The Mining Report: Over the last 30 years you’ve been involved in a number of natural resource mining companies as an executive officer, board member and/or investor in your position as managing director at Clarion Finanz, including some controversial projects that made headlines both when they did well and when they failed. Has the structure around junior mining investing changed during that time?
Carlo Civelli: Yes, it certainly has. We have invested in about 900 companies in the last 35 years with commitments ranging from $100,000 to $60 million ($60M). Of course some of them failed, but the majority did well.
We have been involved in every single aspect of financing juniors, including the use of shell companies and mezzanine financing. I was one of the first Europeans to invest in Canadian mining companies and oil and gas companies in the 1980s. At the time there was absolutely no appetite for them. We created the appetite in Europe through our success as an investment company based in London and Zurich. Later a lot of other brokerages moved in the same direction, including Yorkton Securities, where I was a director along with now billionaire investor Frank Giustra, who was named chairman and CEO in 1995.
Today, I don’t see anybody in Europe interested in junior mining or oil companies. The little guys have vanished. The market has become totally illiquid and I think the same can be said about the Canadian markets. When I talk to my friends in the brokerage industry in Vancouver or Toronto or Calgary, they all say that there’s no appetite. Only stocks with production and reserves are doing well in this market. The market doesn’t want to hear about a company until …read more