There is a general sentiment in the air that the gold and silver markets have made a major top or that the 10 year secular market has ended. Prices of gold and silver have come down to a nine -month low and most analysts seemed to think that it may not be over.
"I am not surprised that metals are testing their yearly lows due to the action in the paper market," said Carl Schott, a metals specialist with EMA. "The latest COT report shows the speculators have increased their short position at record levels." With the large spec funds or managed money holding the largest short position since the financial meltdown in 2008, it is the perfect storm building to what could ignite one of the most aggressive short covering rallies with an increasing chance of a "Short Squeeze."
According to legendary gold trader and founder of Mineset James Sinclair:
"This is a massive attempt to break gold in order to camouflage the weakening Western banking sector. Paid bashers are flooding in to all pro-gold sites and many other pro-gold sites are under attack in other ways.
Gold banks are flogging the paper market seeking to depress the price but without selling too much.
It is so obvious that this is a gold bank organized strategy to keep gold under $1600. Old lows will hold and the reversal will be at a spiritual level."
Gold stocks are continuing to sink and analysts everywhere continue to drop lower their forecasts on the yellow metal. Still, all is not lost and there are intriguing gold stocks out there if one looks further into the industry while getting past the gold majors that get most of the headlines.
These four stocks are AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE:AU), Goff Corp (OTCPK:GOFF), Continental Gold (OTCQX:CGOOF), and B2Gold (BGLPF.PK). All four of them have significant exposure to the emerging markets and heavy gold exposure. I will cover all four of them in depth just a bit further down but for now, just one thought about their localities. The emerging market exposure could play a role going forward for these stocks and boost returns for shareholders as emerging markets have two key advantages not found in the developed world: they have the cheap labor advantage as well as more growth opportunities because the areas haven't been mined as much as the developed-markets have. Now, the in-depth look at the four gold miners:
AngloGold Ashanti primarily engages in the exploration and production of gold. It also produces by-products, such as silver, uranium oxide, and sulfuric acid. The company conducts gold-mining operations in South Africa; continental Africa, including Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Namibia, and Tanzania; Australia; and the Americas, which include Argentina, Brazil, and the United States. AngloGold Ashanti Limited, formerly known as Vaal Reefs Exploration and Mining Company Limited, was founded all the way back in 1944 and is headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa (sourced from Yahoo Finance).
AngloGold, the first stock out of the four listed, and only one out of the four with negative developments this week, struggled on Wednesday, falling 4% after Credit Suisse downgraded the stock to Neutral. Although details of the report were unavailable at press time, most of the recent selling of the stock has been due to the company being so closely associated with South Africa and the falling of gold prices. Both reasons are of course understandable, but it seems like investors are getting too far ahead of themselves. Yahoo Finance says the mean target on the shares is $40. The last traded price for the shares was $21.59, which is a big discrepancy between price and value.
AngloGold is a one of the biggest gold producers in the world and if there was a more favorable sentiment around gold stocks, Mr. Market would surely value AU, the 3rd largest gold producer in the world, at a more favorable price.
Goff Corp's subsidiary, Golden Glory Resources, is engaged in mineral exploration. The Company's primary project is the La Frontera Gold Project located in the Aguadas Department, in Caldas, Colombia. Golden Glory acquired its leases on the La Frontera through a transaction with a Colombian company and now holds a 100% percent working interest in the property. The project is being pursued as a potential bulk-tonnage, gold-silver target. The La Frontera Project is in the Aguadas, Department Of Caldera, which has a history of gold and silver production (source from company website).
The smallest out of all the stock in the group with a market cap of just $130 million. This company may have the most potential out of the four with its focused management team looking to pounce on every available opportunity. And as in the theory of large numbers, the larger you get, the harder it is to grow. Goff has lot of room to spare before it reaches even the second smallest stock on the list, which is Continental Gold, with a market cap of $600 million.
Goff Corp is currently in the initial stages of development for its major project, the La Frontera Project in Colombia. The most release for the company with updates on the development came on Tuesday at 4:07PM EDT. Goff Corp reported that it has planned a geological and management site expedition for its La Frontera Gold Project in Department of Caldas, Colombia. The advance ground exploration team is expected to include geological staff, consultants and management members who will be examining the site features and exploration drilling targets for its planned Phase One program.
As noted above, management is focused and ready to grow. In a release out yesterday, the company said that management of Goff subsidiary Golden Glory Resources has considered the unique potential that the Caldas region holds for these large deposits and is taking a multi-pronged approach to explore opportunities with ground that has had little development, outside of artisanal miners, all in the Caldas or adjacent regions. Boutique research firm Murphy Analytics covers the stock with a price target of $4 a share. Surprisingly, 13 million shares are short of Goff Corp setting the stock up for a short squeeze if any positive or even neutral news is released by Goff.
Continental Gold is an advanced-stage exploration and development company that is led by experienced mining professionals focused on becoming a leading producer of precious metals in Colombia. The company´s flagship Buriticá project is located 75 km northwest from Medellín, the second largest city in Colombia and readily accessible by paved highway with great infrastructure including water availability and grid power. Continental´s management team has proven experience in permitting, financing and building precious metal mines in Latin America (sourced from company website).
Like Goff, Continental Gold also taking part in a drilling program of its La Estera and Yaragua areas in Colombia. Coincidence or not, the company released a statement yesterday documenting its progress. "Step-out drilling along strike and at depth and surface sampling continues to deliver encouraging results in the La Estera area," commented Ari Sussman, CEO. "Drilling at Yaraguá continues to increase the confidence level in the mineral resource estimate and encounter mineralization outside of the current resource envelope. We are excited that our exploration program has recently increased with the addition of three new drill rigs as part of our Phase IV drill program. Our aim is to continue to drill the Yaraguá and Veta Sur vein systems and to aggressively test the new exploration targets in 2013."
This advanced-stage exploration and development company has seen its shares drop sharply over the past 3 months as a lot of the gold miners have seen their shares crater. Even though the market has lost confidence in the shares, analysts are still bullish on the stock with a price target of $13 on the shares with a decent-sized following of 6 analysts. Any recovery in gold prices should create positive sentiment surrounding Continental Gold and its late-staged portfolio.
B2Gold is a Vancouver based gold producer with three operating mines (two in Nicaragua and one in the Philippines) and a strong portfolio of development and exploration assets in Nicaragua, Colombia, Namibia and Uruguay. B2Gold is projecting gold production in 2013 of approximately 385,000 ounces and approximately 400,000 ounces in 2014 from La Libertad, Limon and Masbate Mines. With the first full year of gold production from the Otjikoto project in Namibia scheduled for 2015, and increased production projected from La Libertad Mine, the company is projecting 2015 gold production of 550,000 ounces, based on current assumptions. Finally, with the successful completion of the Gramalote project in Colombia, gold production could increase to approximately 750,000 ounces in 2017 (sourced from company website).
Over the last two years B2Gold shares have been one of the best performers in the gold sector. Unfortunately, as noted above, the gold sector as a whole has struggled in the markets, despite high gold prices, due to many examples of poor operating performance and lack of credible returns on investments in gold projects. Management is looking to take advantage of the depressed shares prices and believes that there will be significant acquisition opportunities in this environment for companies with proven technical teams and strong financial performance. While the company's near term focus is on optimizing production at the mines and developing its existing projects, the company will continue to review acquisition opportunities.
Continuing with the analyst theme, B2Gold's shares have a target of close to $5.50 on them which is nearly two times the current share price. Any investor would get giddy looking at these types of returns with such a solid management team and underlying assets.