The market capitalisation of the six biggest gold miners combined is US$32 billion or the same as LinkedIn. The market capitalisations of BHP, Rio Tinto, Anglo American, Glencore and Vale combined is now only US$211 billion. The market capitalisation of Facebook is a cool US$308 billion. Commodities have a finite supply which should support price. But it seems the demand for free communication through the Ethernet in this lonely world is virtually unlimited. Surely there is something strange here. How do you monetise free communication at such lofty valuations? I am told that it is a secret. Is the emperor wearing any clothes?
This week my home city of Dublin hosted an annual Web summit. Some 43,000 delegates attended the event from 134 countries. With that many souls it is even bigger than the annual miners and prospectors convention (PDAC) in Toronto. The Web summit will go to Portugal for the next three years because of a silly row between the organisers and our government.
There was a time when we lived in the physical world. We made things and we farmed and we sold what we produced. The industrial revolution brought machines to do the grunt work. Mechanisation led to accelerated productivity and a concentration of wealth. Growth led to huge demand for commodities.
Entrepreneurial industrialists became ruthless through greed and later assuaged their gilt through philanthropy. In the developed world we need to spend less and less of our income on sustaining ourselves. Consequently we have more money and time to think and chat and surf the world-wide-web. Now we are in the knowledge age. Our disconnection as humans shows in the popularity of social media sites like Facebook. We have become distracted and less inclined to focus. The average smart phone user picks up their device more than 1,500 times per week. How will this new experiment at the interface between human and technology affect our children?
Is the big idea the imperative to ensure the final ascent of the struggling masses. If the developed world does not realise the ascent of the undeveloped world and unlock its promise then it looks like it will be over run sooner rather than later. On a more banal note this ascent will need infrastructure which will consume metals. Without equality Facebook will be just a way for the masses to share their misery.
John P. Barry
Managing Director of Irus Consulting Ltd. and Professional Geologist
A widely travelled and highly experienced economic geologist, John Barry is a confidential counsellor to the likely investor contemplating a considerable investment in the intricate business of mining metals. Dont take a flyer and trust altogether in luck and invest your money in an exploration or mining project on the strength of a printed prospectus or the advice of an interested friend without the preliminary investigation and site visit of a reliable geologist with a basic grasp of commerical reality. Irus Consulting provides strategic and practical management advice and guidance to its clients. Time is a precious commodity for my clients, and indeed myself, as it relentlessly ebbs away and so I try as best I can to avoid the mediocre - those projects and their champions which do not engender enthusiastic belief and passion.
Irus Services Include:
- High-level strategic advice
- Practical guidance and assistance on project sourcing, acquisition and implementation
- Rapid identification of key project value-drivers and potential fatal flaws.
- Capacity building and coordination of external consultants.
- Design and targeting of effective marketing campaigns
John Barry was part of very small teams which discovered and sourced several multi-million ounce gold deposits in Africa. He has worked as an economic geologist since 1988 and as a consultant and then responding to the entrepreneurial spirit he was a founder and manager of three public resource companies which raised a total of US$70million. These resource companies are currently successfully exploring and developing gold and base metal projects in Europe, and sub-Sahara Africa. John has seen a lot of rocks working for consultancies such as CSA in both Ireland and Australia and as Senior Associate Geologist with Chlumsky Armbrust & Meyer LLC which is based in Denver. He is a specialist in zin-lead exploration and in 1992 joined the exploration team which discovered the Lisheen zinc-lead deposit in Ireland as the resource was being expanded in the first couple of years after discovery and in 2008 led the first non Polish exploration company to successfully enter and acquire a major resource-project in the Upper Silesian Mississippi-Valley-Type (MVT) zinc-lead district in southern Poland the worlds largest minerlised district of its kind. John (P.Geo and EurGeol) holds a Masters Degree in Geology from Pennsylvania State University and a MBA from the Edinburgh School of Business, Heriot-Watt University, Scotland.
I would like to think that I have shown the tenacity, patience and focus required to implement many of my better ideas over the years and that I have learned valuable lessons from some failures. I believe one of my strengths is in communicating quite complex technical ideas in a concrete way that can be easily understood. I am a team- builder and motivator by projecting my enthusiasm and vision for a project. I am committed to the development of young geologists through supportive delegation. John is now moving more from managing public companies to freelance consultancy and a more advisory role so as to concentrate increasingly on assisting management in effective exploration and discovery. He is Managing Director of his own Exploration Management and Geological Consultancy: Irus Consulting Ltd. Please visit www.irusconsulting.com for more information and free newsletter registration.
John is now moving more from managing public companies to freelance consultancy and a more advisory role so as to concentrate increasingly on assisting management in effective exploration and discovery. He is MD of his own Exploration Management and Geological Consultancy Irus Consulting Ltd.