- The Quiet Summer of 2011, and Honest Work
- Respectable Showing For the Diamond Sector at PDAC 2011
- PDAC 2011 – this March
- Promising Diamond Find by Metalex in Northern Ontario, Plus Grades from Chidliak and Movement at Renard
- Peregrine Finds 1.15 Carat Diamond at Chidliak
- Stornoway Diamond Corp. Works to Expand Resources at Renard Project
- 2010 Toronto Resource Investment Conference
- Newsworthy Week For Canadian Diamond Companies
- Different Types of Diamonds at Fort à la Corne
- Kimberlites and Diamonds of Western Canada
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Posted by David
Some investors seem to have had a bit of premonition as Great Panther Silver Limited (formerly Great Panther Resources: TSX-GPR) finally closed above the $1 mark this week on another record 4th quarter report that was 6% higher than the targeted amount and a 22% increase over Q4 2008 in terms of silver equivalent ounces produced (2.203 Moz.). Both mines at Topia and Guanajuato reported excellent recoveries and increases in production of Ag, Au, Pb, and Zn.
GPR is not the only small-cap precious metals producer on a strong rise, Wesdome Gold Mines Ltd (TSX-WDO) has been a steady gainer moving from $1.00/share in March to well above $2.50. As the new CEO, Donovan Pollitt told me at the last PDAC (also in March 2009, when he was VP corporate development): “We manage to get more money out of the ground than we put in. It’s a rare thing.” Indeed, back in March that was an exceptional achievement amongst is peers (and even larger companies) and WDO is continuing to build upon their now 20+ year history of turning good properties into mines. A big factor with WDO’s apparent business model is the old adage “The best place to look for a new mine is within sight of a headframe.” In WDO’s case one of their new Au discoveries: Dubuisson, is right next door to Agnico Eagle’s Goldex mine.
The high price of gold has also re-invigorated juniors exploring in Canada’s traditional gold-producing regions: Ontario-Quebec, and British Columbia. Both new properties and old mines/projects are being looked at closely now with Au appearing to have some permanence at above US $1000/oz. Companies such as Hawthorne Gold Corp. (TSX.V-HGC), PC Gold Inc. (TSX-PKL), and Alto Ventures Ltd (TSX.V-ATV) have reported promising gold-related finds in the Cassiar Gold Belt, Pickle Lake, and Abitibi Greenstone Belt regions, respectively.
Regardless of the size of the company, these regions (and others), so historically tied to the country, will continue to produce viable Au prospects for many years to come. The scope of the geologic processes that create such deposits is typically so large that it takes more that a just few mines to fully exploit them. Furthermore, previously uneconomic deposits became attractive again as new technologies develop. This was the case when the heap-leaching method of gold extraction came to mainstream use.
This history of the exploration, development, and production cycle with gold (and other types of deposits) plays a major part in the economic well-being of Canada. Also its continued existence is a far greater certainty than some other supposed “backbones” of the Canadian economy. While it is easy to move an automobile plant to a country where workers are paid less than $20/hr for semi-skilled labour, it is quite impossible to move a mineral deposit.
Disclaimer: The author owns shares of HGC, ATV, and GPR. This article is based on the personal opinions and experience of the author. Please conduct due diligence when investing. ©KIM Report 2010 www.kimreport.com
Posted by David
Stornoway Diamond Corp. (TSX-SWY) saw a 24.14% jump in stock price today, up seven cents to $0.36/share. The rise followed the resumption of trading following a halt this morning due to a financing-related news release. SWY reported that they have received $22 million from a private placement of 24,444,444 common shares at ninety cents a share. This is a premium of 195% on top of the opening price of $0.305 today. The participants in the private placement are Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd. (TSX-AEM) and Lorito Holdings Ltd. This $22 million will go to pay off debt in the form of debentures held by AEM and Lorito. AEM is already a significant shareholder of SWY, and with this transaction they will hold 17.6% of the outstanding shares. After the completion of this transaction, SWY will be debt-free.
This transaction is something of a coup in the current market. Juniors have been struggling to obtain funds to develop their projects and pay off debts. The credit market has been mostly deaf and blind to the woes of these companies as many lenders are themselves finding it a struggle to remain solvent. For a mining and exploration junior to pull off a private placement at a pre-subprime crisis share price is something of a shock (albeit a pleasant one) to investors and analysts who have become used to seeing the market cap of companies such as SWY slide by fifty to eighty percent. By offering equity to pay off its debts, SWY has managed to find a creative alternative to solving its cash problems in a bear market. The main upside here is that the dilution of the stock is one third of that if SWY were to issue stock at market price.
Now with balanced books, SWY faces only one major and immediate hurdle – to finance the construction of a diamond mine on their Foxtrot property in Quebec. This project, focusing mainly on the Renard kimberlite pipes, but also the Lynx and Hibou kimberlite dykes nearby, is joint owned 50/50 with SOQUEM and is fully described in an earlier article. SWY’s share of the mine construction costs will likely be over $100 million. The actual numbers are due out in September with the pre-feasibility study. The report was initially due this summer, but similar projects submitted earlier by Peregrine and Shore Gold tied up AMEC, the company contracted to conduct the study, until recently. Should the report be positive, as the geology and current diamond prices suggest, a significant amount of capital investment must be made to bring in the needed infrastructure for a mine. SWY will have to carry at least 50% of these costs.
Immediate of these costs is road access. Renard will not be an arctic diamond mine, dependent on airlifts and unpredictable ice roads for supply, but rather a site accessible by land year round. SWY is in talks with Western Troy Capital Resources Inc. (TSX.V-WRY), Strateco Resources Inc. (TSX-RSC), and Eastmain Resources Inc. (TSX-ER) – other mineral/metal exploration companies with projects in the Otish Mountains, local communities, and the Quebec government to build the “Route Monts Otish”. This partnership would provide strong benefits for all parties involved by sharing the cost of construction. SWY will need to bring September’s report to the table when the parties decide who pays what share of the road costs. It is also possible that the construction will bring in electricity service as well, further reducing the large bill SWY faces.
After September, SWY will have to come to a decision on how to fund the mine. Even if the Quebec government pays its full 50% share and the aforementioned road plan comes through, the cost to SWY will be well into the tens of millions of dollars. The company has a number of options to consider in obtaining the cash necessary to build the mine:
(1) They can go the traditional route and get financing from credit institutions. If the credit market simmers down by the winter this may be a possibility. Factors that would attract a lender are that the company has settled its accounts, the Foxtrot property has high and fairly well established diamond potential, and the company has many other promising secondary properties such as Aviat and Churchill (the latter a JV with Shear Minerals).
(2) Future private placements can be made. This will dilute the stock, but by how much is dependent on how the share price is doing at the time of issue. If today’s rise in share price is any indication, a positive report in September may be the catalyst investors need to return the company to the ~$1.00 level. In addition, management has established that they possess some expertise in brokering strong deals with large investment players (Rio Tinto is another major shareholder, with ~11% of the company).
(3) The company may bring in a third party to purchase a portion of their share in exchange for funding most of SWY’s costs a la the Franco-Nevada strategy.
(4) Interested parties could be sold secondary assets in exchange for cash to fund the mine. In addition to the aforementioned Aviat and Churchill projects, SWY holds promising advanced and reconnaissance stage projects in Nunavut, Ontario, the Northwest Territories, Alberta, and Saskatchewan.
It is likely the company will use a mix involving one, some, or even all of the above options to in order to proceed with construction.
Given that Quebec is regularly acclaimed as one of the top mining-friendly provinces in Canada, and that the province has a direct stake in the project, there seems to be fewer speedbumps on the road to Renard. Management with have to use every means at their disposal in order to navigate markets wracked with investor apathy towards diamond players.
Disclaimer: The author holds 2000 shares of SWY. This article is based on the personal opinion and experience of the author. Please do your own due diligence when investing.