Crystallex International: The Permit That Just Won't Crystallize

It was four months ago that Crystallex International Corp. (KRY) announced it met all the requirements for an environmental permit to develop the legendary Las Cristinas gold deposit in Venezuela.

Of course, the permit still hasn't been granted by Hugo Chavez's government, and the stock has moved steadily downward despite a big rally in gold prices.

"Investor frustration with the time delays and media inaccuracies caused unusual share price volatility and market risk," analyst Catherine Gignac of Wellington West Capital Markets wrote in a note to clients Thursday. "However, the project is well-advanced with low technical risk, suggesting that once a permit is released many uncertainties will be resolved."

Ms. Gignac is maintaining a "strong buy" rating on Crystallex and a target price of C$10.00 a share (more than triple the current level). That is due to continuing high gold prices, the lack of new gold development projects and the industry's need for growth and acquisitions.

She notes that Crystallex now has a mammoth 16.9 million ounces of proven and probable reserves at an average grade of 1.13 grams per ton. Based on enterprise value per ounce of reserve, she calculates that the shares are valued at a meager US$44 per ounce. She also points out that the Venezuelan government appears to support the company's plans to develop Las Cristinas.

"This is one of the world's most advanced, large, undeveloped, open pittable gold deposits," she wrote.

But still no permit.

KRY 1-yr chart: