2 Gold Miners With Long-Term Potential

While the major market averages have taken a beating over the last week, gold (GLD) has been one of the few asset classes to stage a sharp rally, with the metal up 2.5% for the week and over 5% since Thursday’s close.

The outperformance can be partially attributed to the belief that the Federal Reserve may have to rethink its rate-hike plans because of the fragility of the Financial Sector (XLF) with two banks already failing and several other regional banks down over 50% from their highs in a one-week span.

The sharp move higher in gold has fueled a major rally in the Gold Miners Index (GDX) which has soared 11% off its lows with the gold producers providing leverage to the metal, especially costs for the group rose materially last year.

In fact, the $110/oz move in gold has led to a temporary ~20% increase in margins for the producers, partially explaining the powerful performance of the group.

However, a couple of names were left in the dust during this rally, providing the opportunity to add exposure to miners without paying up for names that have already headed into overbought territory.

In this update, we’ll look at two names that have lagged their peers, and why they look like long-term outperformers vs. the index.

I-80 Gold (IAUX)

I-80 Gold (IAUX) was one of the best-performing gold developers in 2022, putting together a 15% return vs. 20-30% declines for many of its gold developer peers.

Unfortunately, the stock has since given up considerable ground to start 2023, down 26% for the year which has placed it near the bottom of the pack among its peers.

The disappointing performance for this junior producer with a ~$700 million market cap (assumes 350 million fully diluted shares) is partially attributed to a ~$65 million financing earlier in the year that led to an increase in its fully diluted share count and the announcement of a bought deal secondary offering by its largest shareholder because of a funding gap as it builds a massive mine in Canada, Greenstone. Continue reading "2 Gold Miners With Long-Term Potential"

2 Small-Cap Names With World Class Deposits

While the Gold Miners Index (GDX) started the year sharply in positive territory and raced ahead of the S&P-500 (SPY) despite its rebound to start 2023, the index has retreated all the way into negative territory as of mid-February, giving up considerable gains.

This has led to considerable underperformance vs. the S&P-500 (SPY), and this isn’t overly surprising given that sentiment was becoming overheated short-term in the miners heading into late January.

However, with the index down more than 15% from its highs, it’s time to start building watchlists for potential buying opportunities.

In this update, we’ll look at two small-cap names with world-class deposits aiming to become 250,000 ounce per annum producers post-2025.

Osisko Mining (OBNNF)

Osisko Mining (OBNNF) is a ~$1.0 billion gold developer based on an estimated ~465 million fully diluted shares, and it’s well known for being the proud owner of one of the highest-grade gold projects globally in Northern Quebec, Canada.

This project, known as Windfall, hosts more than 7.0 million ounces of gold at an average grade of 12.0+ grams per tonne gold, and would be one of North America’s highest-grade mines if it were in production today.

Once in production (2026 estimate), the mine is expected to produce upwards of 270,000 ounces of gold per annum at sub $725/oz all-in-sustaining costs, translating to ~61% margins at an $1,875/oz gold price assumption.


(Source: Company Filings, Author’s Chart)
Continue reading "2 Small-Cap Names With World Class Deposits"

Gold Miners Index Starting The Year Strong

2022 was a year to forget for most sectors and certainly the major market averages, with the S&P 500 (SPY) declining 19% for the year and the Nasdaq Composite suffering an even more disappointing 33% loss.

While most investors certainly didn’t have the Gold Miners Index (GDX) in their cards to be an outperformer in 2022 after it found itself down 30% for the year in October with one quarter to go, the sector managed to recover and has started off the new year strong as well.

The strength in GDX can be attributed to the rally in gold prices ($1,650/oz → $1,850/oz) but also sentiment being the worst in years as of Q3, with many names trading at their cheapest valuations since 2015.

This gave the sector the fuel to significantly outperform gold if we saw any positive change in sentiment, and this is exactly what we’ve seen with the gold price back above key support at $1,800/oz.

While this rebound in the GDX is certainly positive from a momentum standpoint, it has made things a little more difficult from a stock-picking standpoint.

This is because many miners have already made 40-50% moves off their lows, and it can be dangerous to chase the lower-quality miners or sector laggards with them hovering well above key support levels.

In this update, we’ll look at two of the better buy-the-dip candidates sector-wide and highlight why these two names have the potential to outperform in 2023, making them attractive names to keep near the top of one’s watchlist if we see further weakness.

I-80 Gold (IAUX)

I-80 Gold (IAUX) is a $730MM company in the gold sector with multiple projects in the state of Nevada, including its Ruby Hill, Granite Creek, and McCoy-Cove projects. The company also has a processing facility with over $1.0BB in sunk costs in northern Nevada.

The company plans to employ a Hub & Spoke model and feed material from its three mines to its central “hub” or processing facility at Lone Tree. Continue reading "Gold Miners Index Starting The Year Strong"

Not All Gold Miners Are Created Equal

It’s been a challenging two years for investors in the gold space, with the metals making no progress since Q3 2020 and the Gold Miners Index (GDX) suffering a 52% decline from its highs.

This violent bear market can be attributed to significant margin compression for most gold producers, with them being hit by inflationary pressures (fuel, steel, cyanide, labor) and the impact of a lower gold price on sales.

The result? Margins are down over 25% on average from Q3 2020 peak levels.

GDX Chart

(Source: TC2000.com)

On the surface, this might not seem like a very attractive investment thesis given that gold producers are price-takers, gold continues to trend lower, and they’re already seeing margin compression at $1,660/oz.

However, the 52% correction in the GDX has left sector-wide valuations at their lowest levels since 2018, when all-in-sustaining cost margins were at $200/oz, nowhere near the $500/oz margins currently.

Hence, I believe this negativity is more than priced into the sector, especially if gold can find a floor near $1,600/oz, which looks likely given that we have extreme pessimism.

That said, not all miners are created equal, so it’s essential to focus on quality and those names bucking the margin trend. In this update, we’ll look at two names trading at deep discounts to net asset value that have outstanding business models: Continue reading "Not All Gold Miners Are Created Equal"

Two Standouts in the Gold Sector

While the cyclical bear market in the S&P-500 (SPY) has created buying opportunities, the real value can be found in the Gold Miners Index (GDX).

This is because the sector has endured a 22-month bear market, sending many names down 60% from their highs.

Although several names offer compelling buying opportunities, two stand out as offering a rare mix of growth and value. These are i-80 Gold (IAUX) and Sandstorm Gold Royalties (SAND).

Investing in the precious metals sector can be treacherous and intimidating, with several names to choose from, multiple pitfalls, and lengthy technical reports describing each mine.

For this reason, the sector is often avoided by generalist investors. The proposition becomes even less interesting if we mix in a declining gold price.

However, there is one key trait in gold miners that allows investors to worry less about the gold price: production growth. The key is selecting names with growth and low-risk business models with a high probability of successful execution, which is easier said than done.

Sandstorm Gold Royalties (SAND)

Sandstorm Gold Royalties is a precious metal royalty/streaming company, giving it a lower-risk business model within the sector. This is because it provides upfront capital to operators/developers to construct/expand mines, and in exchange, it receives a portion of metal production over the mine life.

The result is that it’s highly diversified (dozens of revenue streams and jurisdictions), and it’s protected from inflation as it doesn’t have to pay for sustaining capital or get hit by rising operating costs.

In addition, it enjoys very high margins (80% plus gross margins), with it simply receiving gold deliveries of metals at a low fee ($10/oz to $500/oz gold) vs. $700/oz to $1,300/oz costs for operators.

The other major benefit of this model is that any discoveries on properties where it holds royalties are gravy, given that the mine can continue to deliver ounces for decades even if the mine life was estimated at only several years initially.

A couple of examples are an investment in Goldstrike which turned $2.0 million into $1.0 billion paid in royalties, and an investment in Cortez which translated to a 500% plus return for Royal Gold. This is why royalty/streaming companies commonly trade at a premium to their net asset value. Continue reading "Two Standouts in the Gold Sector"