Harvard, Whiskey and Gunpowder: Searching for Gold in The Yukon
By July 20, 2020– Published on
I don’t get to speak to many Harvard grads. No slight against my network, I’m just Canadian and, like who really goes to Harvard?
I guess Byron King does.
Harvard University just announced all their classes in 2021 will be via video. Many are wondering if the 50k a year tuition can be justified without the benefits of in-person networking (let’s face it, isn’t that why you really do Ivy League?).
With so much free education available, more people are opting to self educate on platforms like Youtube or Udemy. To some this idea still sounds radical, but as Byron notes before I hit record, being a contrarian often pays off.
Byron’s resume is larger than my whole neighbourhood block’s combined. He’s a Harvard trained Geologist, a former aide to the United States Chief of Naval Operations, a writer with several publications, and a very active investor. He’s flown planes, been in submarines, helicopters, underground mines, he’s often invited to present at a podium (ours in particular), and is a frequent commentator in mainstream and international media. I’m pretty sure there’s a law degree in there somewhere too? What I mean to say is he’s incredibly well rounded.
I told Byron my younger brother had just joined the Canadian Navy, and he immediately said: “tell your brother to call me, seriously, I would love to speak with him. He can ask me absolutely anything, and I want him to know that his decision is a really good one”.
Something I’ve found with people that are genuinely smart, they tend to be super nice too. There’s an ease and a generosity about them, they’re the type of people that say “there’s no such thing as a stupid question” and really mean it.
Byron describes his investing due diligence as piecing together a jigsaw puzzle. He really enjoys it, which makes sense considering his life’s work has been the pursuit of knowledge. While most of us, myself included, may struggle to combine a good story, a gut feeling, and some technical documents into investment conviction, Byron really thrives on it. He looks at all of the variables before forming a thesis, then backs that thesis with his own cash. I usually leave jobs like technical analysis to the people that really enjoy doing it.
We talked a lot about the Yukon, Byron has a real childlike fascination with the geology there, which is as endearing as it is validating. He also really cares about community relations. Something he harped on about (so much so that I had to edit a bunch of it out for time’s sake) was how Matt Turner at Rockhaven had worked so hard to make sure his work is mutually beneficial, fair, and leaves a positive impact on the lives of those around his projects.
Matt and the term Salt of the Earth are almost synonymous. It doesn’t take long to figure out he’s passionate, thorough, realistic, and proud of his work. People often confuse ego with confidence, as if they’re correlated. I always find the opposite, the lower the ego, the higher the confidence, as Matt proves.
Like Byron, Matt loves working in the Yukon, finding it hugely supportive (mining is in their DNA - as the saying goes). Rockhaven are a leader in the Yukon Mining Alliance (#InvestYukon!), why should I care, you ask?
It pays massively to have a group like the Yukon Mining Alliance in your corner. They work closely with the Yukon Government, helping companies overcome regulatory obstacles and assist with community and labour relations, ensuring projects are both environmentally sustainable and socially responsible. They partner with companies to bring in new technologies, and even provide marketing and investor relations support.
Most exploration companies are made up of a lean team tackling social, legal, geological, environmental, financial, technical, regulatory, and marketing issues all at once. It’s easy to see why companies like Rockhaven in the YMA have a leg up on the competition.
With visits from mid-tier companies for potential M&A, large investors like Strategic Metals & Coeur Mining, and being proximate to hot properties like Western Copper & Gold’s Casino project- all signs point to Rockhaven becoming an industry success story.