2 Profitable, Dirt Cheap Gold Miners To Consider

Includes: AVGCF, GG, PPP
by: Simit Patel

As investors the challenge is always to distinguish between price and value, while being patient for any difference between the two to align. From this perspective, I often start my stock research by looking at stocks that are cheap, and then seeing if they are undervalued and thus worth buying, or if they are appropriately priced and worth ignoring. Here are two stocks I recently came across that are gold miners, in production, have positive earnings, have a market capitalization of at least $100 million, and a P/E ratio of under 10. I generally find any stock that can meet those criteria to at least be worth taking a look at.

Avion Gold (OTC:AVGCF): Avion comes in with a market cap of just under $500 million and a P/E ratio of 9.61. Its book value is reported at $261 million, putting its price/book ratio at around 1.9 - a price I generally find acceptable. Sprott Asset Management is an investor, which is also something I find comforting; I like to see a big player put some money in as I believe that will help the firm sustain operations, network with others, and attract investors like myself who prefer to see someone else go first before jumping in.

So what's the catch? The firm does operate primarily in Mali, which is experiencing a political coup. Its stock is down 40% since the coup in Mali started. I neglected to mention Avion in my previous post on Mali, although I think it might be a worthwhile opportunity for those looking to buy the dip in Mali. Still, though, because I'm not particularly interested in the contrarian opportunities the situation in Mali is presenting, I would need to see an even bigger drop - one that pushes its share price below the $1 mark - before jumping on board.

Primero Mining (PPP). Part of me feels like I might be missing something when it comes to Primero, as it almost seems too good. Primero has a market cap of $225 million and its P/E ratio is 5.94. Goldcorp (GG), one of my favorite gold stocks (see my previous coverage), has a 36% stake. The stock is down about 15% thus far in the month of March, and with a book value of $465 million, the stock is trading at less than half its book value. Its management and board of directors contains numerous members from IAMGOLD (IAG) and Silver Wheaton (SLW). Bob Quartermain, the mining legend behind Silver Standard (SSRI) and now leading Pretium Resources (NYSE:PVG), is also on its board. As I have a "people first" investment philosophy - meaning my faith in management is the primary reason for investing - Primero seems to score very well on this front, as the team is stacked with individuals with decades of experience at successful, reputable mining firms.

In sum, there is too much to like about this stock, and not enough to dislike (it operates in Mexico, a jurisdiction I find to be sufficiently pro-mining, and thus far its San Dimas mines have reported high ore grades resulting in low cash costs, below $400/oz). I'm content to own Primero via Goldcorp, which is one of the larger positions in my portfolio, though I'll be keeping an eye on Primero in the event of an exceptionally large sell-off that creates a worthwhile buying opportunity.

Disclosure: I am long SLW, GG.