A modern day gold rush is taking root in Nevada, as mining companies are ramping up production and standing up new projects across the state. This comes at a time when gold prices are near all-time highs at $1,587. Because many major companies' stock prices have fallen, there are several cheap options for value investors to take advantage of during Nevada's gold boom.
No other American state can compare with Nevada's production; the state has become the epicenter of gold production in the Western Hemisphere. Currently, Nevada hosts two of the world's top-five largest gold mines. Barrick Gold Corporation's (ABX) Goldstrike mines, located in Eureka and Elko Counties, ranks number four in the world and produced nearly 1.1 million ounces of gold in 2011. Barrick predicts production to increase 15-25 percent in 2012 and proven and probable reserves for the mine total 12.4 million ounces of gold.
Only Barrick's Cortez mine produces more gold than the Goldstrike mines in North America. Cortez produced 1.42 million ounces of gold in 2011 and has proven and probable gold reserves of 14.5 million ounces of gold. Barrick owns several more mines in Nevada, which in total produce nearly 1 million ounces of gold annually, and have proven and probable reserves close to 14 million.
Barrick's stock price is currently near its 52-week low and about 40% lower than its peak. The stock is undervalued, with earnings growth estimates of 23 percent in 2013, over 30 percent sales growth, and 12.1 percent return on capital.
In addition to Barrick's land holdings in Nevada, many other major companies are heavily invested in the state. Newmont Mining Corporation (NEM) operates 14 open-pit and four underground mines in northern Nevada, producing 1.74 million ounces of gold in 2010. Newmont is another undervalued stock. Like Barrick, the company's stock price is hovering near its 52-week low despite 8.6 percent sales growth, 5 percent return on capital, and projected earnings growth of 13.5 percent. While Newmont does have some negative financial indicators, it does not justify the extent of the sell-off.
Goldcorp Inc (GG) operates the Marigold Mine in historic Battle Mountain Trend. The site has produced gold for over two decades and has proven and probable reserves of 2.32 million ounces of gold. In addition, Kinross Gold Corporation (KGC) produced 187,444 ounces of gold in 2011 in its Round Mountain open-pit in Nye County, Nevada. Proven and probable reserves for the Round Mountain pit are 1.4 million ounces of gold.
It is clear that Nevada's gold production represents a modern-day gold rush and the state only projects to increase output as more gold reserves are discovered and new mines established. Goldcorp and Barrick are working together on the South Arturo project near Elko, Nevada. Bullfrog Gold Corporation (BFGC) recently purchased 79 federal lode claims and 2 patented claims within a mile from Barrick's Bullfrog open-pit, which produced more than 2.3 million ounces of gold. Bullfrog Gold also acquired an option to purchase prospective land in the Alpha Mining District near Eureka, Nevada. Finally, Gold Standard Ventures Corporation (GSV) is currently conducting exploration and development (E&D) in the Railroad District on Nevada's prolific Carlin Trend. The E&D has been successful and Gold Standard Ventures is forecasting multi-million ounce gold discoveries. In addition to the aforementioned companies and projects, there are certainly many other gold companies operating in Nevada's valuable turf.
With worldwide economic instability and a volatile currency market, many analysts believe the gold industry remains a safe investment. Investors should certainly look to Nevada's gold industry when evaluating gold mining companies.
Additional disclosure: Disclaimer: I do not have a position in any of the aforementioned stocks. The writer is not a licensed broker or investment adviser and therefore cannot recommend that you buy, sell, or hold any security. While every attempt was made to verify the information in this report, much has been derived from public sources and cannot be guaranteed for accuracy.