Interlisted Gold Stocks Shine

Gold stocks interlisted in Canada and the U.S. were among the top performing equities this week in North America.

Gold is not vital to human existence, in fact, it has relatively few practical uses. But its unique atomic properties and its imperishable lustre have made it one of the world’s most coveted commodities. A long-standing symbol of beauty, wealth, and immortality; Egyptian pharaohs insisted on being entombed in the “flesh of the gods” and prospectors are still afflicted by “gold fever”.

Nearly every society throughout the ages has connected gold with an almost mythological power and the desire to possess gold has driven people to extremes, fueling wars and igniting conquests. But gold has never created dissention between Canada and the United States. The two countries, both large gold producers, share the world’s longest undefended and open border: 8,893 km (5,526 miles). And that’s not all, they also cordially share listings of publicly traded gold companies.

Many companies have their shares listed on multiple exchanges. Although these interlisted companies face additional expenses and regulatory requirements, the advantages often justify the costs. Interlisted companies gain access to more investors which can potentially increase a company’s liquidity and valuation. This recipe seems to be working for interlisted gold stocks as they were among the top performing equities in North America this week.

1. Golden Star Resources Ltd. (profile TSX:GSC – AMEX:GSS)  + 26.4%

Golden Star is a mid-tier gold producer. The Company has two operating mines (Bogoso and Prestea) situated on the Ashanti Gold Belt in Ghana, West Africa. On January 5th, 2012 the company reported annual gold production of just over 300,000 ounces, down from the production levels reached in 2009 and 2010. Cash operating costs per ounce for their most recent quarter were $1,108 – up from $825 a year earlier. The increase in cash operating costs in 2011 was attributed to increasing prices of many key operating inputs: electric power, labour, cyanide, fuel, and reagents used in processing. The company has a NI 43-101 proven and probable reserves of 47.2 million tonnes grading 2.49 grams per tonne for 3.8 million ounces of gold in the ground at their Bogoso and Prestea mines.

With an annual exploration budget of roughly $20 million, Golden Star is busy with a portfolio of exploration properties including projects in Sierra Leone, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Brazil. Shares of Golden Star closed Friday on the TSX at $2.22.

2. International Tower Hill Mines Ltd. (profile TSX:ITH – AMEX:THM) + 23.5 %

One-trick pony? Perhaps. But some think International Tower Hill has a pretty nice pony. The company’s Livengood property is located approximately 115 km northwest of Fairbanks, Alaska in the Tolovana mining district. International Tower Hill reports a NI 43-101 measured and indicated resource estimate of 16.5 million ounces of gold, using a 0.22 grams per tonne cut-off, at Livengood. The Livengood project is in transition from an exploration project to a development project as the company undertakes a pre-feasibility study for a large scale surface mining operation.

International Tower Hill is connected to the Cardero Mining Group. Despite the colossal collapse of sister company Dorato Resources last year (profile TSXV:DRI), a blow-up so bad Cardero no longer mentions the junior gold exploration company on their website, Cardero is considered to be one of Canada’s premier mining venture capital groups.

3. Exeter Resources Corp. (profile TSX:XRC – AMEX:XRA) + 21.0 %

Exeter Resources is focused on the exploration and development of gold properties within the Maricunga mining district in Chile. The company’s flag-ship Caspiche project is located 15 kilometres (8 miles) south of Kinross Gold’s 9 million ounce Refugio gold mine and 10 kilometres (6 miles) north of the 26 million ounce Cerro Casale gold project owned jointly by Barrick (75%) and Kinross (25%). This week, Exeter announced the results of a prefeasibility study for their Caspiche project which returned a pre-tax net present value of US$2.8 billion (5% discount rate) and an average estimated operating costs of US$606 per ounce gold equivalent. The study was based on proven and probable reserves of 19.3 million ounces of gold and 4.6 billion pounds of copper. Exeter closed the week at CDN$3.70 a share.

4. New Gold Inc. (profile TSX:NGD – AMEX:NGD) + 17.2 %

Companies can grow in two ways – organically or through acquisition – New Gold appears to be focused on the latter. The company completed a number of strategic acquisitions last year, most recently, buying Silver Quest for $166 million on December 23, 2011. The deal was done, in essence, to consolidate New Gold’s ownership of the Blackwater gold project which it acquired earlier in the year with the purchase of Richfield Ventures. Following the Richfield acquisition, Canaccord analyst, Steven Butler, issued a “buy” rating and raised his target to $14.50, “We reiterate our rating on New Gold following the completion of the Richfield Ventures acquisition. Our rating is based on growth at a reasonable price, the resource and valuation upside associated with the Blackwater project.” Shares of New Gold closed on Friday at CDN$11.74, up $0.30, punctuating a good week for this interlisted gold company.

Mike Luft

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