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Posts from the ‘Lydian International (LYD)’ Category

Yesterday’s David Tepper Moment

David Tepper is a very successful hedge fund manager who, in the fall of 2010, went on CNBC and explained, with a simplicity that the market loves, why you had to own stocks.

“Either the economy is going to get better by itself in the next three months…What assets are going to do well? Stocks are going to do well, bonds won’t do so well, gold won’t do as well,” he said. “Or the economy is not going to pick up in the next three months and the Fed is going to come in with QE.

“Then what’s going to do well? Everything, in the near term (though) not bonds…So let’s see what I got—I got two different situations: One, the economy gets better by itself, stocks are better, bonds are worse, gold is probably worse. The other situation is the fed comes in with money.”

I am coining the phrase “David Tepper moment” to refer to a time when what appears to be the obvious thing to do is the right thing to do.  A moment when the correct action is “just that simple”.

I believe that yesterday was a David Tepper moment for gold stocks.

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Gold Stock Reversal

I am not a technician or a chartist and as a general rule I don’t pay much attention to that sort of thing.  However I have learned to respect intraday reversals, and I have especially learned to respect them for gold stocks.

For whatever reason, I have seen more gold stock rallies fail after an intra-day reversal to the downside, and I likewise have seen more gold stock pummellings end after one to the upside.

Yesterday we had a very nice reversal in the price of many gold stocks.  Morevoer, the reversal was led by the leader of the gold stocks, Newmont Mining. Newmont traded almost as low as $44 before breaking out to the upside and closing at $46.50.

Newmont was not the only gold stock to reverse.  Of particular note for me was that Atna Resources had a hue reversal on the day, getting as low as $0.95 cents before closing at $1.10.  Another stock that has shown the resilience of a leader, Argonaut Gold reversed from a low of $6.80 to close at $7.52.

It still remains to be seen whether this reversal holds.  If it cannot hold through today and tomorrow its nothing more than a fake out.  But given  the level of selling that has overwhelmed the sector, it feels right to me for a change.  Investors who have remained heavily into gold stocks have been absolutely pummelled, and yesterday, with the price of gold breaking down below $1600 per oz and with gold stocks opening down big in most cases, it feels a like a capitulation moment to me.

I have owned Atna Resources through the slaughter and ithas held up relatively well.  I added to that position yesterday after it became clear it was reversing from its lows.  I also added a position in Newmont.  This could be considered to be a trade.  Newmont at $44 does not seem like a terribly risky endeavour to me.  Finally I added to my position in Golden Minerals and I added a position in Lydian International.  Of interest, Lydian did not reverse higher as strongly as many of the other juniors.  I suspect this is just a short term anomoly.  At any rate I will be monitoring all of these positions closely and if the reversal fails I will likely be bailing out of Newmont, Lydian and probably Golden Minerals (though at $5.30 its hard to see this stock getting very much cheaper).

Week 35: Continuing to Move away from Gold: Out of OceanaGold, Canaco Resources, into Pan Orient Energy, Newcastle Investments

Portfolio Performance

Portfolio Composition:

Trades:

Sold the Gold Sell-off

This was the week where I got fed-up with gold stocks doing nothing and began to sell them en masse.  I completely eliminated my position in OceanaGold, and in Canaco Resources.  I dramatically reduced my position in Aurizon Mines, and somewhat reduced my position in Lydian International.

I do have to wonder whether the $90 drop in the price of gold was orchestrated.   Interestingly, mention of such a possibility came from a rather unlikely place on Thursday, as I was sent the following excerpt from Dennis Gartman, who was quoting from a friend “near the centre of the events”:

Whether or not the plunge was orchestrated, I had to start removing dead weight from my portfolio and this provided a good excuse.  As the price of gold fell and OceanaGold and Canaco Resources began to crack, I asked myself what am I still doing in these stocks?  I couldn’t come up with a good answer so I sold.

In the case of OceanaGold and to a lessor extent in the case of Aurizon Mines, the catalyst that could move the share price higher remains somewhat in the distance.  I am not seeing anything like the takeover frenzy that has been predicted by some, and so these stocks become waiting games; lined with the hope that either the market catches onto the name and bids it up, or that some sort of (lucky) catalyst emerges.  I have not had very much luck investing on such hopes in the past.

In the case of Canaco Resources, I re-read my analysis of Magambazi.  That analysis got a lot of attention during the early part of the week as it was posted on Stockhouse (by some guy who seems to be taking credit for doing the work – sigh).  While I still question whether there is an error in my analysis, I do think I raised enough questions about the deposit, and enough uncertainty about the eventual resource estimate to be somewhat wary of the NI 43-101 that will be out shortly.  I decided to step aside until that resource comes out, or the share price falls back to the point where I feel like the downside is priced in.

Adding to Newcastle, Pan Orient, Leader Energy Services

The other part of my reasoning for selling some of the gold names is I see better alternatives elsewhere.  With oil at $100 per bbl I would rather be involved in oil companies with near term catalysts (Pan Orient) and service companies poised to take advantage of the move to drilling for more oil (Leader).

In the case of Newcastle, I listened to the fourth quarter conference call and reviewed the companies slides on mortgage servicing rights.  This appears to be an opportunity that has been overlooked by the market.  Newcastle is investing money into MSR’s with potential rates of return exceding 20%.  If they inded capture these sort of returns, I expect a significant dividend increase and a move in the share price to around $10.  I will write-up some of my findings with Newcastle later this week.

Rick Rule Agrees!

One Sunday I wrote a post describing why I am remaining bullish of gold mining shares.  Nervously, I have stuck by my premise that many factors are aligning in favor of the gold mining stocks, and I have added to my position in the last two days.  Tuesday was nerve wracking, and there were a few hours where I wasn’t sure if the market would ever stop falling, but I tried to look past the immediate carnage and capitalize on some of the opportunities I saw.

To that end I bought new positions in Brigus Gold, Aurizon Mines, and added to my position in Atna Resources.  I now own a basket of mid-tier producers.  I hold them nervously, but I still firmly believe that the factors I laid out on Sunday.

Today I found out I am not the only one.  Rick Rule did an excellent interview with James Pulplava on September 28th where he laid out the bullish case for gold mining shares.  He stated a lot of the same reasons that I outlined myself.  On top of these though, he added a few more catalysts that should contribute to a favorable revaluation of gold mining shares over the medium term.

  1. The project net asset values and existing project cash flows are being evaluated and valued off of much lower gold prices.  Most project pre-economic assessments are being done at $1100/oz gold, and many done over the past couple years were done at even lower prices.  As the brokerage community becomes comfortable with a higher gold price, these numbers should rise, as should the share price
  2. Senior gold producers are finally beginning to generate significant amounts of free cash flow.  Rule says that they expect the gold mining sector to generate more free cash flow this year than they have in the last 5 years combined.  Many of the small and mid-tier producers trade at discounts to the seniors, so it is reasonable to expect that senior producers will begin to take some of them over.

Rule elaborated on the first point.  He went on to say that at Sprott they had actually done the analysis on 5 non-producers  with pre-economic studies but not with feasibility studies out to see whether you could take the companies private and achieve an acceptable level of return from them.  They looked at the effects of hedging a portion of production up front with the takeover to help pay off the capital expenditures associated with building the mind.

I couldn’t help but think that one of the companies Rule likely evaluated was Lydian International.  Lydian fits the description of a company with a deposit that has a pre-economic assessment complete.  Rule has talked about Lydian before, calling them an excellent take-over candidate.   And my own analysis on Lydian showed an upside to the stock of $6/share at $1300/oz gold.  At $1600/oz gold the value of Lydian is literally multiples of the current stock price.

I also couldn’t help but think that if Sprott is performing this kind of analysis, it must be considering some sort of actions along these lines.

Rule said that of the 5 companies he evaluated there were 3 that passed the criteria.  Some other companies that I could see being include in that evaluation are Trelawney, Spanish Mountain Gold, and Geologix.

All companies I will have to keep an eye on.

Gold Stocks: Am I Wrong?

Last week was playing out just dandy until about 7:30 am on thursday.  That’s when the stock market opened and the gold stocks I owned fell along with the rest of the market.

Since the peak on Wednesday afternoon Jaguar Mining is down $1.10, or 16.4%.  OceanaGold is down 0.65, or 23%.  Argonaut Gold is down 14%.  Lydian International is also down 14%.

Now I could write a post about how unjustified this is.  How these 4 stocks, and gold stocks in general, never began to price in a gold price of $1500/oz, let alone $1800/oz.  And about how in the case of OceanaGold and Jaguar Mining, the stock price is significantly lower then it was when the gold price was $1000/oz.

All of this is true, but its not necessarily helpful going forward.  What is helpful is to assess the situation and determine if I am best to stick it out, or admit that maybe I am wrong about the direction of gold stocks.

I’ve spent most of the weekend pondering the reasons for gold stocks to go up and the reasons for gold stocks to go down.

I think that the basis of all the arguments for and against come down to the causation of the rise in the price of gold.  Now maybe I am simplifying the situation too much, but think you can narrow it down to two contrasting views of why gold is going up.  Each view leads to a drastically different opinion of what will happen to the price of gold (and the price of gold stocks) going forward.

These views are:

  1. Gold has gone up on the expectation of Federal Reserve balance sheet expansion
  2. Gold has gone up on fear of the disintegration of the Euro and the EU

The first argument is what is being bandied about the most over the weekend.  Gold, and thus gold mining stocks, were pricing in QE3 and that didn’t happen.  Operation twist is not quantitative easing.  There is no expansion of the Federal Reserve balance sheet and there is none on the immediate horizon.  So if the price of gold is a function of the Federal Reserve balance sheet, then gold must return to pre-QE3-anticipation levels.  A good starting point would be $1400-$1500/oz.  Or perhaps gold goes lower if it overshoots to the downside or if the Fed begins to gain credibility in its balance sheet management.

The second view was invoked quite often over the last month, but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears in the last couple of days.  That’s because it doesn’t fit the evidence.  the EU is still a mess.  The price of gold is falling precipitously.

So does the move of the last two days mean that the Fed watchers are right and that the run in gold is over until there is at least some evidence of QE3 on the horizon?  I’m not willing to say that yet.  I’m going to re-quote what I paraphrased from Donald Coxe a couple days ago:

The investment case for gold lies in the 500 million people living within 17 different countries that have their savings, pay cheques, and pensions tied to a currency that was based on a theory and seems by the day to have less of a tie to reality.

This argument still holds a lot of water in my mind.  There is still no good way to resolve the situation in Europe.  As long as this is the case, gold should continue to have a bid.  And I can’t see how this will stop being the case.  There simply isn’t the money available to resolve the debt issues of the PIIGS.  The only solution seems to be the extradition of at least some of the PIIGS from the EU.  That is going to be such a messy process, with so many potential pitfalls for both the sovereigns and the banks, that I can’t see how gold would fall in such an environment.

But I remain open to the possibility that I am wrong.  I will be watching the price of gold over the next few days and if the weakness continues I will have no choice but to cut my positions.  In that regard, I will likely lighten up on OceanaGold first.  Both Jaguar Mining and Argonaut Gold are in somewhat envious positions right now.  Jaguars mines are in Brazil, while Argonaut Gold has its mines in Mexico.  Both the Real and the Peso have been falling lately.  This will help bring down Q3 costs and even more bring down Q4 costs.

OceanaGold operates in New Zealand, and while the currency there has began to weaken, it is still above the average levels of Q2.

Lydian I will continue to hold because the story there is really less attached to the price of gold then in the other cases.  Lydian is moving forward an exploration project that will be profitable at much lower gold prices.  At some point the company will be taken out.  So that one I will hold as well.

We’ll just have to see how this next week plays out.

Lydian International

Its honestly not my intention to write exclusively about gold stocks on this blog.  But they do make up a significant fraction of my portfolio right now, and I think the gold stocks hold the most chance of significant upside in the short term.  Yesterday is evidence to that.  Gold stocks jumped to the upside.  Now one never knows is such moves are breakouts or fakeouts, but we can only hope for the former.

As for Lydian International., its too bad I didn’t start my blog a few months ago.  This post on Lydian would have been writing about the stock near its lows.  Since then the stock has moved up 25%, including almost 10% yesterday alone.  I still think its going to go much higher, but its always nice to catch the low end of the trading range before the breakout.

Recommended by Trusted Folks

At any rate, I’ve held Lydian International since late last year, when I was first introduced to the stock during a BNN interview with Rick Rule.  Since that time it has been recommended here and here by Brent Cook, a geologist that writes a newsletter I used to subscribe to.  I’ve gotten a lot of stock ideas by searching for and listening to interviews with Rick Rule and Brent Cook.  That they both own Lydian is encouraging.

Looking at Lydian’s Deposit

As Rule describes in the interview, Lydian is a little gold company with a decent sized gold deposit called Amulsar, located in Armenia.  The deposit is about 2.5Moz, its low grade, near surface, and will be surface mined using bulk tonnage techniques.  The deposit that Lydian has have a number of things going for it:

1. Its a oxide gold deposit – oxide gold can be extracted from the rock using a heap leach process that requires very little in the way of capital costs.  You don’t need to build a complicated mill circuit.  To put this in perspective, if the deposit was not oxide the CAPEX to build a mill would probably be around $300M to $400M.  In the 2008 scoping study it was determined by Golder that Lydian would have to spend less than $30M CAPEX to bring on a large enough  run of mill heap leach operation to process a 3Moz deposit (see figure below).

2. The strip ratio looks like it should be quite low.  The deposit sits right on top of a hill (see cross sections below).

This will make it much easier to get at the ore without having to dig through a lot of overburden first.   That means lower cash costs.  Below are the operating costs assumed by Golder in the scoping study.

3. The metallurgy looks favorable.  I already mentioned the oxide nature of the gold.  That’s great.  But sometimes its difficult to get a large percentage of the gold out.  Take a look at Aura Minerals as a contrasting example.  Aura has struggled on and off with recoveries with each of their deposits.  Albeit part of those problems has been the mix of oxide and sulphide ore, but it just goes to show how metallurgical complexity can ruin an otherwise good deposit.  Lydian shouldn’t have that problem.

4. Permitting should be in hand by the end of the year.

What’s Amulsar Worth?

Using the numbers from the scoping study that the company performed, I worked out a spreadsheet of what the net present value of Amulsar is.  Here is a list of the assumptions I used, followed by the results of the spreadsheet.

  • Total production is expected be 135,000oz per year to occur over a 15 year period
  • Strip ratio is 0.5 each year
  • Recovery is 92% each year
  • Mill grade is 0.9g/t each year
  • Operating costs are $4/t mining and $2.5/t milling (I checked these against some other heap leach ops to make sure they were reasonable).
  • The capex is $100M.  This is conservative but it also includes $15M that they have to pay to Newmont and another $15M contingency I added on.
  • Taxes of 20% base plus 12.5% excess profit are included.

I looked at two scenarios.  One with gold at $1100/oz and the other with gold at $1300/oz (I’ve attached the original spreadsheet to the end of the post).

You can see that the upside to the stock, even at $1100/oz long term gold price, is still fairly substantial.  Also note that cash costs should be less than $400/oz.  This would put Amulsar on the map as a very low cost producing mine.

A lot of brokerages seem to be using NPV with a 7.5% discount these days.  If you use that discount rate the NPV rises to $6.82.

An Eventual Takeover?

Honestly, I think what will happen with Lydian is that they will be taken on before they get the mine into production.  I think this will occur at a substantially higher price than what its currently at (even after the run up yesterday).

One possible candidate for a takeover is Newmont.  They own 9% of Lydian shares.  There are probably also a number of mid-tier producers that would be happy to take on 150Koz per year production with cash costs of less than $400/oz.

The company should have an updated Preliminary Economic Assessment out any day now.  It was scheduled for June but these things are inevitably late.  The PEA will (hopefully) go a long ways to confirming some of the numbers I have put forth here.

Appendix

This is the original spreadsheet that I used to calculate the NPV.  Also included is a low case sheet.  This was done when the resource Lydian had was only 1.4Moz, so the low case incorporates that smaller resource.  Now that more gold has been found, the low case is not realistic.