Originally Published 06-Feb-2019 in celebration of 1,000 followers on our FB Page: http://www.facebook.com/northernbcmining/
Hello and Welcome!
In this world of social media, is having 1,000 followers a milestone? I just learned that more than 80 Million people read Kim Khardashian’s tweets last year, so it’s easy to dismiss such a small number. Then again, Northern BC isn’t the most populated region so I’m delighted that 1,000 people have found this page. We haven’t advertised – we’ve just focused on sharing mining stories that we thought relevant to Northern BC.
Why Northern BC? Because, it’s home. Simple. I was born in Vanderhoof. My father, a fifth-generation descendant of pre-confederation Prince Edward Islanders, was born in Fort Fraser. My mother, born in Vancouver, moved north with her English parents. They and so many of their peers are gone now. They were pioneers who had a hardscrabble upbringing. The families survived the dirty thirties, bracketed by two world wars, living mostly in shotgun shacks on the edge of land cleared by hand and horse.
I left the region more than once. More than once I vowed never to return. I thought I needed to move away to be successful. It was silly thinking – by default the north has always been a land of opportunity if you were willing to work. I learned, over time, that while opportunity may not have a GPS it does, sometimes, come with a homing signal. I returned 25 years ago and learned that success is all in how you define it.
The fascination with mining started with my neighbor who, for several years, left me in charge of his house every summer while he went off to Atlin to work his gold claim. One year, upon returning from a summer’s work, he shared that he’d made $40,000. I was impressed. I was 15 and $ 40,000 seemed like an awesome amount. I didn’t think to ask how much he had spent. My first experience with the miner’s sleight of hand.
I followed my neighbour’s adventures closely and, through him, met other men with similar experiences. Prospectors are an interesting lot, I’ve found. Add coffee or whiskey – sometimes together – and it’s hard to meet a more positive group of people. This was reinforced during my first trip to the AME Roundup Conference in 2014. There, I met two bonafide old-school prospectors who knew my neighbour. Over a drink they added colour to his life story. After the second drink, they said “All we need is one-million dollars. That would get us over the top. The gold is down there!” Later on in the show, they found the money. I can still picture them walking out of the Westin Hotel lobby – bow-legged, bearded and smiling.
Mining is a close-knit community. In my experience, it’s uniquely close. However, it’s changing. As they say, just follow the money – the investment money, that is. The typical retail mining investor is an endangered species. Usually male and more than 55 years of age, he educated himself through the old-brokerage model of weekend seminars and casual get-togethers with mining folks. By contrast, today’s investors belong to smart-phone generations who, while they can monitor investments using smart-phone technology, don’t know enough to actually invest in the rare earth metals that make the technology possible.
If exploration companies don’t find a way to bridge the gap and snag retail investors from the smart-phone generations, overall exploration will be funded increasingly by institutional investors and whale-investors both of whom can be uniquely, and sometimes famously, fickle and impatient when searching for financial returns.
BC is rich with oil and gas, gold, copper and silver but its also rich with rare-earth metals and alloys that all of us use everyday without thinking. That you’re able to read this note only underscores that truth. The next goal for this page will be to help make mining more accessible to the smart-phone trader. If we’re successful, even in a small way, we’ll find some people who are open minded enough to consider the industry with a fresh perspective. Certainly, the industry has it’s problems. Every industry does – especially industries that directly confront nature’s store.
So, here’s to the next 1,000 followers, or 80 Million! We’ll keep posting relevant stories from the mining industry as they relate to Northern BC with a commitment to providing more original content.