Re: Friday, November 21, 2008
Certain statements contained in this investor update
may be considered
as forward-looking. Such forward-looking statements are subject to
risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ
materially from estimated or implied results.
Most of us are painfully aware of the current turbulent economic
conditions and the horrendous destruction of market value that occurred
in October. The bad news continues both on a macro-scale and in
specific sectors; witness the deep, systemic weakness
in the North
American auto sector and closer to home, the debt problems at the
senior base metals producer, Teck. Not only
companies are trading at their cash value or less, mid-tier producers
such as Hudbay Minerals and Inmet
also receive little or no market
value for their operations and growth projects. There are many other
examples of equity valuations at historically low levels; prices which
under "normal" conditions would be seen as great buys.
these days are anything but normal and investors large and small are
going to cash either due to fear or financial necessity.
With predictions that the global economies will suffer recession and
deflation throughout much of next year and share valuations ground down
to the lowest levels in recent memory, is there room for optimism in
junior mining sector? Firstly the exploration business is by its very
nature optimistic so a "hope for the best" attitude is pretty well
of our industry's DNA. However, in these times the flip side of
looking for the silver lining is to "prepare for the worst". At
Cornerstone we are doing our strategic planning while staying positive
about the future.
On the preparations side, we continue to cut costs and minimize
expenditures to the extent possible. We have further reduced staff in
both Canada and Ecuador as well as limited other overhead costs. Our
current burn rate on exploration programs is mitigated by sharing costs
with partners and accessing government support programs. Budgets for
next year have been designed to conserve cash while maintaining the
company's viability. We are also aggressively seeking joint venture
partners for a number of our projects from various interested parties.
On the positive side of the coin, we are drilling on the Little Deer
copper prospect with joint venture partner Thundermin
Jim Franklin, an expert on volcanogenic base metals deposits, recently
visited the property to evaluate the exploration results and was
impressed with the scale of the copper mineralized zone. Good grade
copper has been intersected over a total strike length of 900 m and is
still open to the west and at depth, leaving lots of room to expand the
known mineralization. We continue to be encouraged by results and
expect to release updated project information in the near future.
One sector which may provide some early relief to mining equities is
precious metals. Once the world realizes that it is awash in US
dollars, I believe we will see stronger gold and silver pricing as
these metals regain their traditional monetary role for investors
seeking a stable store of wealth in preference to paper backed by shaky
financial institutions. A rebound should be good for gold miners and
exploration companies with excellent discovery opportunities.
Cornerstone has those opportunities -- the caveat being that they are
So what do we see happening with our prospects there? Well finally
there is real progress with the new mining law. President Correa sent
the final draft to the legislative body on November 14th with
instructions to pass it quickly while maintaining the spirit of the
document. It seems clear the law will be enacted before January 3rd
which is the deadline for the Mining Mandate. The law Correa has
approved is not all the industry could have hoped for but should
provide a workable framework for companies already established in the
country. The law has several important features; it declares mining a
strategic sector, it is an organic law which means it is not secondary
to laws such as environment and water resources and it explicitly ends
the Mining Mandate, a legal necessity to prevent future application of
the mandate's provisions. Less favourable are the high royalty rate
(5% minimum), the continuing uncertainty surrounding exploitation
contracts and the high land holding costs during exploration ($5/ha
escalating to $10/ha after the fourth year). Nevertheless, the
government has shown a willingness to adapt and work with the industry.
The law in its current form is a much better document than its earlier
versions following consultation with public and industry stakeholders.
In short, we believe the government will support and encourage
resumption of exploration and mine development as quickly as possible.
Colin B McKenzie, President & CEO
Cornerstone Capital Resources Inc.
Excellence in Mineral Exploration
"People, Process, Projects"
TSXV - "CGP" / OTC - "CTNXF"
F - "GWN" / B - "GWN"
Toll Free 1-877-277-8377
Copyright (c) 2008 CORNERSTONE CAPITAL RESOURCES INC. (CGP) All rights
reserved. For more information visit our website at
http://www.cornerstoneresources.com/ or send
Message sent on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 5:30:00 AM Pacific Time