May 19, 2010 – The 2010 New York Hard Asset Investment Conference



Note to Chicago area readers: Please get your orders in for my June 11 Chicago strategy luncheon. As I am an out-of-towner and one of those suspicious left coaters, the Union League Club is asking me to confirm firm numbers well in advance.


1) The 2010 New York Hard Asset Investment Conference. Attending the New York Hard Asset Investment Conference as a keynote speaker last week, I learned that the people who inhabit this world are different from you and I. They camp in remote, mosquito infested swamps, risking hepatitis or dysentery, or 100 degree below zero temperature in the frozen wastelands of the north. The mines in which they toil present dangerous and claustrophobic working conditions in unbearably hot deserts and stifling jungles. They do this in the world's most corrupt countries where they will happily expropriate your holdings and throw you in fetid, stinking jails if the required 'consulting fees' go unpaid. They do all of this so when you shake their hardened, calloused hands with red dirt under their fingernails and you look into their darkly tanned faces they can tell you with the fervence of a religious zealot that the value of their metal, ore, mines, exploration rights, or stock price are about to take off like a rocket. Perhaps it was appropriate that gold hit a new all time high during the conference, which explained why so many of the visitors seemed to be floating by on a cushion of air. These were the hard core faithful who suffered a 20-year bear market in hard assets, and even hung on during the dark days when gold plumbed the depths to $260/ounce in 1999, and were now witnessing the second coming. The gold and silver coins dealers were there in force with their usual patter and free lotteries. There were a number of new Canadian mining companies raising money for an IPO or a secondary on the back of their latest findings in the field. The uranium and yellow cake producers were waxing eloquent about the nuclear power boom in China and the coming renaissance in the US (click here for my piece). The poster child for the conference had to be the rare earths and the reopening of the old Molycorp mine at Mountain Pass, California (click here for my earlier piece), despite the small $1.4 billion size of the global market. After delivering my speech, where I put the long term bull market for all hard assets in a global context, I spent many hours manning the Mad Hedge Fund Trader's table at the Times Square Marriot conference, taking on all comers. What I heard was fascinating. I have learned the hard way that telling everyone that I sold all of my real estate in 2005 and put the proceeds into gold is a great way to get conspicuously uninvited to future dinner parties. I never hear about anyone else doing the same. At the conference at least 30 others told me they made the same bet. I received no end of tips about better than expected assay result from exploratory core drillings in British Columbia, Chile, and Gambia. All in all, it gave a great overview on many key commodities and precious metals that are in long term bull markets. There are few sure things in life, but one for me is that I will be attending the next Hard Asset Investment Conference in San Francisco November 21-22, 2010 (click here) for the link at ), which is free for all comers. 

Rareearthoxides-1.jpg picture by madhedge