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smokin joe gutnik eric sprott

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    All on board the junior fertilizer story ...

    .......Often, company executives will visit Sprott's offices to encourage the firm's participation in new share issues that are intended to raise funds. A positive response is not unusual. In early November, for example, the firm put in an order for a very large slice of a share issue by PhosCan Chemical Corp., which is working to bring a phosphate mine in Northern Ontario into production. PhosCan's a good example of how Sprott's personal connections, research and investment philosophies come together to make money for investors.

    PhosCan, a tiny company that is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange, was trading late last year at just under $1 per share. Part of the reason Sprott initially bought into the company was to help out the firm's president, Stephen Case, whom he knew from previous dealings. But PhosCan also fit into one of those investing themes that Sprott uses to guide his investing. In a word--fertilizer. "We're great believers that the world is going to run out of fertilizers, and that we have limited resources in that area," he says. It's a bit of a Malthusian theme--too many mouths to feed."

    Thomas Malthus was a 19th-century English political economist who believed that global population growth would outstrip increases in the food supply. Using Malthus's theory to support an investment in the 21st-century fertilizer sector seems sound, but it doesn't explain why Sprott Asset Management chose PhosCan, an obscure stock, as the basis for its small position in fertilizer stocks, rather than a more established company. "Yes, you can buy Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan," Sprott remarks. "But we don't like buying the big guy. We like buying the little guy that no one else is buying."
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