Reflections on the Denver Gold Forum
This week's Denver Gold Forum was a great success with the keynote speakers predicting great things for gold in the years ahead, although they were largely preaching to the converted.
Posted: Friday , 14 Sep 2012
DENVER (MINEWEB) -
The annual Denver Gold Forum has been over the years perhaps the most significant, and best respected investment related gold mining conference held anywhere in the world - and the organisers, The Denver Gold Group's policy of placing restrictions on the size and quality of the companies presenting, and the quality of the audience, which again is strictly controlled, helps maintain this position.
While the founders of the event, who set it up some 23 years ago, might not recognise the conference as it is today, commercial necessities have meant it has developed from one at which presenting was restricted entirely to senior gold mining companies, and the audience to the institutional investment sector. Gradually some of these restrictions have been relaxed and nowadays it encompasses the major gold miners, who are all present, along with mid tier and junior miners and explorers who have to meet certain market capitalisation criteria to get on the programme, or even to attend as delegates.
There was talk around the conference this year that given the very poor performance of precious metals stocks on the markets there could be as many as 800 junior mining companies unable to survive unless there is a rapid turnaround, which seems unlikely, although the latest U.S. Fed stimulus announcement may provide a little respite given the big upwards kick it gave to the gold price. However the imposed criteria for attending the Denver Gold Forum means that it is unlikely any of those juniors partipating will fall into the extremely vulnerable category - but the poor stock performance of virtually all precious metals companies over the past two years, following the big recoveries from the 2008 crash, did indeed colour the atmosphere and things did seem remarkably subdued despite the sharp rises in the gold and silver prices in the couple of weeks ahead of it.
But nonetheless the conference broke new attendance records according to the organisers, and perhaps more impressive still were the number of one-on-one meetings with more than 5,000 of such requests actioned.
The attendee experience has also improved over the years and this year in particular the organisation was very impressive. This year too there were three special evening receptions where specific groups of junior mining companies got the opportunity to gain some person-to person exposure over and above the opportunities to present in the conference proper.
Keynote conference speakers included Pierre Lassonde and Don Coxe during the main sessions and there were also luncheon presentations by Dr. Thomas Barnett and Matthew Bishop, although the attendance at these luncheons is at extra cost and with numbers thus limited - but at least this year there was a cold lunch available for delegates who did not have tickets to the special lunchtime sessions. However it is a shame that all the delegates do not get access to these interesting presentations.
Another excellent feature was the availability of live webcasts of all the company presentations. Indeed if all one wanted to do at the event was listen to the individual company presentations one could save oneself the travel costs and watch them from home! However the keynote addresses were not available live and anyway the main reason most will have attended the event was for the extensive networking opportunities with key players in the industry from both the mining company corporate and the financial sectors.
Of the main conference keynotes, that from Don Coxe in particular provided a whole batch of very quotable statements - notably: "Richard Nixon should be the patron saint of gold investors","The best climate I have ever seen for increase in the gold price", Bernanke's policies are financial heroin", Prepare for significantly higher increases in the gold price which are inevitable and better performance in gold stocks", "Alan Greenspan the most overrated Fed chairman". He described the Swiss tieing the Franc to the Euro as jumping on to a sinking ship;The setting up of the Euro as an assault on best financial principles and that it wouldn't work as the founders couldn't even agree on a head to have on the currency; and that the U.S. election outcome will see current economic strategies continue regardless of who is elected. He also predicted a new gold rush into gold mining stocks. I think there's little doubt where Coxe stands on gold and the U.S. economy.
Pierre Lassonde, in his keynote on the first full day of the event also pointed to the poor performance of gold stocks vs gold bullion with the latter rising twice as much as the former over the past ten years, and pointed to some of the factors leading to investor disillusionment in gold equities. However he saw the demand side for gold as never being more robust - in particular as wealth grows in India and China where there is a tradition of gold holding, the rise of the gold ETF and of Central Banks coming back into the market to increase their holdings. He ended with the point that on past peaks gold has been at a level of one-to-one with the Dow, with an implication that gold should perhaps rise to $13,000 should the Dow index remain unchanged - or as could be interpreted from this perhaps the Dow could fall to $1750 if the gold price remains unchanged! Whichever, it would mean that he feels that gold should substantially outperform the Dow.
Bur a gold forum of this type will naturally be populated by gold believers - the miners out of necessity and the investors out of commitment. A gold bear would be uncommon amongst this group of people, although there wilol probably have been some analysts present with a fairly balanced viewpoint.
Overall the Denver Gold Forum 2012 was an excellent meeting - largely as noted at the start of this article because of the selective choice of all the participants by the organisers. If you want to attend future events you can apply to www.Denvergold.org and if you meet the criteria you will be offered the opportunity. You may also go to the website to view all the company presentations in webcasts. The next event in the Denver Gold Group's main meetings calendar will be next year's European Gold Forum which runs from April 16th to 18th in Zurich and the Denver Gold Forum from September 22nd to 25th in Denver.