Mickey has a mightily impressive 40+ years of experience as an exploration geologist and analyst. He’s spent much of his career searching for economic deposits of base/precious metals, industrial minerals, coal, uranium, oil & gas, and water in North and South America, Europe, and Asia. He has worked and travelled in 31 countries.
He describes the current U.S. political situation as “scary.” As a Libertarian, he’s been far from impressed by the GOP and the DNC. The fighting has been aggressive and visceral in a way not seen before in modern American politics. It’s the controversial figure of Donald Trump against Dems who think of him as the antichrist; it’s totally polarised. As a result of the bravely-named “Wuhan Flu” and the murder of George Floyd, “violence and anarchy” have descended onto the streets. He attributes the issue to an obvious fact: you can’t lock down male adolescents in inner cities for months and not expect them to go on a rampage once released. It has spread throughout numerous major cities in the US. He is clear: there is an element of anarchy here, and it is malignant.
Matthew Gordon talks to Mickey Fulp, 7th July 2020
Since Trump was inaugurated, a “can-do bureaucracy” has risen to prominence, environmental regulations have been rolled back and mining has been endorsed. There are no longer protracted permitting delays and this can only be a positive for North-American miners. The exploration industry was doing “quite well” in America before COVID-19, but huge disruption has thrown a spanner in the works. Fulp expects that once America works through its economic issues, things will improve sharply. The NASDAQ has already hit all-time record highs in recent weeks, and the S&P 500 is up well over 40% from the bottom. Moreover, the DOW is 8-9% up on its low this year. The markets have functioned and recovered in a “classically shaped” recovery. There are systemic problems in the US economy, and COVID-19 has exacerbated these. The economy is built on a house of cards, with the government spending US$6Tn that the country can’t afford to. Moreover, income tax due states have been postponed twice, so money is being spent with no receipts coming in. Many small businesses are going to go under, or they already have. However, these market conditions have been favourable for the price of gold; it hit a V-shape recovery and has reached an over 7.5-year high. Fulp is clear: the system is going to collapse, we just don’t know when.
What should investors do with this information? The same thing they always do. Investors need to play this just like they would any other economic downturn by buying low and selling higher. They need to “stay the course.” This could actually be a real opportunity for investors to pick up stocks they otherwise wouldn’t have.
The battery metals thematic has been majorly affected by COVID-19. For the 25Mt pa market that is copper, in the short-term, these conditions have been far from ideal, with demand disruption and mining uncertainty; mining produces 21Mt of annual copper. Long-term, the copper narrative is still promising. Copper could be the space to be in, with demand increasing by 3.4% per year since 1900. However, the battery metals/EV revolution narrative has been much more negatively affected. Demand has been compressed enormously, and Fulp states that the most optimistic projection by 2030 for copper demand in electric vehicles is around 500,000t pa: a relatively uninspiring 4% increase in total copper demand. Luckily, the majority of copper demand lies outside of EVs. Right now, with a depressed copper price, many copper equities are priced low, and investors should keep their eyes peeled for a bargain.
We then asked Fulp about mining jurisdictions: what makes a safe jurisdiction? He highlights specific companies and projects in the Americas as his favourite, including Chile, Peru, Mexico, Canada and North America, though none of his dollars are in the former socialist haven of Ecuador. He tends not to “go across ponds” anymore, because he has been “burned so many times before.” It’s all about common sense. Don’t send your money somewhere you wouldn’t freely go yourself.
In terms of uranium, Fulp is still sitting on 3 uranium stocks that he has owned for quite some time, ranging from ISR producers to developers in the US. He is in no hurry, and he believes that uranium will go on a big run eventually. If the stocks go down any further, he’ll be buying some more. 1 in 5 Americans who turned on a light switch get their energy from nuclear fuel. This, combined with dwindling inventories, can only paint a bullish long-term uranium macro story.
What did you make of Mickey Fulp? If we interview him again, what questions would you like us to ask him?
Mickey Fulp’s newsletter can be found at http://www.goldgeologist.com/
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