In my last article, "Getting Bullish On McEwen Mining," I detailed the interesting history and bullish developments for McEwen Mining (NYSE:MUX) and why I think taking a position in the stock is a good long-term investment. Since then, a couple other developments have further solidified my confidence in a prosperous future for this company.
McEwen Mining recently wrapped up a highly successful Right's Offering where current shareholders clearly showed their confidence in McEwen Mining's management and their aspirations to qualify for inclusion in the S&P 500 by the end of 2015 by creating a high quality, high growth, low-cost, mid-tier gold producer. Existing shareholders fully exercising their rights to purchase an additional 10 percent of the company, raising $60.4 million to help fuel future operations and development. (Although it wasn't needed, it's important to note that CEO Rob McEwen said he would fully backstop the Right's Offering using his personal assets if it was necessary, a clear signal that there are good things to come.)
To ensure McEwen Mining's ambitious goals are met in the years ahead, McEwen Mining recently strengthened its management roster by adding three mining veterans to its operations team. Leveraging combined experience from big name miners like Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX), GoldCorp (NYSE:GG) and Pan American Silver (NASDAQ:PAAS), Operations Manager (Mexico) Fernando Aguilar, Director Resource Modeling Luke Willis, and Director Mine Planning Nigel Fung will work to bring new production online for McEwen Mining in Mexico and Nevada.
So what's in store?
In a December 11 interview with TFNN's Tom O'Brien, Rob McEwen offered some great insight for investors:
"Despite the gold market, everything's been progressing well for us. … [W]e're going into next year (2013) with $75 million (following the Right's Offering)."
In the mining industry-friendly country of Mexico, Rob McEwen shared that, "We are permitting for another mine that's five miles away (from the El Gallo project), and we hope to have permits in hand by June of next year (2013) and start construction in July. It will be a 12-month construction, and starting mid-2014 the first mine will be doing about 30,000 ounces of gold and the second one will be doing 5.2 million ounces of silver. In 2014, we expect to get a permit in Nevada for our fourth mine … so we will effectively go from 100,000 ounces to 300,000 ounces of gold and gold equivalent."
In other words, production is estimated to at least triple over the next 2 years, and that's not accounting for what could come online as McEwen Mining's Los Azules Copper Project in Argentina is further developed now that the litigation around it is settled.
Further commenting on the markets in general, Rob McEwen acknowledged that investors in gold stocks have largely been disappointed. He suggests that large miners have been spending too much money resulting in poor returns and dividends, and as a result, unhappy shareholders have been pushing for high-profile CEO shakeups. This makes a compelling case to evaluate a position in McEwen Mining.
Unlike most CEOs, Rob McEwen has a lot of skin in the game, owning approximately 25 percent of the company purchased with personal assets and taking no salary. Considering how shareholder-focused he and McEwen Mining have been so far, I think it's safe to say that Rob McEwen's prediction for the large miners, assuming they respond to shareholder and Board concerns, foreshadows what's to come with McEwen Mining: "Going into 2013, I believe you're going to see an improving share price, you're going to see better operating margins and more free cash flow generated by producers."
McEwen Mining is clearly concerned about its shareholders and is fully aware of what happens to miners that don't meet their shareholders' expectations. Obviously, it's in McEwen Mining's best interest to build a robust business that yields high returns for every shareholder. In addition to the points I made in "Getting Bullish on McEwen Mining," I think we're at a point where production and development is going to begin accelerating strongly, and the chance for future returns seems greater than any near-term downside risks that may arise.
There's no denying that gold stock returns have lagged the bullion market, but with this stock trading around $3.65 with a short interest requiring 14.5 days to cover as I wrap this up, and all of the positives in its pipeline, I see this as a cheap stock to start building a position in - and one possibly set up for a short squeeze as analyst coverage increases and more good news flows from McEwen Mining. Not to mention that it's one that is more appealing than the big miners from an investor's relations standpoint.
As always, I urge you to do your own due diligence and always consider your risk appetite.