Investing in the world of mining can be like the act of mining itself, without any of the safety reforms that have come into place over the last one hundred years. First, you're down there and everything is going great; your tools are brand new, the foreman is talented with proven successes, and all the precautions are in place. Then, you hear an ominous rumbling, and you brace yourself, heart pounding. Slowly, all goes still, the noises dissipate and you breathe a sigh of relief. Looking over at your canary, you discover his little legs sticking straight up in the air. As the air gets thin and you discover there is no way out and muse, I should have left when I heard the rumbling. Your tombstone reads, A man of blind faith, in the junior mineral exploration market. This describes how many of us felt in September of 2007, when the entire market felt the reverberations of the sub-prime loan crisis.
A great many stocks halved in value, practically overnight, and everyone from CEO's down to lowly stock holders were asking, What happened? Properties with great resources still had great resources, companies with impressive strategic partnerships were still strategically partnered. In short, all the people, resources, events and discoveries that had once gained recognition from the market in terms of stock price were still in place, yet the recognition was gone. The great giant of the stock trading public, to which the fund manager, day trader, and retired 401K stock dabbler are all a part of, had fallen into a deep sleep.
Even amid record commodity prices, when one would usually see a related spike in exploration, there's barely been a blip. One would think that after gold jumped to $950/oz from $650/oz year prior, that a 30% percent boost would come to companies that plan to produce the stuff, at a considerable profit, no less. But this is was not the case; in fact most dropped 30%. We who are closely involved with the metals and mining industry have spent many hours contemplating, When will the Giant wake up?
Lately, however, it seems that although the giant is not quite raging again, it has at least begun to stir a bit. And the times a company has caused it to scratch its' nose, it has blessed the company concerned with impressive rewards. Consider this junior exploration company with a wealthy and famous big brother, then throw in a juicy new discovery, and you might actually catch the attention of the sleeping giant. That's what happened to Eastmain Resources.
Eastmain recently announced that they and mid-tier gold industry rock-star, Goldcorp had moved forward with a pretty impressive agreement. Don Robinson, CEO, explained the deal, Opinaca and Goldcorp decided that the district is important enough to fund the project completely to bankable feasibility, giving them a higher percentage of ownership. Not only have they decided to fund the project to that level, but for the interim, Eastmain is still the operator of the project. So instead of Eastmain having to issue shares to raise capital to pay for exploration, Goldcorp pays 100 percent of everything. In fact, they pay us to explore it, and with a management fee on top,
Robinson added, happily, Essentially, we have made a discovery on Goldcorp land, using Goldcorp money. Adding a third gold deposit to our holdings clearly could have a spectacular impact for our company along the way. Eastmain also recently announced very favorable drilling results. For their troubles, they have seen 50% increases in their stock prices, positive coverage from analysts, and a very promising future.
Obviously, things are not back to normal, when a deal like Eastmain's would send the stock soaring 150% times its' prior worth. At least the giant's reflexes are working properly, and where there's life, there's hope.
In future columns, I will give status reports on the confusing activities of the investing public, and highlight those companies in the metals / mining industry that have delivered results, or are about to.