Osisko Sees Perfect Storm Brewing For Base Metals
(Kitco News) - One of Canada’s most renowned gold mining companies is wading into the base metals sector, particularly zinc, as prices continue to trade near their highest level in more than ten years.
Osisko Metals is celebrating its first year of operation as it continues to develop two of Canada’s most prominent past producing zinc mining camps.
The Osisko brand is more known for its success in the precious metals sector as it developed its Canadian Malartic project, country’s largest open-pit gold mine now owned by Agnico Eagle and Yamana Gold.
Jeff Hussey, President and CEO of Osisko Metals, said that because of current market conditions it makes sense to capitalize on the momentum in the base metals market.
Hussey highlighted zinc, saying that the metal’s supply and demand fundamentals will continue to support elevated prices for the foreseeable future.
The CEO explained that the metal is a critical component in galvanized steel, which is used extensively in construction material.
He added that because of growing global economy, demand for zinc is on the rise, but supply is limited due to significant mine closures since 2013. Hussey pointed out that there are very few zinc projects in the pipeline that will dramatically shift the market dynamics.
“We are very bullish on zinc. We are currently experiencing a perfect storm for zinc and it will be this way for the next three years at least. We see a similar forecast for copper, but it will take a few more years,” he said. “We see lots of runway for prices in base metals to increase.”
For that reason, the Company continues to move full steam ahead exploring and developing its Pine Point Mining Camp zinc project in Canada’s Northwest Territories and its Bathurst Mining Camp project in New Brunswick. Both of these camps have a long history of zinc production and Hussey said that they are planning to build the resource base first and then move towards development as soon as possible.
Osisko Metals also has a grass-roots zinc exploration project portfolio in Quebec which it hopes to selectively advance throughout 2018.
The Company was able to raise $41 million within its first year, which Hussey said attests to the Osisko brand, but also growing investor interest in the base metal commodity sector. “We are especially pleased to receive such strong support from institutional investors,” he said.
Key shareholders in Osisko Metals include both Osisko Mining and Osisko Gold Royalties, M&G Investment Management, JP Morgan Asset Management and Blackrock Investment Management. The Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec is also a prominent shareholder.
While there is some concern that the U.S. economy is entering the late stage of a business cycle, Hussey said that he is not afraid of a looming U.S. recession due to the growth and strength in the global market.
He noted that India and China will continue to need zinc as they develop and build their infrastructure. “Unlike previous business cycles, the global economy is less reliant on the U.S.,” he said. “We are quite confident in the growth of the global economy.”