Sunday, February 19, 2017

Excessive Optimism Among Copper Speculators

Most recently the game called "Copper Futures" became very popular:


As the chart shows, now the open interest in copper futures stands at its historic high of 296 thousand contracts.

What is more, the copper trade is not only overcrowded but I see excessive optimism among speculators as well:


Money Managers (in other words, big speculators) are holding the largest long positions in copper futures in history.

Summarizing - the copper market does not look attractive for the buyers now.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Gold Is Very Strong

As a rule, when the price of gold goes up, the US dollar index goes down. And vice versa. To make things simpler, let me show the US dollar index in its inverted version. In such a case when the price of gold goes up, the inverted US dollar index also goes up. And vice versa.

Now look at the two charts below:


The upper panel shows the price of gold and the lower panel shows the inverted US dollar index.

Applying the basic rule,  both measures should go in tandem. It means that the price of gold should have gone below the point A in the way the inverted US dollar has gone below the point B. However, gold is still above the point A.

In my opinion, it is an indication of the gold's strength, which is a bullish message for gold bugs.

Orbit Garant Reports Recovery

Orbit Garant is a drilling company operating mainly in Canada (in 4Q 2016 as much as 73% of revenue was attributable to Canada). Similarly to Sandvik, a few days ago Orbit reported slight progress. Both drilling prices and meters drilled went up, compared to previous periods:



As the chart shows, since 2014 the company was able to get more drilling work at higher prices. It looks like Canada emerges as sort of eldorado for such a drilling company as Orbit. However, the problem is that Orbit incurs quite high costs of production, mainly "Employee benefits":



Note: Orbit fiscal year starts on June 30

Look at significantly higher costs in 2H 2016. As a result, despite higher drilling prices and more work to do, in 2H 2016 the company's cash margin (defined as revenue less all direct cash costs) was lower than in 2016:

  • revenue: C$95.9
  • employee expense: C$52.1
  • other cash costs: C$40.1
  • Cash margin: C$3.7

 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Metanor - 4Q 2016 Excellent Results

In my first article on Metanor Resources I stated:

"...I expect decent results delivered by the company in 4Q 2016 (revenue higher by 23%, compared to 3Q 2016 and lower operating costs)"

A few days ago the company published its 4Q 2016 results. As expected - the results were really good. Revenue went up by 25.4%, compared to 3Q 2016 and operating costs went significantly down. Let me summarize the main measures:

source: Simple Digressions and Metanor

Note: the company's fiscal year ends on June 30

As the table shows, in 2H 2016 Metanor was profitable. Due to higher gold prices and lower costs, the company delivered a gross profit of C$4.5M and net income of C$1.8M. It is a radical improvement, compared to previous years.

Further, in 2H 2016 Metanor delivered free cash flow of C$1.2M (defined as cash flow from operations less capital expenditures), of which C$1.3M was delivered in 4Q 2016 (it means that the company burnt small cash in 3Q 2016). Generally, most of the profits were made in 4Q 2016, for example:

  • 4Q 2016 gross profit: C$3.3M ($1.2M in 3Q 2016)
  • 4Q 2016 operating profit: C$2.1M (-0.1M in 3Q 2016)
  • 4Q 2016 net income: C$2.0M (-0.2M 9n 3Q 2016)
  • 4Q 2016 cash flow from operations, excluding working capital issues: C$4.6M (C$1.9M in 3Q 2016)
To remind my readers - currently Metanor operates only one mine, called Bachelor and located in the province of Quebec, Canada. The table below shows operating cost per ton of ore milled:

source: Simple Digressions

According to the company, during the fiscal year 2017 (ending on June 30, 2017) Metanor should deliver 28 - 33 thousand ounces of gold coming from Bachelor. However, the problem is (I mentioned it in my first article) that Metanor has not delivered the updated resource estimate on Bachelor yet. Therefore it is very hard to make any assumptions on the future of the deposit.

Apart from Bachelor, the company has another project in its pipeline, called Barry and also located in Quebec, Canada. Most recently Metanor published the PEA on that property. According to that study, Barry should deliver 193.5 thousand ounces of gold over a production period of 9 years.

When the resource estimate on Bachelor is out I will try to combine all information available and present my opinion on the company.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Sandvik Sends Nice Message For Gold Bugs

Sandvik, one of the world's largest engineering companies, signals recovery in its "Mining and rock technology" division. Look at the chart below:


The order intake in 4Q 2016 was very impressive: SEK9.1 billion in new orders. It looks like Sandvik, contrary to Caterpillar, sees recovery in the mining sector, especially in the gold / silver one.   

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Good News For Excellon Investors

Today Excellon Resources (EXN.TO) announced a new offtake agreement. Why am I writing about it?

Well, the main products of Excellon, a high - grade silver / gold producer, are two concentrates (silver - zinc and silver - lead). These concentrates have to be smelted and refined at special chemical plants. It is a  necessary and money - consuming process for any concentrate producer.

The table below shows TC/RC costs (treatment and refining costs), paid by Excellon over three quarters of 2016 (the row marked in red):

source: Excellon

Note that TC/RC costs are not reported in the statement of operations. The trick is that the company discloses only net revenue, i.e. $13,640 thousand (this figure is disclosed as "Revenue"). However, in fact the gross revenue was $16,351 thousand (look at the line "Sales before TC/RC).

Now, according to the company's statement,

"The final terms agreed with two purchasers are materially better than terms seen in recent years and represent an approximately 60% reduction in treatment and refining charges relative to 2016 based on budgeted tonnage for 2017 and at current metal prices" 

In my opinion, it is the good news for Excellon's investors. Theoretically, if the company applied these lower TC/RC rates last year, the operating result disclosed by Excellon would be higher by $1,627 thousand (TC/RC costs of $2,711 thousand x 60%). As a result, instead of a loss of $1,185 thousand the company would have shown a profit of $442 thousand.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Strong, Bullish Signal For Gold Bugs

Today the higher relative strength of junior gold miners (GDXJ) over big gold miners (GDX) was confirmed:


Look at the breakout of a multiple of GDXJ / GDX above the last top recorded in September 2016. Although GDX itself is still way below the August 2016 top the gold bugs should feel quite comfortably today.

In my opinion, today's breakout is a strong, bullish indication....