How To Fup Resources Duck: Thom @ Large

By Thom Calandra

VANCOUVER, Canada -- Ordinary folks go to investment shows to advertise their fears. Not to buy. That's what I call fup-the-duck.

This holds for most shows in most market moods: up, down, euphoria, despair. Insecurity. Torrents of sweat for those who don't bo-tox their armpits.

Ask anyone on either side: audience or presenter. "It's hand holding," says Don Mosher of Burkina Faso gold prospector Riverstone Resources (RVS), a West Africa company that is building its resource yet getting little attention from investors.

Professional investors seek reassurance, too; they "triangulate" scenarios, then spill clam chowder all over their hosts at expensive "sponsor" dinners. Asset managers think it is their duck-given right to ask insecure questions when markets go south. (When prices cruise north, you don't get a peep of thanks from the quacks.)

Well, fup-the-duck, again. Not this time. Ordinary folks at the annual January Joe Show in British Columbia, for once, literally flocked to corporate presentations. The little people, myself among 'em, listened to the talking heads. Not just the Frankie Holmses of the show, either. (See:

"They asked pro-level questions," said Howard Katz, Toronto financier and CEO of looming IPO Tamaka Gold (ticker: TKT in Canada). .

[caption id="attachment_1184" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="Anatomically Correct Bull & Spectators At Vancouver SHow"]Bull & Chieftains On Show Floor[/caption]

Tamaka Gold runs a vast project that I visited in southwest Ontario this winter; it could be the second-coming of Osisko if Mr. Katz and his well financed team expand what is already a sizeable resource of 233,700 oz gold measured, 143,300 oz indicated and 624,800 oz inferred. Tamaka's Goldlund sits along the same greenstone belt as Rainy River's ongoing project.

Howard The Katz has been to Europe with the Tamaka layout and gotten the kind of reaction that Osisko's Sean Roosen and partners got years ago when they toured Germany in search of backers. "It's big," said Mr. Katz, who helped line up Sandspring Resources (SSP in Canada) for a blastoff IPO about three years ago.

But back to the show for a moment.

I attended more show-and-tells by resource chieftains than I ever have at Joe Martin's Vancouver Investment Show. That's why I call it The Joe Show; Mr. Martin is like Ed Sullivan). The conference maestro had a broadcast centre with slick TV talent. (Well, the lady that interviewed me hit nails on the heads with every question -- see it.) Joe had a bull from NYC; Zimtu Capital paid part of the cost for that centerpiece. Mr. Martin had debates; a speaker dinner; probably 600 companies exhibiting; and quite a few thousand people, even as rains assailed downtown for 72 hours. "Our biggest show by far," said Mr. Martin, who has been staging natural resources shows since the 1990s.

Okay, I still sensed fear there. But this time, I swear, it was fear of missing The Great Resources Run. It was a real scrum, I tell ya.

Maybe it is the 40 percent loss that most natural resources investors have taken April 1 through Jan. 15, 2012. (80 lashes with the ticker whip) Why not chuck it all in and run with the bull, right? Or at least, get in the picture. (Photo: Dave Hodge, Kirsten Schickendanz of Zimtu Capital, and that dang bull) Better that than sell resource equities and get spine-busting whiplash when these things go bezerk again.

The hits on my Joe Show list included Alberta's Mike Weeks and his Angkor Gold (ANK in Canada), whose shares I now own and whose projects I intend to see in northeast Cambodia real soon. I have a feeling about this ANK, like when I decided to check out Oyu Tolgoi at Ivanhoe Mines for the first time eight or nine years ago in Mongolia. ("It's the copper, Charlie; no Paulie, it's the gold. The copper, Charlie. No the gold, you numb-skull." Editor -- Obscure reference to "The Pope Of Greenwich Village")

Mike Weeks and the rest of the insiders at Angkor own about 22 percent of the shares at an average of 34 cents. It's 39 cents right now -- my price paid. (I broke my rule on this one and bought 50,000 shares BEFORE seeing the project.) I think the company has $2 million in the treasury.

[caption id="attachment_1195" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Joe Martin, left, and Glenn Mullan"][/caption]

Mr. Weeks and his wife, Delayne Adams, run the Angkor shop; ANK has something along the lines of 2,600 square kilometers of gold (and some copper) properties in hand. Mr. Weeks, 56, sealed petroleum contracts in Libya and other North Africa and European nations for 10 years. He's a thin white-haired guy who likes American football and donating medical supplies to Cambodian hospitals.

What else? I'll be at Joe Martin's Indian Wells, California, Investment Show in a couple of weeks. That's in the desert, and I can't wait. I will be unveiling a few facts about a handful of high-risk natural resource holdings. Even the fup-the-duck experts don't see a few of these coming. (I hear-tell my pals from will be there in force, some with golf clubs, others with gold clubs.)

I also am getting into the coloured diamond scene, or learning about it, anyway -- from Colin Ferguson of Vancouver Island. Mr. Ferguson will be in the Palm Desert romancing his champagne-hued stones. Please don't tell my wife. (Editor: Please don't tell Joe Martin's wife, either.)

Finally, I wanted to rip out a few of the semi-annual speaker picks for their projected big gainers. These speak-up dinners for conference speakers come in January and June at the Speakers Dinners. Nice name. This year's hosts, by the way, were Joe Martin, Howard Katz's Tamaka Gold, Glenn Mullan's Golden Valley Mines (GZZ) and dinner organizer Tydewell Consulting. (Photo: Joe Martin & Glenn Mullan duck (fup that duck again ...) the pouring rain at a Vancouver pub -- Thom Calandra photo)

Hy's steakhouse was the beef-eater joint to beat that evening: smokin'. Every one of the talking heads donated $20; whoever scores top gainer in June gets to donate the lot to her or his favorite charity. (See: "Hy's The Sequel June 2012") Some of the resources selected: Ghana's Pelangio (PX); Colombia's Petrodorado Energy (PDQ); Lincoln Mining (LMG); Champon MInerals (CHM); Angkor Gold (mentioned twice); Nicaragua's Calibre Mining (CXB). (I own shares of Calibre [two-plus years and running] and shares of Angkor; my choice was Angkor ... like I said, a high-risk hunch on a country, Cambodia, that could use the gold, the copper, the jobs and plenty of hospital equipment and wheelchairs. Who says Myanmar and Laos have to get all the attention in that part of the world, anyway?)

Read More Thom @ Large Reports Here at The Cafe and at a service of Torrey Hills Capital of Del Mar, California.

-- THOM CALANDRA is a principal of Torrey Hills Capital and a lifelong journalist. He co-founded CBS MarketWatch and FT MarketWatch. His reviews of natural resources companies and on-site visits have become standards for independent coverage. Thom is an investor and a speaker for Cambridge House in Canada and California and the New Orleans Investment Conference. He also speaks in San Francisco, New York and in Europe. He lives with his family in California and will be speaking in mid-February at Joe Martin's new Indian Wells, California, Investment Show.