TGR: I know you've done some site visits with several of your companies. What
have you seen on those visits?
CL: I just came back from a trip to Petaquilla Minerals Ltd. (PTQ:TSX;
PTQMF:OTCBB; P7Z:FSE) in Panama with a very positive impression. The
company is a low-cost gold producer planning to produce about 100 Koz annually
at a cost of $500–600/oz. Its market cap is only $114M. Among all the gold
producers, it's probably one of the most, if not the most, undervalued you can find.
TGR: Certainly with that kind of production. Is that going to increase over time?
CL: Petaquilla is planning to grow to 300–400 Koz organically in a few years.
That's why I was so impressed. It just built a new leach pad and was placing ore on
the pad when I was there. It has about 100 Koz gold in inventory. Most of that is in
ore on the leach pad. Once the leach pad is operational, it should generate a very
nice cash flow. In addition, Inmet Mining Corp. (IMN:TSX) has the $6B Cobre
Panama project that First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM:TSX; FQM:LSE) is bidding to
buy. The tailings from Inmet's project are on Petaquilla's claims. Last year, Inmet
tried unsuccessfully to bid for Petaquilla. I expect the two parties will sit down and
negotiate a deal because Inmet needs a concession for more tailings and the deal
could be very rewarding to Petaquilla shareholders.
TGR: What's the stock trading for now?
CL: Petaquilla is about $0.54–0.56/share, and it has, as I said, a $114M market
cap. For this kind of producer, and one holding a very important claim next to a $6B
project, that's very cheap. Also there's another claim Petaquilla holds for ore on the
$6B Cobre concession that has more gold and silver than copper. At current copper
and gold prices, the majority of the ore value is in copper. We checked with Inmet
and it believes that no ore on the project right now belongs to Petaquilla because of
the higher copper content. However, in 5 to 10 years, if gold rises sharply, as we
believe, and copper stays the same, a significant part of the project would be
transferred to Petaquilla automatically. Basically, Petaquilla holds a huge call
option on the gold price and this is one of the largest copper-gold projects in the
world.
Even without all the claims I just mentioned as a bonus, Petaquilla can be worth
more than the current market cap just based on its low-cost gold production. Also,
Petaquilla expects to close a $140M loan facility. That will be a major milestone for
the company and allow it to get rid of the small hedge book so it can get a full
margin of gold and silver production.