Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the
round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're
not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify
them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change
things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the
crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that
they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Steve Jobs
US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 - 2011)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Battlefield Labrador - the Ore Race.

The big announcement last week of Danny Williams appointment as "Special Advisor to the Chairman" of Alderon Iron Ore Corp certainly turned heads in the Province. Until that point the exploration business in Labrador was essentially cruising along under the radar for most of the Province, and perhaps it will return there again. Just for now though a big spot light has been placed on Newfoundland and Labrador's version of the "Gold Rush".

On the face of things Labrador, and to some extent Newfoundland, are being swarmed by what have been commonly referred to as "penny stocks" or "juniors". They've been scouring the Labrador trough, staking claims as they go. Selling their stocks on the OTC (Over the Counter), and TSE venture exchanges. Predicting massive deposits of iron ore, or other such minerals. Their stocks rise and fall on every new announcement. Like Generals they search for an advantage over their adversaries.

That is on the face of it. Dig a little deeper and something else appears. Take for instance New Millennium Iron Corp. established as a junior exploration company, a one man outfit, to pursue an iron ore deposit in Labrador. The company was named LabMag Mining Corp. (LMC). The corporation was first incorporated as New Millennium Capital Corp. on August 8th, 2003. On June 8th, 2011, with the approval of shareholders, the company's name was officially changed to New Millennium Iron Corp. In October 2008, NML signed a strategic partnership contract with Tata Steel who as part of the transaction purchased 19.9% percent of NML's shares for about C$23.0 million. That is Tata Steel of India.

Tata Steel has "captured" mines in India for its operations there, but found itself without captured mines for its European operations. In an effort to change this strategically, Tata decided to get involved in the Labrador Trough. Geographically, Labrador is far closer to Europe than Brazil - an export leader in raw iron ore. Tata took an ownership position in tiny New Millenium, and directorships on its Board. Tata has taken over control of New Millenium's Taconite and DSO projects with exclusivity agreements involving sliding exploration investments and percentages of control .

In a similar play, there is Century Iron Mines Corp (CIMC) - read China. Whether they are partnering with Quebec juniors like Augyva Mining Resources Inc, or "Newfoundland" based juniors like Altius, the pattern remains the same - finance the exploration for a controlling interest and then gently push those pesky juniors out of the way for an ongoing royalty of between half a percent and three percent of gross production.

The result is a wild wild West atmosphere. The kind of atmosphere that surrounded the great rush to riches of the Gold Rush days. This time though its about the big boys. This time it is country vs country. Corporation vs corporation. Sure their are some wanna bes sprinkled in for good measure, and surely they will get a little sprinkle. Even Danny Williams and his inside people have managed somehow to work their way into the action, but make no mistake, they are tiny little fish in a very large bowl swimming with giants. The real action here is control of Labrador's resources from uranium to iron ore, and everywhere in between. Will the North Americans come out on top? Will China and/or India rule the day? Will they co-exist? Right now it's hard to say. In the end they are like Generals on the battlefield - battlefield Labrador.

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