No one knows what action the Federal Reserve is going to take with interest rates later this month. Amidst that uncertainty, interest in gold continues to build. Vancouver brokers are telling me they are getting million-dollar checks from clients who have put barely a dollar into resources for years. Mining superstars like Ross Beatty and Lukas Lundin are laying down big bets. And billionaire investors George Soros and Stan Druckenmiller are emphasizing their conviction in gold with words and dollars.
Gold momentum feeds itself. There are enough investors who believe we are at the beginning of a proper gold bull market that a pullback in the gold price works primarily to create buying opportunities in good gold equities. I want to focus on three companies that offer opportunities in this market, one in the Yukon, one in Nevada and one in Africa.
Goldcorp Inc.'s (G:TSX; GG:NYSE) bid to acquire Kaminak Gold Corp. (KAM:TSX.V) is a boon to the Yukon, an area with fantastic geology. Yukon has struggled in recent years after discoveries in the last cycle, in particular Underworld Resources' discovery of the Golden Saddle deposit now owned by Kinross Gold, sparked an intense area play that just didn't produce the results people wanted.
It wasn't the rocks' fault. Between a heady gold price and an area play, explorers got way too excited and poured money into drilling targets that were nowhere near ready to be drilled.
"Victoria Gold Corp.'s Dublin Gulch has got to be one of the only fully permitted, development-ready gold projects in the world in a stable, supportive jurisdiction."
As the excitement died down many players left the territory, but some stayed. One was Victoria Gold Corp. (VIT:TSX.V), advancing its Dublin Gulch gold project. Victoria was ramping up to start building a mine at Dublin Gulch when the bear market began and so the project has essentially been on hold since then.
On hold. . .but still advancing. The team earned all necessary permits, which is very significant. They probed a new zone, called Olive, that just might have what it takes to become a higher-grade starter pit. They rejected many a financing offer, protecting their share structure, until recently bringing Sun Valley on board with a $24 million raise.
Dublin Gulch has got to be one of—if not the—only fully permitted, development-ready gold project in the world in a stable, supportive jurisdiction. Victoria Gold's share price is reacting as though a bid is coming. I wouldn't be surprised to see one.
Another company that is advancing is Gold Standard Ventures Corp. (GSV:TSX.V; GSV:NYSE). It recently kicked off a 43,000-meter drill program in Nevada and already announced first results at the Railroad-Pinion project. First to emerge from the effort were a series of new targets identified through a geophysical survey called controlled-source audio magneto-telluric (CSAMT).
Gold Standard ran the CSAMT survey over the Dark Star corridor, which hosts the North Dark Star discovery and the Dark Star resource. The goal was to better map the bounding faults within the corridor and thus better track the favorable carbonate rocks.
The reason is that gold in this area of the Carlin Trend occurs when a particular set of circumstances are met. At North Dark Star and Dark Star, the gold sits within an uplifted block of Pennsylvanian-Permian carbonate host rocks in the footwall near a normal fault.
The CSAMT survey found what Gold Standard was seeking: a north-striking normal fault wherein Pennsylvanian-Permian rocks form the footwall against volcanic rocks to the east. In other words, the target is precisely what GSV thought it was.
Approximately 450 meters to the west the survey identified another similar structure. This one does not outcrop and has not been drill tested, so it could represent another good target.
Finally, the survey showed that the known normal fault in the Dark Star Corridor extends 700 meters farther along strike than known to the north, under cover.
They are just geophysical targets, so take from it what you will. That being said, geophysics well interpreted can be the tool that uncovers new zones in the Carlin Trend.
The third company is Orezone Gold Corporation (ORE:TSX), which just announced that it is selling its Bondi project in Burkino Faso to Sarama Resources Ltd. (SWA:TSX.V). It was the right thing to do, as Orezone is focused on Bomboré, the largest undeveloped oxide gold deposit in West Africa–and one of few sizeable gold projects in the world that should soon be permitted and completely ready for construction.
The feasibility study, released last April, outlined a combined heap-leach and carbon-in-leach operation producing 135,000 ounces (135,000 oz) gold annually for the first eight years. That's a big enough number to matter to a major.
It is expected to cost US$250 million to build the mine, which should then be able to produce gold at an all-in sustaining cost of US$678/oz. That enables a 24.4% after-tax internal rate of return, using a gold price of US$1,250/oz.
Costs are low because the operation is straightforward. The strip ratio is just 1 to 1. The ore does not need to be ground.
Two milestones approach for Orezone: the final permit, expected in the next few weeks, and an updated resource estimate incorporating another 50,000 meters of drilling, expected in the third quarter.
The permit is expected before the middle of June, which means it should be issued around the time of Janet Yellen's rate decision. Whichever way that decision goes, I expect gold to start moving up again after—quickly if the decision is no raise, slowly if the decision is to raise.
With a permit in hand—an asset that only a very short list of gold projects in the world can boast—I would expect Orezone to provide outsize leverage to gold's rise.
At the end of the day, this is a takeout buy. Bomboré is a good asset that has been very competently engineered into a simple, low-cost mine offering great upside potential, in a supportive jurisdiction and with a permit imminent. There are very few such assets around.
With almost a decade of junior resource-focused journalism under her belt, Gwen Preston launched Resource Maven. Preston watches the wires, talks to her network and analyzes economics to identify resource news that matters and figure out how to profit. She focuses on early-stage exploration and development stories. Preston has been interviewed on CBC and in Financial Post.
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1) The following companies mentioned in this article are sponsors of Streetwise Reports: Victoria Gold Corp. and Gold Standard Ventures Corp. The companies mentioned in this article were not involved in any aspect of the article preparation. Streetwise Reports does not accept stock in exchange for its services. The information provided above is for informational purposes only and is not a recommendation to buy or sell any security.
2) Gwen Preston: I or my family own shares of the following companies mentioned in this article: Gold Standard Ventures and Orezone Gold. I personally am or my family is paid by the following companies mentioned in this article: None. My company has a financial relationship with the following companies mentioned in this article: None. Statement and opinions expressed are the opinions of the author and not of Streetwise Reports or its officers. The author is wholly responsible for the validity of the statements. The author was not paid by Streetwise Reports for this article. Streetwise Reports was not paid by the author to publish or syndicate this article.
2B) Patrice Fusillo assisted Gwen Preston in compiling this article to ensure it met Streetwise Reports editorial standards. Ms. Fusillo is an employee of Streetwise Reports. She owns, or her family owns, shares of the following companies mentioned in this article: None. She personally, or her family, is paid by the following companies mentioned in this article: None.
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