With speakers, analysts, exhibitors and investors all converging in the same space, the World Resource Investment Conference (WRIC) is a great opportunity to gauge the pulse of the Canadian junior mining and exploration sectors. Of course, with a year that has unfolded the way it has for the junior mining and exploration space, many attendees and speakers were content that there was a still pulse to be found at all.
Since January (the time of the last resource conference) the TSX Venture, where many Canadian exploration and mining stocks are listed, has declined about 24% and is drifting towards lows not seen since 2008.
Going into this year’s conference, it was a safe bet that was going to be a lot of doom and gloom to go around. The sentiment from several speakers and from attendees was that there weren’t as many investors through the door as has been previously observed. One blog post stated the following of the conference:
“The place was dead. I have never in my life seen this trade show so dead.”
Sobering statistics put forward by sector analyst John Kaiser also fanned the flames of negativity. According to Kaiser’s research the list of companies on the TSX Venture with less than $200,000 in the bank has climbed to over 700, a sign that many of these companies will simply not have the capital on hand to continue operating. Brent Cook, author of the Exploration Insights newsletter, echoed the same sentiment in his interview.
The consensus, it appears, is that things in the junior mining sector seem likely to get worse before they get better.