Bottom-Fish Comment - July 18, 2012: Bottom-Fish Strategy for Troon Ventures Ltd
Troon Ventures Ltd was recommended a low priority bottom-fish buy in the $0.30-$0.49 range on July 13, 2012 despite having accomplished nothing since its predecessor Norcal Resources Inc underwent a 5:1 rollback on June 18, 2002. In fact, not even two private placements in early 2008, which first loaded up key members of the Northair Group at $0.25 and then their fan club of very important brokers at $0.45, filling a treasury which today still stands at $8.6 million, prodded management to generate a story that might make its shareholders some money. On May 28, 2012 the TSXV dumped Troon into the H-Box, a special category that prevents the company from issuing stock options and engaging in a variety of transactions. A month later the long standing "interim" CEO Colin Benner announced that Andrea Zaradic would become the new CEO and granted her 500,000 options at $0.40. Her task is to help the busy management team find a "high quality mineral asset". Zaradic is an engineer who has worked on the Esaase gold project of Keegan, the Onca Puma nickel project of Canico, and the geothermal projects of Magma Energy. She comes with good credentials, but, given that Troon spends nowhere near the money Roman Shklanka's Kobex spends looking for a worthwhile project (without success I might add), one wonders how long it will take for Troon to get a life. It may be that Troon will have to go back to its discovery exploration roots when its predecessor, Norcal came up with the NorGiant project, a Big Anomaly story that used geophysical surveys to test the theory that rocks to the east of the Abitibi Greenstone Belt had been incorrectly mapped as rocks of the Grenville Province and that this large land play was in fact prospective for VMS deposits. NorGiant was a bust, and for Troon's shareholders the next decade was a bust because the market focused on advanced resource projects rather than discovery exploration plays. The trouble with Troon is that even after the structuring events in 2008 the company had too many celebrities on board, meaning that management lacked a power structure that could generate and execute a story. Given that the primary market concern these days is how low will metal prices fall from their current levels, followed closely by a competition among third world countries to outdo each other with resource nationalism stunts, the chances of a junior latching onto a good deposit on reasonable terms are bleak. We are in a market where if a project does not have a 43-101 resource supported deposit, it has nothing, and if it does, the junior will soon enough have nothing. It will be a while before the resource nationalism pendulum swings back to levels where the second anxiety will diminish, but we are heading into a discovery cycle of the sort that prevailed from 1982-2002. The current glass half-empty attitude can switch abruptly, signaling to well financed shells like Troon that they should option Big Anomaly exploration plays from distressed juniors. This is a natural direction for Troon to take because it has the technical exploration infrastructure of the Northair Group at its disposal. The heavy hitter structure of this shell cannot possibly deliver a score with the complexity of Beethoven's ninth symphony, but it is quite capable of breaking out banjos and ukuleles to celebrate a discovery play in bluegrass style. Troon has been a dud member of quite a few bottom-fish editions, and I repeat it only because I think this bottom-fish is perfect for a discovery cycle market. Hail to the Return of Arequipa, the Ultimate Big Anomaly!