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Essential IR Insights Newsletter - February 2023


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Poké about

Aworld-wide search has been triggered in the past two weeks. The task is toexplore the globe looking for 151 elusive targets. Modern technology and GPS isrequired, not to mention the appropriate exploration method, targetingtechnique and lots of patience.

Skillsare enhanced by experience and distance covered, which is handy because thetargets can be found almost anywhere, although they are mostly grouped inpre-determined clusters. Advice is free and plentiful but expenditure helpsidentify the most prospective locations, and then improves your chance ofisolating the target.

Thereare lots of mining companies in Vancouver and Perth that can identify withthese attributes, but the search isn't for copper, gold or coal. The initialtargets are Squirtle, Bulbasaur and Charmander, followed by the 148 otherPokémon.

PokémonGo is a free-to-play, location-based, augmented-reality mobile game that wasdeveloped by Niantic Inc., a former Google subsidiary. It makes use of GPS andthe camera of compatible devices to capture, battle and train virtualcreatures, called Pokémon. These creatures (short for Pocket Monsters) appearon device screens as though in the real world. They are based on a video game,developed by Game Freak and Creatures Inc., which was first released in Japanby Nintendo Co. in 1996 for the Game Boy device.

Theupdated game was conceived in 2014 by Satoru Iwata of Nintendo and TsunekazuIshihara of The Pokémon Co. as an April Fool's Day collaboration with Google.It caught on, and a full version was released in Australia, New Zealand and theU.S. on July 6, and in another 34 countries over the following two weeks, withthe game arriving in Japan today, July 21.

Playerscreate an avatar by selecting hair, skin and eye color, plus a style andoutfit. Location maps feature Poké Stops and Pokémon gyms. The former provideplayers with lures that attract Pokémon, while the gyms serve as battlelocations.

SNLMetals & Mining clients might wish to target Geodude, which is a dual-typeRock/Ground Pokémon. I am advised that Geodude can be most often found onmountain trails and fields, and that it evolves into Graveler (starting atlevel 25), which changes into Golem when traded. You might also seek out the 20rarest Pokémon, which lists as Charizard, Ditto,Omastar, Charmeleon, Dragonair, Muk, Vaporeon, Machamp, Ivysaur, Venusaur,Blastoise, Nidoqueen, Nidoking, Vileplume, Poliwrath, Alakazam, Weepinbell,Victreebel, Slowbro and Marowak.

Areview this week on chose the three favorite Pokémon based ontheir battle ability, style, vibe and "a certain je ne sais quoi." Ifyou are interested, third was Pikachu, which "is the face of thefranchise," second was Squirtle, "quite simply, a boss, and the chillestPokémon," and in top spot was Charizard, "it just feels right that adino-dragon creature would be top of the heap."

Inthe real world, the favorite search target remains gold. SNL Metals &Mining's recently published IndustryMonitor reportsthat global drilling activity rose sharply in June after falling in May.Overall, the total number of distinct projects reporting drilling increased to152, up from 114 in May. This increase was almost entirely due to gold, withthe number of projects reporting gold assays jumping to 108 in June from 71 theprevious month.

Thenumber of initial resource announcements rose to six in June, from five in May,and the attributed value of US$15.9 billion for June represented a five-foldincrease on the amount recorded the previous month. However, gold accounted foronly the third most valuable new resource announced in June. This was the2.6 million tonne resource,grading 4.6 g/t, at the Moonlight Shear deposit on Blackham Resources Ltd.'sMatilda project in Western Australia.

Theimproved drilling activity and initial resources in June were reflected in SNLMetals & Mining's Pipeline Activity Index, which rose for the fourthconsecutive month.

Financeraised last month by companies with annual revenue of less than US$500 million(broadly the explorers and junior miners) improved slightly to US$898 million,compared with US$849 million in May. Gold accounted for 130 of the 179 financingsby this group of companies in June, representing 43% of the funds raised.

Theestimate by Industry Monitor of the market value of the industry's listedcompanies (based on 2,548 firms) rose for the fourth time in five months toUS$1.07 trillion. This is an encouraging trend, but the industry is stillvalued at barely two-thirds of the level prevailing two years ago.

Talkingof market valuations: despite owning only a 33% stake in the Pokémon franchise,Nintendo's valuation has doubled to over US$42 billion since the release ofPokémon Go. It is a shame there isn't a mining company with the developmentnous of Nintendo, or an explorer with the flair of Niantic.