HARD ASSETS '06 CONFERENCE SUMMARY:
By Craig R. Smith
Sept 8, 2006

This past week I had the opportunity to speak at the 13th Annual Las Vegas Hard Asset Conference together with some of the world's most respected experts in the natural resource field.

What I stressed at the conference was that the U.S. is in the midst of an accelerating war over natural resources and ideology -- not fought on the battlefield with tanks or bombs, but instead fought on a financial level with currencies and commodities.

As the fifth anniversary of 9-11 arrives we must not forget that these terrorists are targeting the world's economic jugular veins -- starting in New York with the World Trade Center – then other major financial centers in Madrid, London, and Bombay.

Will they succeed? No! But they are creating a perfect financial storm to destroy assets! Unless you've built your foundation upon assets that can withstand the tests of time and trouble, your financial future is at risk.

The public has their facts severely reversed when it comes to the issue of oil's "scarcity" and the "abundance" of gold. Oil is primordial, plentiful and abundant. "Peak oil" theorists and Malthusians have been consistently incorrect in their "running out of oil" predictions in the past, and they will continue to loose credibility in the future. Why?

With every new deep-oil discovery, such as Chevron's giant oil reserve in the Gulf of Mexico last week (which is expected to boost the U.S. oil supplies by as much as 50 percent!) the "Peak Oil" theory moves closer to extinction where it belongs.

As for gold, it is widely accepted that gold is plentiful, yet keep in mind that from each 200-ton load of rock and ore, miners can only extract an average of $1,800 worth of gold -- enough to make wedding bands for a dozen brides. Yes, gold is truly rare, unlike oil.

Now, the upside of higher oil prices is that big oil has a much greater incentive to drill deeper than previously thought possible (as deep as 7 miles into the earth) to discover the oil reserves that may help the process of establishing U.S oil independence.

Geopolitical threats by Iran’s leadership have played a large role in spiking oil prices as the evidence confirms they will not stop until they acquire nuclear weapons.

Then there's the threat that OPEC and other oil-rich nations may soon demand to be paid in dollar alternatives, such as the euro, yen or gold. This could send an already weak dollar over the edge, dragging down every asset that's denominated in it.

Ironically, both oil and gold prices fell sharply this last week, as geopolitics appear to be settling down. Yet I can't help but feel that most Americans are whistling by the graveyard if they do not plan for increasing volatility in the future.

As Dr. Michael Economides of the University of Houston & Texas Energy Center aptly stated at the conference, "We are two headlines away from $100 oil".

He went on to say “Ethanol is the biggest scam in the history of this business,” saying that it takes 1.6 gallons of gas to produce 1 gallon of ethanol, referring to ethanol as the “dot-coms of the energy industry.”

Much of the crisis we face today in oil refining is the result of not building a single new refinery in 28 years -- thanks to the radical environmentalist movement. This must change or we will continue to remain subject to a Mid-East political and Black Gold stranglehold.

On a personal note, I must say that it was encouraging to see that in a city like Las Vegas which is based on tempting the public with the illusion of wealth via gambling, that thousands of conference attendees gathered to discuss the acquisition and preservation of real wealth.

Dr. Fred Goldstein, a Sr. broker at Swiss America reports, "This was a win-win event. Vendors were able to share some tremendous opportunities in natural resource investing and consumers left with significantly more knowledge. Thankfully, I was able to introduce hundreds to the concept of going on their own personal gold standard."

Nevertheless, I found myself relieved driving back from Vegas to Phoenix, as the overall spirit of the city of Las Vegas can be very oppressive to those seeking to embrace truth.

Here's a new slogan worth considering before planning your next trip to Vegas ... "The money that goes to Vegas ... stays in Vegas!"

My hope is that what happened at the Las Vegas Hard Asset Conference will NOT stay in Las Vegas -- but instead be multiplied a thousand-fold -- thanks to the faithful attendees, exhibitors and speakers at this landmark event. -CRS


Related stories ~ Special Offers
9-8-06 -- Geopolitical Investing: Gold, oil and the Iranian Wildcard -Resource Investor
9-6-06 -- Experts Debate Energy Issues and Outlook -Resource Investor
9-4-06 -- The "running out of oil" myth -Renew America
8-30-06 -- Why buy metals now? "Safety, growth, privacy" -Craig Smith
8-30-06 -- Las Vegas Hard Assets Investment Conf, Sep 6-7
8-17-06 -- Deep oil theory explained... Watch CNBC Debates
***** Today's :60 "Golden Minute" *****
INFO on the next ICC Hard Asset Conference in San Fransisco, Nov. 26-27
DISCLAIMER: All of the provided information is believed to be accurate, however errors are possible. The opinions in the Commentary section do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Swiss America. Past performance of any investment is no guarantee of future performance. All investments have risk.

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