “win condition,” and the win condition is very clear inside of a game – save this town, crush this candy, find the loot. That’s a really rich environment for us. But I also keep bringing up fitness because fitness looks a lot like a game as you try to run a certain distance or achieve specific goals.

What sort of feedback do you get from players?

Ninety seven percent of players interviewed that have used the platform say it makes the game more fun. And that is not true of most advertising, right? We did a huge survey with UCLA last year to talk about user behaviour and how people interact with media and it confirmed that people don’t care for ads. But 97% of people who play for rewards say rewards make the game more engaging. Once introduced to prizes, people play more and there’s not an ad unit anywhere that makes people consume the content more frequently.

How do you make money from this?

The business model works in classic advertising fashion, which is that the brands that want to reach these players pay to place their products inside of the content, the difference being that our engagement rates are minutes rather than seconds, and the transaction rates are measured in whole percents, rather than hundredths of a percent.

We are much, much, much more effective with respect to getting people to do something. Do they go into the store, or do they go to the website? It’s much more effective when you introduce these ideas of choice and reward. The brands pay for that because it’s just a more effective ad unit.

We split the revenue with the content owner, so in the case of HP we’re in all the HP Omen computers and we split the revenue with HP. When we are in a game we split the revenue with the game developer and the publisher. So, we make our revenue on a transactions basis. Every time someone makes an attempt to win a prize, the company who put up that prize pays for that engagement.

You’ve struck a number of partnership agreements. Is there one deal you are particularly proud of?

The HP deal is massive. HP is a US$50billion company and we have a multi-year deal. They are well known for being safe and secure, and conservative and thoughtful and the idea that they would partner with us, I think, suggests that we’ve worked very hard to be a credible, trustworthy, thoughtful, capable company. HP sells tens of millions of computers a year and they’re one of the most highly respected hardware manufacturers on earth. They have access to not just gamers, but to anything you can do on a computer that you want to encourage or incentivize. We can put rewards around things other than games. The platform also works extremely well for fitness apps and certain business applications.

What would you say to potential investors about the group’s future targets?

Now’s a great time. You start talking about tens of millions of machines from the HP deal and then you also start talking about the opportunities that we’ve got when we grow into some of these other markets, particularly in Asia. You have access to a lot of people playing a lot of games or a lot of people engaging with these apps. And they want to win. It’s perfect for us.

This story was featured in the Public Entrepreneur magazine.

Learn more about Versus Systems at https://www.versussystems.com/.

RIWI Corp: Getting one’s hands on insight nobody else has requires creative thinking…and 1.5 billion responses

RIWI Corp. (CSE:RIW) runs a business for the curious, the analytical, for governments of the world, and for financial services firms looking to develop an edge. It is a business that is never the same two days in a row and thus endlessly fascinating, with the potential to drive policy, influence strategy, and bring improvements to the world at large.

In short, the company performs global trend tracking and predictive analytics that provide previously unavailable insight into how people think and behave. Relying on the Internet, it conducts surveys and can also run ad tests assessing the efficacy of corporate marketing initiatives. The company has thus far analyzed over 1.5 billion responses in putting together reports for its clients.

RIWI’s client roster includes companies in the private sector, predominantly finance, as well as groups active in humanitarian aid such as the World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Security is another area of great importance to the company.

Public Entrepreneur caught up with Founder and Chief Executive Officer Neil Seeman recently for a discussion of RIWI’s role in today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape and a look into corners of the technology world we never even knew existed.

How has technology and the market you serve changed over the last decade or so?

The market for global data collection has really exploded in the last 10 years and we’re just at the cusp of it. I feel that we’re sort of in Web 3.0 right now. I was lucky enough to have been an investor in Web 1.0 (the early days of the commercial Web) and then Web 2.0 (the social Web). Now today with Web 3.0, where RIWI sits is the world of incalculable amounts of data, and more importantly, data for actionable insights.

It’s less about Big Data these days than it is about Smart Data and that’s where we focus. And the second titanic change, which is just occurring, and where RIWI sits at a leadership position, is the importance of being an ethical data broker and only collecting data free of personal identifiers. This is becoming a game-changing issue in the world of data collection. It’s a highly competitive marketplace but the total addressable market is pretty extraordinary.

Your technology uses machine learning. Can you explain in simple terms how you collect data?

RIWI invented a global platform such that anyone with access to a Web-enabled device can stumble into a RIWI survey or ad test as they navigate the Internet and enter an abandoned domain that doesn’t exist at that moment in time – they encounter a RIWI survey or ad test on a non-trademarked domain. We invented that and expanded our intellectual property and we continually learn which constellation of domains is able to capture a perfect mirror of the Web-using audience in any region of the world. This changes in real time and we understand why and how that happens. We have a decade of historic data so we understand the changing Internet infrastructure in every country and that is a form of intelligence that can be very valuable to understanding how we can solve client needs.

How does your technology differ from that of other companies? How do you position yourself against your peers?

It’s differentiated in a number of ways. The first is global access. We have single-button technology such that you can access eight or 180 countries, or 229 territories and countries using RIWI. Otherwise, you would have to go to online panel suppliers or different market research providers in the countries.

Secondly, we reach opaque or otherwise impossible markets. We are the only continuous data provider in terms of sentiment data and ad testing data in all cities and regions across China, for example.

Thirdly, we are random in our reach. We patented and then built out a global platform and cloud-based architecture called Random Domain Intercept Technology such that the recipients who are intercepted are random and RIWI is privacy-compliant such that we are not collecting any personally identifiable data, and this fourth aspect of RIWI is highly differentiated from other digital data collection tools.

Fifth, and most importantly, we’re being recognized for broadening the voices of people who participate in surveys and ad tests. In other forms, traditional or even modern forms of sentiment collection, whether it’s social media analytics or public opinion panel-based polling or natural language algorithms using artificial intelligence, you’re getting a very, very narrow slice of public opinion, whereas with us, the majority, and in some cases the vast majority, of the people whose opinions and behavioural reactions we collect have not answered a survey or ad test of any kind in the preceding month, nor are they regular posters online.

Who are your customers and how many do you have? Can you give me an example of where your data has been particularly impactful for a client?

We currently have several dozen major enterprise clients across our business lines. They range in size. We try to build recurring revenue-based clients such that they are either quarterly subscriptions or annual subscriptions that can be renewed, sometimes on a rapid-response basis. Within each of these, some are such that they have multiple sectors or country groupings.

In terms of impactful work, we have worked for G7 agencies on strictly confidential matters, but on the unclassified side we’ve done, for example, very impactful work for the Canadian government where we’ve measured the sentiment toward women and girls and how they are treated under ISIS in 18 Middle East countries. We’ve enabled some fascinating data that have helped educate people in all regions of the world about the brutality of how women and girls are treated under ISIS.

We’ve also done a lot of work on marginalized groups, populations that don’t participate in surveys and this is not only important in the humanitarian aid sector, it’s important, for example, to the finance sector, which is trying very much to understand the future consumer of technology adoption. We’re also the largest data collector in the world for changing attitudes toward LGBTQ communities, and for undocumented citizens and people in rural communities, even in America, whose voices are often left out of important debates. We like to say we give “voice to the voiceless” in any region of the world.

It’s impactful to me when we may only solve 2% to 5% of a company’s data challenges but we are embedded with them such that they thereafter understand the universe of their other data collection needs.

The possibilities for your data seem limitless. How big can you see this getting?

Our goal is to be the Booz Allen of global data collection. We want to be everywhere in terms of our continuous data collection, in fragile and conflict states, in opaque markets, and we want to deliver data that provides actionable insights in real time. We do that with real-time dashboards that are constantly being updated such that with the touch of a button, a decision-maker can understand the truth of what’s going on, whether it’s predictions about stock market turmoil, trade wars, or gang violence.

You’re clearly growing and have been turning in quite good performance numbers of late. What is your business model? Is it the case that when revenue grows so does profitability? Are your costs mostly fixed?

One of the beautiful things the math analysts like to observe about our company from a shareholder perspective is that as our revenues grow and as our profit grows, our costs associated with sales decline or stay relatively flat. This was always embedded in the vision of the company, such that we’re not, for one, selling people, we’re selling data and dashboards and analytics, but secondly, we’re a machine-learning platform such that the technology itself is embedded, or twinned, with shareholder value creation, because the machine-learning technology continually expands in its capacity for data collection and continually decreases the costs associated with data collection. Further, our offerings are “plug-and-play” for our clients – the same issues that confront our client Bank of America Merrill Lynch also confront Asia- or Europe-based hedge funds looking for a privacy-compliant information edge.

How do you go about landing new clients?

Two ways – there’s no secret sauce here. It’s about boots on the ground and hardcore sales, using a highly disciplined sales process. I’m an accidental entrepreneur because this grew out of a small research unit I had at a college associated with the University of Toronto, and we’ve changed the mindset by going from a creative think tank environment to a heavily sales-focused enterprise with sales-focused disciplines and systems and processes.

Secondly, the uniqueness of our platform and the uniqueness of our data – especially it being privacy compliant – and the nature of our clients means that we get a lot of attention, whether it’s media attention or public presentation opportunities, or thought leadership opportunities. Our Head of Research was selected to present this Fall at TEDxToronto. Our data collection tools to generate alpha for the finance community won us a global “Battle of the Quants” award that created buzz this year.

And we also win attention from new audiences because we are in this great situation where we can generate internal data in unusual parts of the world in rapid fashion, so we offer insights that we know will be valuable and get the attention of prospective clients whose eyes light up when they see it.

This story was featured in the Public Entrepreneur magazine.

Learn more about RIWI Corp. at https://riwi.com/.

MegumaGold: A fresh take on the gold exploration model for Nova Scotia

The province of Nova Scotia already has a rich gold mining heritage, but new theories and modern exploration technologies are re-awakening interest in the jurisdiction’s huge potential.

It was the site of one of Canada’s first gold camps and production of the metal dates back to around the middle of the nineteenth century.

Between 1862 and 1927 almost a million ounces of the precious metal were extracted from the province.

In those early days, however, the focus was on high-grade, narrow vein deposits. Today, the emphasis has shifted with the discovery of disseminated mineralization with bulk-mineable potential.

The Touquoy deposit

The move started with the discovery of shales at the Touquoy deposit, where a company called Atlantic Gold has now commissioned a highly successful open pit mine.

Now another firm – explorer MegumaGold Corp. (CSE:NSAU), which takes its name from the Meguma Terrane where the original gold rush took place – is getting in on the act. It has acquired 11,205 claims totaling more than 170,000 hectares, many of which are adjacent and along trend from the Touquoy deposit.

Meguma’s chief executive officer, Regan Isenor, explains, “Typically in Nova Scotia, everyone was always after the high-grade nuggety style quartz-hosted gold, which is quite expensive to extract and it’s hard to build models off of that type of mineralization. Atlantic Gold, here in the province, has shown that the disseminated model of low-grade, bulk tonnage is really where the projects that are economically viable are going to be found.”

Without getting too technical, the reason for the geology is this: glaciation in Nova Scotia caused the softer rock on the top to erode, exposing the harder outcrops, which excited those early explorers because the gold was often visible in the quartz veining exposed at surface.

Disseminated mineralization, on the other hand, often cannot be seen and is scattered across large areas at a lower grade but could potentially exist throughout the massive anticline structures within the Meguma Terrane.

Although such mineralization can’t be seen, exploitation of the gold is simple and cheap – simply digging the source rocks out of the ground from an open pit, while cheap processing methods can also be used.

Although the company doesn’t plan to put a deposit into production itself, Meguma wants to emulate the success of its neighbor Atlantic Gold.

Low-cost mine

The latter’s Moose River Consolidated gold mine has the lowest all-in sustaining cost per ounce mine in the world – between US$540 and US$588 – mainly due to the low strip ratio.

Meguma is currently in the middle of a 20,000 meter reverse circulation (RC) drill program focused on 10 highlight targets, whittled down from an original 40, which were identified from a major airborne geophysical and Lidar survey.

Isenor highlights that the company’s targets are predominantly on ground that has “never been tested before,” which is exciting as he believes disseminated gold could be present throughout the province.

He aims to have completed 10,000 meters of drilling by mid-summer, before stopping to have assays returned for evaluation ahead of a larger program, consisting of diamond drilling to focus in on the most exciting targets and RC rigs for more regional exploration.

With enough money in the bank to fully finance the current drill program, specifically around $5.5 million, Meguma hopes to succeed in Nova Scotia where others have had to throw in the towel before.

“People have come in and they’ve had an idea of what a particular model could look like, but they haven’t been funded well enough to actually really test these targets and that’s what we are doing,” says Isenor. “We are really aggressively drilling them.  If it’s there we are going to find it.”

MegumaGold was previously called Coronet Metals and was run out of Vancouver by mining executive Theo Van der Linde, with a tailings project in Nevada.

He became aware of the Meguma land package and could see the opportunity. Coronet struck a deal to buy a large land package in the historic gold district and Isenor was brought in as the CEO when the company name changed last June.

The operations base was also moved to Bedford in Nova Scotia and the firm started to raise capital for exploration.

Van der Linde remains as president at the company.

Big goals

Despite its early stage, MegumaGold has big goals as it looks to play a major part in Nova Scotia’s paradigm shift in the understanding and potential of its gold deposits.

Isenor reckons his company stands at the exciting beginning phases of people understanding that this disseminated style of mineralization is really where the future lies and is the economic mining model for Nova Scotia.

“People never really evaluated any of these targets for this disseminated style,” he explains, adding that often such geology was considered by miners to be mere waste rock.  New theories indeed.

This story was originally published at www.proactiveinvestors.com on March 8, 2019 and featured in the Public Entrepreneur magazine.

Learn more about MegumaGold Corp at https://megumagold.com/.