Adam Travis, president and CEO of Colorado Resources Ltd., and his technical team are putting the finishing touches on a geological discovery presentation he’ll deliver to potential investors in Toronto tomorrow. His head office is not on Howe Street with “the set,” but just off Gellatly Road in West Kelowna. Spacious offices with huge windows and walls of ochre, deep desert orange and azure blues convey that distinct Okanagan feel of laidback casual with an undertone of serious business. That tone, the deliberate choice of the Okanagan as a physical base, and the reliance on thorough technical geological work, are fundamentals for Adam Travis. In these dark times in the global market economy, this junior exploration company shines a light.
In a boardroom in downtown Toronto, Travis will present his company’s position on one of B.C.’s newest geological finds currently on the market: North ROK . Travis has been involved in the exploration sector for more than 20 years – from fieldwork to boardroom presentations, his motivation comes back to “finding that needle in the haystack.” In today’s markets, he says he relies on advice Bob Dickinson gave him long ago: “Adam, never stop believing.” Travis adds emphatically, “It’s never a sprint; it’s always a marathon.”
After going public in November 2010 with Colorado Resources when the markets were still pretty good, Travis and his team have had a bumpy run since the markets’ downturn. It all comes back to the wariness and weariness of investors, says Travis. “It’s a jittery market. Most people are down and out, and unless a junior company comes up with something spectacular, you’re not getting a positive response. Expectations are high.”
Travis is dealing with that market fallout on the North ROK property, where, in April 2013, his company drilled the best hole for porphyry copper-gold in B.C. in over 10 years. On the release of that result, the company’s share price went from 15 cents to almost a $1.50. It raised more money for further drilling. While Travis is pleased that the average grade of 10 holes drilled is similar to that of the Red Chris development just 15 kilometres away, the market response was not so positive. Colorado Resources’ shares fell and its market cap was knocked down by 30 per cent.
Travis continues, “The upside is that hole No. 1 has been one of the best things that’s happened to our company, but the downside is that it’s also been one of the worst things.” The irony is it’s the best hole drilled to date, so all the subsequent news, even though it’s good, has been met with disappointment. Shaking his head, Travis says, “It’s all about perception and a tough market. This summer, I got charged by two grizzlies out in the bush and I thought that was tough – until I came back and saw this market.”
Nevertheless, Travis is passionate about being true to the process, “We’ve done real work – it’s been four months since we put out the news about our discovery hole and we’ve already completed 6,000 metres of drilling, collected 1,500 soil samples, and done hundreds of kilometres of geophysical studies. We have approvals for government permits to drill another 40 holes; we’re working on agreements with local stakeholders and First Nations … but the response has been slow.”
A big part of being president and CEO is to always be concerned about the share price and keep sight of improving the share value for shareholders. So he is off to Vancouver and Toronto with his presentation to “get our story out.” Travis and his team are well positioned to keep positive. Despite the hurdles in a wary market, he will persevere.
Travis has been in the exploration business a long time; he first worked in the North ROK area 25 years ago. He has led projects in Tibet, Africa, Mexico, Alaska, B.C. and Yukon. He has learned firsthand from living and working in Tibet and Africa that “you don’t have a healthy natural environment without a healthy economy.” He is proud to be part of this industry, stating, “I just look at the jobs and the economic lift we bring to an area or a province or a country.” He smiles, “Where does it all start? With good geology and finding things.”
Travis is at ease leading his strong group from their base in the Okanagan. It keeps him connected to the things he loves: exploring, being outdoors and keeping active in nature. His enthusiasm is evident: “I love being a geologist and now the president of a company. Having our base in the Okanagan is very much about the lifestyle and cost – you can choose to go home for lunch, young employees can afford to buy a house. I’ve raised my family here and it’s got so much to offer. I can jump on a plane to go to Vancouver, Toronto, London, New York any day of the week. We keep positive and keep going.”