The 2015 Canadian Investor Conference in Vancouver featured a lively panel discussion on critical metals trends. Moderated by Gwen Preston of Resource Maven, the panel included Frank Holmes of US Global Investors (NASDAQ: GROW), Marin Katusa of Katusa Research, John Kaiser of Kaiser Research and Chris Berry of House Mountain Partners and the Disruptive Discoveries Journal. Preston noted that the title of the talk could be taken in one of two ways: one could look at critical metals and what the trends are in those, or general metals trends and what is critical about them. Certainly, the panelists covered a wide range of topics, and there was even a spirited digression into the topic of private placements. However, overall, there were plenty of useful takeaways for critical metals investors. Lack of price transparency When asked about the importance of following price trends, Berry noted that there's "very little price transparency" when it comes to metals like lithium, graphite and scandium. As an example, he cautioned investors that prices seen in individual deals might not be representative of wider prices. "Just because a graphite producer and a refractory producer do a deal for 20,000 tonnes of a certain flake size at a given price doesn't mean that that's what the price is," Berry said. "That's just the price that they agreed upon." He advised investors to "keep a general eye on price trends," but added that he wouldn't necessarily try to gauge the direction those trends are headed in. Berry spoke about how it's helped him to keep track of macro trends in urbanization, and noted that there's still plenty of growth emanating out of Asia, which could spark a need for more critical metals.