XL: Am I correct in saying you’ve been practicing law for over 55 years now?
Yes, I was called to the bar in 1950, so 56 years.
XL: And how did you first become involved in the resource sector?
Well, in the 1960s, I invested in a company. I put twelve thousand into it, and lost that. (chuckles) That’s when I decided I’d better get on the other side of the table. So I set up a company called Christina Lake Mines Ltd, and I went from there. Subsequently I became involved with Pyramid Mines Ltd.
After months of government delays, Prophecy Resource (V.PCY) finally received the green light for production at its Ulaan Ovoo coal project in Mongolia. A Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy team visited the mine site on October 4 for a final permit inspection and, according to PCY management, "drew satisfactory conclusions." This is the last step before production, though management is still waiting on the actual mine permit. A trial run of 10,000 tonnes of coal production for power stations in Darkhan and Erdenet, two of Mongolia's largest cities, has been approved.
Red Hill Energy (V.RH) management has been busy lately, as a proposed merger is underway with Prophecy Resource Corp (V.PCY). Essentially, all Red Hill’s Mongolian coal assets will transfer to PCY, and the non-coal assets, along with a million in cash, spin into a new private entity called Elissa Resources Ltd. Those assets are all early-stage projects in rare earths, gold, and lithium. In time, the company plans to take Elissa public on the Venture exchange.
IEC declared last month that they received a positive pre-feasibility study on their Contact Copper project in Nevada. The report says that with current resources, Contact can produce 21.9 million pounds copper per year over a seven-year period at a cash cost of $0.97/lb. The initial capital cost is estimated at $83 million. If developed, the project will have an after-tax net present value at 10% discount rate of $9.7 million, an internal rate of return of 13.2%, and a payback period of 4.6 years at a copper price of $2.25/lb.
Arnold “Arnie” Armstrong is a man whose reputation precedes him. He has been a market-mover in the resource sector since the 1960s. He orchestrated the rise of Pyramid Mines, which discovered the massive lead-zinc deposit at Pine Point in the Northwest Territories of Canada in 1965. Pyramid was so widely held that the discovery set off a major flood of investment into the entire resource sector and started a claim-rush that had every piece of land from Pine Point down to the U.S. border staked.
He dueled with the taxation department of Canada’s federal government for three years over the sale of Pyramid Mines to Pine Point Mines. His legal expertise and focus on detail helped him put together an unstoppable case. Eventually, Revenue Canada (now the Canada Revenue Agency) gave up, and Arnold distributed every penny of the proceeds directly to his shareholders.
Arnold moved into the energy sector in the 1970s, working with a number of successful oil and gas companies. He also entered the real estate market, taking on Howard Hughes in Las Vegas for the rights to the Landmark Hotel. He ended up taking control of a chain of casinos in British Columbia, Canada, that has grown over the years into the Gateway Income Trust valued at around $1 billion. He’s operated in the real estate market through various companies, including View Mont Estates ltd., Panorama Origins Inc, Armada Investments Ltd, Coral Investments Ltd.
Arnold is the past chairman and chief executive officer of SKN Resources. He was responsible for taking the company – which was barely worth anything – bringing Dr. Rui Feng on board, and ending up with the world-class Ying silver deposit in China. SKN Resources became Silvercorp Metals Inc, and through the Ying deposit, it became one of the world’s major silver-producing companies.
He is also the past president of Ivory Oil and Minerals Inc. (now Ivory Energy Inc.); chairman and chief executive officer and last president of UGL Enterprises (now Red Hill Energy Inc.), and the president and director of Gibson's Hotel Inc., which owns and operates a 370-berth marina at Gibson's, British Columbia.
Arnold worked as the past president of the North Vancouver International Lions Club; past chairman of the joint management committee for the BC Society for Crippled Children and Kiwanis Mothers March.
Arnold holds a bachelor of law. He was called to the British Columbia bar in 1950 and continues to practice corporate and commercial law. Since May 2003, Arnold has practiced law as a barrister and solicitor with Armstrong Simpson, and prior to that, with the predecessor firm of Armstrong & Company.
Arnold’s legal tradition is bring carried on by the rest of the Armstrong clan. Arnold’s son, Brad, has a doctorate in law from McGill and works with him on the board on International Enexco, heading up the environmental team. His other son, Mike, is a lawyer as well. Mike works as part of Armstrong Simpson Barristers & Solicitors, defending other lawyers against charges of negligence.
With no intention to retire, Arnold is as active today as he was four decades ago.