- 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
5034 AAD Aappaluttoq Aber Diamonds ABX ACS AEM Ag Agnico-Eagle Mines Agrium Alberta Alto Ventures Amarillo Amaruk AMEC Amerigo Archangel Diamond Archon Minerals Ltd. Arctic Arctic Star Diamond ARG Argentina Argyle Ashton Mining Canada Attawapiskat ATV ATW ATW Venture Corp. Au Australia AUY Avalon Rare Metals Avanti Mining Corp. Aviat AVL Baffin Island Barrick Bathurst Beluga BHP BHP Billiton Birch Mountains Bling Blue Note Mining Blue Pearl Cluster BN BRIC Buenaventura Buffalo Head Hills Bunder Burnstone Ventures Inc. BVE BVN Canada Candente Candle Lake Canterra carbonatite Caribou Castillian CCE Chariot Resources CHD Chidliak Chile Chris Jennings Chuck Fipke Churchill Churchill craton CL CLF Cliffs Co Codelco Coloured Gemstones Commerce Resources Contact Diamond Corporation copper CTM Cu Cullinan DDN DeBeers Diamond Diamondex Diamonds Diamonds North Dianor Diavik Diopside dividend DNT DO-27 DOR DSP Eastmain Resources Ekati El Teniente emerald EnCana Corp. ER EuroZinc Exotic Metals FALC FGE FGT First Nickel Inc. Fiskenaesset FNI FNV Forest Gate Fort a la Corne Foxtrot Franco-Nevada G Gahcho Gahcho Kue Gem Diamonds geologic terms glossary gold Goldcorp GPR Great Panther Resources Great Panther Silver Greenland Grib Grizzly Discoveries Inc. Gualcamayo Guanajuato Guaniamo GZD Harry Winston Hawthorne Gold Hearne HGC Hibou HUD Hudson Resources Hunter Exploration HW HWD IME In Indicator Minerals indium interview iron Jericho Jericho Diamond Mine Jigsaw K K-2 Kahuna Kennady Lake Killiq kimberlite Kinross KWG Kyle Lake Lac De Gras Las Aguilas lead Leadbetter Lesotho Letseng Li limestone lithium Lockerby LUC Lucara Lukoil LUN Lundin Mining Lynas Lynx Mapimi Marifil Mines Ltd. market hype MAT Matamec Exploration Inc. Metalex Ventures Mexico Mexivada MFM Mina El Carmen Mo molybdenum Monument Diamond Project Motapa Mothae Mountain Province Diamonds MPV MTC MTP MTX Muskox Kimberlite natural gas Nb NEM Neuqen Basin New Gold Newmont New Nadina Diamonds Ltd. NGD Ni NI 43-101 nickel niobium NMC NNA Noront NOT Notch Nunaminerals Nunavut oil Orion Otish Pascua Llama Pb PC Gold Pd PDAC Pedernal Peregrine Peregrine Diamonds Petra Diamonds PGD PGE PGM PKL placer platinum Pogo Mine potash Potash Corp. pre-feasibility PST003 Pt Punta Colorado Qavvik Qilaq QUA Quadra Mining QUC Quebec Quebect Quest Rare Metals Quest Uranium rare earth elements Rare Element Resources Raytech Metals Corp. Re REE Renard RES Restigouche rhenium Rio Colorado Rio Narcea Rio Tinto RSC RTP ruby San Antonio San Juan San Roque sapphire Saskatchewan SGF Shear Diamonds Shear Minerals Shore Gold silver SL Snap Lake Sola Resource Corp Soltoro SOQUEM Inc. SRM Star Stewart Blusson stockhouse.com Stornoway Stornoway Diamonds Strange Lake Strateco Resources SWY Ta TAH Tahera tantalum TCK.A TCK.B TCM Teck Cominco Terrane Metals Tesla TGX Thompson Creek Metals Thor Lake TIF Tiffany & Co. Topia Topia Mine Toronto Resource Investment Conference Triex True North Gems TRX Tsa Da Glisza Tuktu Tuktu-1 Tunerq tungsten Tuzo Type IIa U uranium VAA Vaaldiam Mining Inc. VALE-INCO Veladero Venezuela Victor WDO Wesdome Western Troy Capital Resources WRY WWW International Diamond Consultants Ltd. Yamana Gold Inc. YRI zinc Zn
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Posted by David
The 2010 annual PDAC convention this week was resoundingly more vibrant and bustling than last year’s. The nice thing about commodity downturns is that they are often self-correcting given time. The excess of supply that leads to commodity price drops and mine closures also ceases mine development. With no new resources coming onto the pipeline, supply drops as existing deposits are tapped out. This drop in supply leads to an increase in the commodity price, beginning the cycle all over again.
This current resurgence is much to early to be mainly due to this process, lack of exploration typically takes years to manifest into resource shortages. Whatever the cause, the mood of exhibitors, investors, and geologists was significantly improved over 2009′s show. Though there are still many companies out there just hanging on, both those with quality and questionable properties.
Gold was still king of the commodities this year, unsurprising considering it has remained at ~$1100 for some time in spite of the predictions of certain pundits. Though keep in mind that price is in American dollars. Well-run gold producers such as Barrick, Goldcorp, and Wesdome, have been reporting steady and strong profits. The Wesdome booth at PDAC had some impressive display samples of quartz-vein ore containing visible gold mineralization from their Kiena mine. Although some producers are still struggling, e.g. Yamana.
The buzz about exotic metals such as yttrium, niobium, and the rare earth elements has died down a little since the excitement of last fall. Leading juniors in that field, such as Avalon and Matamec, were still well represented at the show. In terms of fundamentals, however, nothing has changed, our increased dependence on technologies is leading to a demand that will continue to ramp up with each passing year and the Chinese control virtually all production. Not a pretty picture from either an economic, strategic, or political view (for everyone but the Chinese that is).
Copper, nickel, and other base and ferrous metal prices have all climbed back up significantly. The earthquake in Chile barely caused a blip in copper prices (Chile produces about one third of the world’s copper), and metal producers like Amerigo and Lundin are starting to see their first real profits in over a year. Speaking with Amerigo reps at the PDAC, they predict a return of their one-vaunted dividend should copper prices hold close to their current levels.
The investment talks for the junior diamond sector saw increased attendance this year. The best was saved for the last for talks by Peregrine, Shear Minerals, Shore Gold, and Stornoway, discussing the most promising Canadian diamond projects and their various stages of development. Peregrine’s Chidliak project on Baffin Island continues to steal the spotlight with preliminary results from CH-6 that indicate the potential for the highest grade diamond find since A-154 South at Diavik in the 1990′s.
Chidliak is still many years from and possible mine. The Renard and Fort a la Corne deposits of Stornoway and Shore Gold, respectively, are each within five years of a potential mine. Last fall’s announcement by Stornoway regarding the expanded resource at Renard-2 is putting the company at odds with Shore Gold for the title of owner of Canada’s (and for that matter, the world) largest undeveloped diamond deposit (video interview with SWY founder Eira Thomas HERE). Shear Minerals, though somewhat stagnated by lack of funds, had returned a promising grade of 0.862 c/t from the Notch kimberlite in the Churchill property.
The repeated message from all diamond companies is that world diamond prices have recovered, and possibly then some. Unlike metals, getting firm numbers on world diamond demand and pricing is difficult, but some estimates put current diamond prices as high as 25% over those of pre-crash 2008. With the recovery as of yet incomplete, this could spell a significant jump in share prices for quality diamond stocks over the next 12 months.
Disclaimer: The author holds shares of SWY, YRI, SRM, ARG, and LUN. 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
A Possibly Bumpy Road Ahead
The past month or so has seen a huge rise in the TSX and Venture indexes as all sectors slowly pull themselves out of the economic hole that was 2008. What may give investors some pause is the question as to whether this is a true recovery, or is this just the seasonal rise most commodities see each spring? What about the doldrums of the summer holidays and the lows of tax loss selling in December?
The TSX Composite Index has risen from a low of ~7500 at the start of 2009 to over 10000 this week. Is it possible that the seasonal spring rise in commodities has been the catalyst for this long-awaited and hoped-for recovery? Or will these gains evaporate with the spring rains as more inevitable bad news comes out of the (primarily U.S.) financial sector this summer?
Being an Eternal Optimist
I would like to think otherwise, and that some of these recent gains may be long-term. As someone heavily invested (relatively speaking) in the resources sector, I have no real choice other than to be optimistic as psychiatrists are expensive. This was the first month in about half a year that I started looking at my portfolio and searching for opportunities to start mitigating some of my losses. Some I managed to catch, others I wish I did.
I have had a little luck with two small companies that readers will know are favourites of mine. The first is Great Panther Resources which has managed to keep their metal production (primarily silver) costs well below market, allowing them to be profitable. They have very recently announced that this last quarter was the first in which a positive cash flow ($0.7 million) was attained and that earnings are up by 75%. The discovery of gold rich zones at their Topia mine does not hurt either. Stornoway Diamond Corp. has also seen a climb in share price from recent lows at nine cents a share to what is now strong support above sixteen cents a share. This is accompanied by fairly recent news of flow-through share investment and government support for a road to their Renard mine in Quebec. The latter discussed in an earlier article.
An opportunity I did miss was with Teck (formerly Teck Cominco) when I could have picked up shares for less than $5. They now stand at ~$15. Teck is currently in the process of selling of some of its assets (e.g. its share in the Pogo gold mine in Alaska) and issuing more paper in order to pay off debt incurred when if bought out Fording Coal Trust near the peak of the commodity market about a year ago. Hopefully this will teach management to buy low and sell high and not the other way around as they have been doing. Yamana has also started to rise up and even led the pack for a little while, helped by high gold prices and the increase in copper prices. However it has stagnated around $10-11/share lately.
As mentioned at the top of this post, the individual investor must consider that we have negligible impact on the share price behaviour of publicly traded companies. Institutional investors going out or moving in will cause the share price to drop or climb respectively, regardless of the fundamentals. The funny thing is that sometimes, for all their trained staff, these big guys are often the first to disregard fundamentals and give in to psychology, following a pack mentality. With a little due diligence, patience, and discipline, the average guy can come out ahead.
Disclaimer: The author holds 4000 shares of SWY, 200 shares of YRI, 100 Shares of TCK, and 1000 shares of GPR. This article is based on the personal opinions and experience of the author. Please conduct due diligence when investing. ©KIM Report 2009 www.kimreport.com
Posted by David
Chile is probably the world’s #1 supplier of copper (~35%) through the state-owned entity Codelco and various foreign producers. The geology of the Andes lends itself to large-scale porphyry deposits rich in copper as well as gold, molybdenum, silver, rhenium and other metals. Such a huge drop in the prices of these commodities (with the possible exception of gold) has done serious damage to the Chilean economy. With copper exports representing such a huge portion of its GDP (US$37.6 billion, or 56% of total exports in 2007), Chile’s trade surplus for 2008 will appear puny indeed.
Gold vs. Copper
As with most base metals the price of copper has experienced a huge drop from about US$4.00/lb. in July to $1.29/lb. this Monday. This drop has caused any company that has copper as a significant component of its production to suffer serious revenue decreases. Good examples of these are VALE-INCO (NYSE-RIO) (although nickel and iron are to blame here as well) and Yamana Gold Inc. (TSX-YRI, NYSE-AUY, LSE-YAU). Yamana itself is an interesting case as although it is touted as a gold producer, a significant source of its revenue is from copper (e.g. Chapada, Brazil). This has caused Yamana to see a slower rise in share price than other more gold-oriented companies, such as Kinross (TSX-K).
Challenges for a Small-Cap Company
However, large companies have the obvious ability to weather these low metal prices and Yamana stock has still seen a rise from ~CA$5/share to just below $10/share in the past month, mainly due to interest in gold. It is the small-cap companies that have the most to worry about in the short term when metal prices slide. One such company in Chile that is feeling the pressure is Cu-Mo tailings processor Amerigo Resources. Things have changed for Amerigo since the last KIM Report article in April 2008, copper and molybdenum prices have tanked and most producers are happy if they are currently breaking even. At the time of that article, Amerigo was struggling with high energy costs due to a very dry season at the time as most electricity in Chile is hydroelectric in nature combined with high fuel costs. Now fuel costs are down, Chilean electricity is cheaper due to more precipitation, and electric generators running on cheap bunker oil have been installed at their facility near the Codelco-run El Teniente mine (from which they obtain the tailings for processing). Unfortunately, the timing of these energy-savings coincides with the drop in metal prices. Amerigo recently released news that it had incurred negative price settlements for sales of copper and molybdenum to smelter companies Enami and Molymet, respectively.
The good news is that Amerigo believes it can reduce its production costs before royalties (which are tied to copper price) to $1.20-1.25/lb. The company has recently managed to partially defer energy, royalty (paid to Codelco), and negative copper price settlements. It is in the process of negotiating deferral for the negative molybdenum payments as well. Enami, a state owned entity, has an established mandate to support small to medium copper producers through price protection. How this will affect Amerigo has not been determined. Amerigo has also extended its banking line to US$5.6 million and has opened a new line with a second bank for $5 million. Negotiations are also occurring to open new long-term credit facilities of $10-20 million. On the shareholder end, management has enacted a shareholder rights plan – in essence a poison pill to dissuade any opportunistic takeovers.
The real issue here is if Amerigo will maintain its CA$0.065 semi-annual dividend due this spring. Many shareholders considered a ~6% return to be excellent last spring when the price was around CA$2.25/share. Now with the share price at ~$0.35/share, this ~20% dividend is either an amazing opportunity, or indicative of extreme risk. Given the unclear forecast for metal prices, it appears to be anybody’s game. Amerigo’s future good financial health depends on its continuing good relations with its creditors and smelters.
Disclaimer: The author holds 500 shares of ARG and 200 shares of YRI. This article is based on the experience and opinions of the author. Please do your own due diligence when investing.
Posted by David
The current lack of credit in today’s world markets has left companies scrambling for cash. Mineral mining and exploration companies in particular are finding it hard to keep liquid and to have enough cash on hand to continue operations. As these companies have no income they were previously reliant on raising funds through private placements. This is no longer practical as the vast majority of juniors have extremely depressed share prices and severe dilution becomes a concern. Financing through credit institutions is also a no-go as many of these have become insolvent themselves and those that remain in business have become rather tight-fisted.
Juniors have had to resort to less common methods to raise cash. These include selling shares in assets that they have developed. Bringing in another junior or even senior partner to carry some or all of the costs of exploration for a project is a common tactic. Marifil Mines Ltd. is one such junior with these cash woes.
Marifil’s current cash position is just less than C$100,000, although a rapid reduction in expenses has reduced the burn rate to below $50,000/month. Management has voluntarily reduced salaries by 50%, staff involved with secondary projects have been cut, and the Argentina office is moving to a cheaper location. John Hite, president of the company, has commented that more than $200,000 is due within the next few months in property payments from other projects such as the spin-off of the K-2 potash property to Oxbow Holdings Corp. A $500,000 private placement is also in progress. What is of primary interest is the announcement of a letter of intent (LOI) between Marifil and Yamana Gold Inc (TSX-YRI, NYSE-AUY) that states Yamana’s intention to acquire 51% of Marifil’s Pedernal gold property in San Juan province, Argentina. This is on the condition that Yamana invest at least $2,490,000 into exploration on the property over five years and pay Marifil $510,000. The agreement would also allow Yamana to increase its share to 70% if a pre-feasibility study were provided within thirty months after the five-year period. Yamana now has less than ninety days to complete its due diligence with regards to the property and the agreement.
Pedernal is a “sediment-hosted Carlin-type gold deposit” and shares geological similarities with Yamana’s Gualcamayo property, 250 km to the north in the same rock group. There is a strong silica and barite association with the gold. San Juan is one of the more mining-friendly provinces in Argentina (think of it as Argentina’s Quebec in this regard) and is host to the 13 million oz. Veladero and 18 million oz. Pascua Llama deposits (Barrick). Marifil’s Amarillo is the other project located in San Juan, and was a joint venture with ATW Venture Corp. until this year when ATW decided to forfeit their share in order to focus on their Australian property.
Marifil’s business model of selling or joint venturing all their properties is similar to that of Franco-Nevada. They have numerous precious metals, base metals, exotic metals, limestone, petroleum, and potash projects, and they would rather allow diversity to be their strength, rather than focussing on a single project. The LOI is reflective of this strategy. However, lack of funds has meant that the company has had to restrict its operations to its most promising properties: K-2 (potash) and San Roque (Au-Ag-Pb-Zn-In).
Cost-cutting and actively seeking partners will allow Marifil to continue to operate for the next few quarters, and longer if this LOI goes through. Hopefully by then markets will be giving juniors a break.
Disclaimer: The author holds 1000 shares of MFM and 200 shares of YRI. This article is based on the opinions and experience of the author. Please do your own due diligence when investing.