Mercenary Geologist business has three facets:
and foremost, I am a field geologist, mapper, and prospector who subscribes
to the David Lowell School of “Boot Leather and Drilling”. I am a
dedicated career professional who welcomes the challenge and reward of
working in remote and primitive conditions. In more than three decades of
experience, I have seen nearly every rock type on the planet and have
experience in exploration and evaluation of a multitude of commodities in
diverse geological environments.
I am an exploration and mining analyst specializing in evaluation of
projects, companies, and business development within the junior resource
sector. The last 17 years of my career have been devoted exclusively to the
venture capital business. During this time I have developed a strong
network of professional contacts that constitute a “who’s
who” of the mining and exploration business, while also becoming an
investor, economist, and evaluator of junior exploration and mining companies
and their projects. My field experience as a “for hire” (hence
Mercenary) consultant for most of my career enables me to deliver an opinion
on the merits of a project and company in a rapid and efficient manner.
I am a mentor to young geologists and students. I have a deep passion for
exploration and mining and a sense of responsibility to my professional
community. This business “been berra berra good... to me” and that is motivation to give
back knowledge and communicate my experiences to those bright minds who are
the future creators of new wealth on our Earth.
first and second business efforts afford me a nice living. The third
generates no capital but I approach it as diligently and enthusiastically as
is an integral part of the progress and development of human society.
of us are fortunate enough to have special teachers who inspired our
educations and careers by passing along knowledge and wisdom gained thru
their prior experiences. Every successful professional can point to a very
few older people, be they parents, school teachers, college professors, or
job supervisors, who profoundly influenced his educational and career path.
that introduction, I credit those who have mentored me in my development as a
person, geologist, scientist, and writer.
first mentor of course was my father. Dad put a baseball in my left hand and
a glove on my right hand when I was three or four years old. The family has
an old Brownie photo to prove it. As a result, I developed a lifelong love
affair with the game of baseball both as a player and a spectator. He taught
me how to fish. I am a very good fisherman. As I detailed before, he also
gave me a gambling streak, which has proven to be of enormous value investing
in the venture capital arena (Mercenary Musing, September 15,
mother lent me financial sense. She taught me to save, be frugal, and most
importantly, that debt is bad. Because of her guidance, I have incurred only
one substantial debt: My small hobby farm in central New Mexico’s South
Valley bought in 1984 and paid off in 13 ½ years. I have no intent to
assume debt again in my life, have never carried credit card debt, and pay
cash for any personal necessity or discretionary item or I do not buy.
people have told me that I write well. I sincerely appreciate those
compliments and give credit to my 6th grade teacher and mentor, Mr. Edgar Balden (Yes, he was bald as a cue ball!). An integral
part of his honors English class was a minimum one page “theme”,
the subject of which was assigned on Friday, written over the weekend, and
turned in on Monday morning. I must confess sometimes despising this task and
often procrastinated writing until Sunday night, much to my mother’s
chagrin. But his weekly assignment forced me to think, be creative and
disciplined, and become an effective writer. In retrospect, it was then that
I first developed intense focus under pressure of a looming deadline.
I launched my website and newsletter in April 2008, I thought about Mr. Balden and how he was my inspiration to develop a writing
style at age 12. Regrettably, I learned that he died a few months before and
I am unable to give him credit personally.
next mentor was my math teacher as a high school senior. Mr. Marney Nowland was fresh out of
college and so hyperactive and enthused about his subject and his students
that he literally shredded boxes of chalk on the blackboard. He kept a big
towel on hand to wipe the sweat off his brow and the considerable debris off
his hands several times during any given 50 minute lecture. I swear a white
cloud constantly followed him around the classroom.
I had a penchant for science and math, Mr. Nowland
inspired me to be dogged, persistent, and relentless in solving problems. He
stayed after school for two afternoons a week without compensation to teach a
college prep pre-calculus class to a group of his trigonometry students. My
thanks goes to Marney: I
was well prepared for engineering calculus at the university and got an easy
A the following fall.
went to the University of Tulsa as a scholarship engineering student, took
the requisite four semesters of mathematics, chemistry, physics, basic
engineering, and computer science classes, then changed majors to geology
during my junior year. I met my undergraduate advisor and next mentor the
following semester. Dr. Colin Barker was an Oxford graduate, a petroleum
geochemist, and arguably the most astute scientist I have ever known.
thru my senior year, Dr. Barker offered me a job in his research lab and gave
me an office and laboratory space. With his guidance I was able to procure a
student research grant normally restricted to graduate students. It bought
scientific equipment, chemicals, supplies, and reagents for my senior thesis.
I researched an esoteric subject: The release of water from synthetic quartz
crystals as they were heated to melting.
idea was to develop an empirical method for determining the temperature of
formation of quartz in hydrothermal mineral deposits. Though the project was
ultimately inconclusive, it furthered my education immensely. I give Colin
credit for teaching me how to think independently and conduct original
getting an honors B.Sc. degree in Earth Sciences, the next stop in my
educational experience was a Master of Science program in Geology at the
University of New Mexico. I was granted a research assistantship in the
geochemistry professor’s lab. He was not someone I could relate to as a
scientist or a person so after three semesters, we parted ways. I messed
around in geology grad school a couple more semesters, took Spanish classes,
and then went to work in the mineral exploration industry.
first boss in the mineral exploration business is also one of my mentors. In
1976 I took a summer job with Conoco Metallics in
Albuquerque and will never forget my first day on the job: Flying around with
Fred Jenkins in a bubble Bell 47 helicopter examining copper oxide prospects
in northern New Mexico. He showed me the copper oxide nail test that day and
you can see me illustrating the technique as I mentor young geologists in Chile. In 1982, I suggested that the corporate muckety-mucks
at Santa Fe Pacific Mining hire Fred Jenkins as my boss and we worked
together for another five years. Fred taught me the art of prospecting as a
complement to the science of geology and, though now retired, he is still one
of the best prospectors in the Western US.
beating the bush in the western US for three companies over two years, I
decided to go the poor grad student route again and finish my Master’s
program. One day I walked unannounced into Dr. Lee Woodward’s office,
told him I was returning to school, wanted to become a “dumb field
geologist”, and do a mapping thesis under him.
presented Lee with a rudimentary geology and sample map of the mineralized
area chosen for my mapping project and he agreed, perhaps a little
reluctantly given my previous abandonment of the program, to be my thesis
was the best move I ever made.
thank Lee for allowing me to work independently but gladly providing advice
and guidance when asked, and for sharpening my technical writing skills with
his infamous red pen. Despite our collective efforts, my M.Sc. thesis still
became a 199 page book. It just may be the longest Master’s thesis in
the history of New Mexico’s geology department.
Lee Woodward was originally just another of over 20 UNM geology professors to
me and, as chairman of the department, he was a bit intimidating to many grad
students. But he was willing to become my thesis advisor, I won him over with
hard work and determination, we co-authored my first two peer-reviewed
journal papers, and we became successful business partners staking and
leasing mining claims a decade later.
Woodward is my most influential mentor. But most importantly, he is my
lifelong friend. And he is still the best fly fisherman I know.
thanks must go to Lee and his lovely wife Katy.
have been incredibly lucky to have such a cadre of mentors in my life and
would be a much less intelligent and effective geologist if not for these
people who gave so freely and willingly to ensure my success as a student and
professional. They all influenced my life profoundly as a youth and young
a result, I am devoted to mentoring geology students and young professionals
in my chosen business. The premier professional organization for those of my
ilk is the Society of Economic Geologists. I am a Fellow of this group for
over 20 years and voluntarily serve as an SEG Mentor and on the Student Affairs CommitteeI encourage any and all young
geologists to contact me for educational or career advice at any time. I will
respond promptly as my travel schedule permits.
is a page on my website devoted to mentoring activities (Mentoring). I have conducted geology career seminars at the University of New
Mexico and New Mexico Tech and have an upcoming venue this fall at the
University of Utah. In early 2007, I mentored young professionals on a 10 day
field trip to copper mines in northern Chile.
am available to any geology department with students considering careers as
economic geologists and especially those with SEG student chapters. I simply
ask that my out-of-pocket travel expenses be covered.
is an entire generation missing from the profession of “economic
geologist” with few practitioners between the ages of the mid-late
20’s to the mid-late 40’s. There were no exploration or mining
jobs for newly graduating students for most of the past 15-20 years and
university geology departments routinely eliminated positions for Economic
Geologist. Now there are not enough qualified geologists to fill new demand
created by the current commodities boom. I view this as a secular bull market
in commodities that will last until after my generation is gone.
Baby Boomers are now the white haired Chief Executive Officers and gray
bearded Vice President’s of Exploration and
the bald Consulting Geologists and Analysts who run junior resource
companies, manage exploration groups, plan projects, map and develop targets,
assess economics, analyze properties, and evaluate companies for investment
the opposite end are the junior geologists sitting drill rigs or making
computer maps and summer hire students breaking rocks, digging samples, or
dragging IP cable around bush camps.
are few geologists in our business that span the gap between these two groups
in terms of age and experience. Particularly lacking are the senior
geologists with 10-20 years experience.
noted last year that a certain Athabasca Basin uranium explorer listed the
following as its “Technical Team”: A Master’s degree
candidate in geology was the Chief Geologist; a junior in college
“taking some time off from school to work in the industry” was
its drill project geologist; and a camp expediter and prospector “who
knows the area” was the field crew.
fact concerns me greatly. What happens when my generation retires (which I
hope to never do) or dies off? Who will carry the torch?
jokingly refer to myself as a “dinosaur” because I still make
geology maps the old fashioned way: With a topographic map taped on a masonite board, a mylar cover
sheet, Pentel 0.5 mm with hard plastic lead, and a
set of Verithin colored pencils. The only
difference is I now have a GPS which saves me the time-consuming task of
reading the topo map or triangulating to plot my
I am a dinosaur in many more ways than that.
leather and drilling” discovers ore bodies and will continue to do so
for the foreseeable future. Ask the economic geologist who arguably has
created more real wealth than any other man ever to walk the Earth. Ask David
an example, good geological mapping and the resulting conceptual target found
Fruta del Norte, southeastern Ecuador, the largest
new gold deposit discovered in the current commodities cycle.
recent examples that I personally know and cover in my newsletter where
careful surface and/or subsurface mapping and sampling discovered new mineral
deposits or expanded previously know deposits
include: Lydian International’s Amulsar,
Armenia; Premium Exploration’s Orogrande,
Idaho; and Eurasian Minerals’ Grand Bois, Haiti.
are the geological mappers-prospectors to make the discoveries after we are
will be there with the requisite knowledge and experience to search for,
find, and develop the mineral commodities that modern industrialized society
will demand 20-30 years from now?
will the next generation of CEO’s, VP’s, Chief Geologists, and
Analysts come from?
my opinion, it is incumbent for my generation to select the best of the best
and become mentors to those energetic, enthusiastic, up and coming, bright
young geologists who are destined to take our places in the exploration and mining
business as ever-increasing demand in BRIC and emerging countries fuels a
secular bull market in commodities.
fellow Economic Geologists, it is time to give back to this fascinating
business that has allowed all of us to become financially secure and in many
instances, muy rico.
find, and inspire a favorite young geologist to: See the World, Explore,
Develop, and Create Wealth.
help the Earth become a better place for all to live.
Ciao for now,
The Gold Report
articles by Mickey Fulp
Visit The GOLD Report - www.theaureport.com
– a unique, free site featuring summaries of articles from major
publications, specific recommendations from top worldwide analysts and
portfolio managers covering gold stocks, and a directory, with samples, of
precious metals newsletters. To subscribe, please complete our online form,
or send an email with the word 'Subscribe' in the subject field to email@example.com.
The GOLD Report is Copyright © 2005 by
Streetwise Inc. All rights are reserved. Streetwise Inc. hereby grants an
unrestricted license to use or disseminate this copyrighted material
only in whole (and always including this disclaimer), but never in part. The
GOLD Report does not render investment advice and does not endorse or
recommend the business, products, services or securities of any company
mentioned in this report. From time to time, Streetwise Inc. directors,
officers, employees or members of their families may have a long or short
position in securities mentioned and may make purchases and/or sales of those
securities in the open market or otherwise. Streetwise Inc. does not
guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported.