If it looks like a bull market (technical breakout in gold), smells like a bull market (significant negative yielding debt) and feels like a bull market (funds flowing into gold), it must be a bull market. Our analysis shows that equities in smaller sized companies outperform during a bull market. However, not all junior miners are created equal, and we believe there are three keys to picking them.
Lion One Metals Ltd.
Lion One Metals Limited is a Canadian development and exploration company focused on advancing it’s 100% owned, high grade, low cost, underground Tuvatu Gold Project in Fiji. Tuvatu received approval for development by the Government of Fiji in 2015 with approval of a mining lease, following a 21-year surface lease agreement in 2014 and the approval of the Tuvatu EIA and EMP’s by Fiji Department of Environment.
Lion One has commenced its 2019 drill program and announced results from the first six holes testing high grade structures within the HT Corridor north of its Tuvatu deposit (739Koz at 9.5 g/t Au). We believe that the company’s Tuvatu property sits within an expansive alkaline epithermal gold system. These systems can form some of the largest gold deposits on earth, such as the nearby Vatukoula deposit (7Moz Au). With drilling underway Lion One could be on the cusp of demonstrating the world class potential of its Tuvatu project in Fiji.
Gold is on the move, looking for the companies we expect to be the big winners. Recent events have been very constructive for the gold price and point to it having the potential to move higher in the near-term. Taking this into account we have evaluated the leverage our current coverage universe has to the gold price (Figure 1). The companies with the highest leverage to gold in our coverage universe are: Gran Colombia Gold (TSX:GCM, FV est. C$6.00), De Grey (ASX:DEG, FV est. A$0.35) and Lion One (TSX:LIO, FV est. C$1.35). We note that while Seabridge (TSX:SEA, FV est. C$29.00) does not have the highest financial leverage to the gold price, it could be a go-to name because of its higher market cap and better liquidity. As well, while we do not have a NAVPS estimate on, Minera Alamos (TSXV:MAI) and RNC Minerals (TSX:RNX, FV est. C$1.00) both should also react favourably to a rising gold price.
Lion One recently announced aggressive plans to explore its recently consolidated property, with the aim of demonstrating its potential to host an expansive alkaline epithermal gold system, analogous to the nearby Vatukoula (7Moz Au) deposit. The company is back-stopped by the robust, high grade (739Koz at 9.5 g/t Au) Tuvatu gold project in Fiji, which steadily continues to be advanced to production. We are revising our valuation to better reflect the significant potential we think could be revealed as drilling ramps-up.
We recently had the opportunity to visit Lion One’s (TSXV:LIO, ASX:LLO) Tuvatu project in Fiji. The key takeaway is that the company may be on cusp of demonstrating the significant exploration upside inherent within its 20,000 hectare property. The high-grade Tuvatu gold deposit (739koz grading 9.5 g/t Au) within the Navilawa caldera shares geologic similarities to the operating Vatukoula gold mine (7 Moz Au) and other giant epithermal deposits within the Pacific Ring of Fire, like Newcrest’s Gosowong deposit (6 Moz Au – Figure 5). These similarities along with the work completed to date suggest there is significant “Blue Sky” potential at Tuvatu.
Lion One is on the path to production and we believe it trades at a discount based on the current project plus there is substantial exploration upside that could be game changing for the company and its share price.
Lion One has hired a new VP Exploration and provided an exploration update from the company’s fully permitted Tuvatu Gold Project in Fiji. Importantly, the targets highlighted are on the existing mining lease and would be additive to the current mine plan.
Impact: Very Positive
Lion One has entered into an indicative term sheet with Sinosteel Equipment & Engineering Co. Ltd. of China and Baiyin International Investment Ltd to secure debt Financing for construction of its high-grade Tuvatu Gold Project in Fiji.