Calandra Question Time: Colombia, Ghana, BC, Inovio, BioCryst and Deadlock

Thom Calandra
0 Comments|December 23, 2013

TIBURON -- North America's film philosopher, Mick LaSalle, writes for the local San Francisco paper. He does a Q&A every week, and the greeting folks use is the one they get in return.
For example, this week -- Hey There Mick. His greeting in reply, Hey There You.
Thus, our Thom Q&A from members of the TCR audience (NC-17 for capital destruction and descriptions of nude images):
Dear Butthead Thom,
May you suffocate in an Ashanti-style miner's pit in the middle of Mali for all the money we have lost this year with The Calandra Report. If it weren't so cheap already, I'd ask for a discount next year. 
Xxxxxx-Xxxx in Montreal
Dear Butthead Xxxxxx-Xxxx in Montreal,
Thank you for bolding TCR. What's your question again? 
Dear TC,
Thanks for your energy and the miles you put in on our behalf. Is there hope for Colombia as a gold mining jurisdiction with new projects dotting the horizon?
Dear PC, 
Colombia must show us that Continental Gold's (TSX:T.CNL, Stock Forum) Buritica project, for starters, can proceed on time to production of its high-grade gold and silver. By 2015 one hopes. This project in Antioquia, very close to the city of Medellin, is what you might call the objective correlative for the nation.
CNL has some of the generational challenges associated with all new mines down there: illegal miners blowing themselves to bits in their search for a livelihood -- that's the most obvious thing.
Luckily, Continental's executives and operators at the site are spending as much time with these former coffee growers and the activists in the region, and with local government types, as they are with engineers and mine developers.
Mark Moseley-Williams, Mauricio Castañeda and Vic Wall have been patient. Mauricio, whom I have seen in action many times, is as loyal to the mine and the company as he is to his Antioqueño heritage and the needs of his community and co-workers.
 I can say the same about people at other projects out there: Atico Mining's (TSX:V.ATY, Stock Forum) work at an existing mine, El Roble in Choco, comes to mind first. Times are tough for the mining equities, but new ownership at El Roble, in this case Peruvian via Atico, is trying to keep employment at 100 percent. They also play basketball in the town gymnasium.
On the flip side, I am glad to name others in Colombia who came for the quick big bucks, mostly ignored the locals and their concerns, made no effort to understand where the municipal and regional officials were coming from in terms of their constituencies, and now they are getting hammered.  
How do you answer these folks out there who call you names?
The mining world is chock full of characters, rough folks, men and women. I remember the first time I met Judy Baker, I think at the time Canada Lithium. A real knockout, and she ate twice as many flapjacks, ham and eggs as I did for breakfast that morning. These miners and prospectors smoke and drink more than, say, the biomedical professionals I follow. They tend to gamble more, stay out late more and read fewer romantic novels. Yet they are scientists in their own ways, some of 'em.
Not the liars of course, and the cheaters and thieves. Scoundrels, you know.
Oh, and the geologists, don't get me started. The one trait geologists tend to share, their commonality: they are all so cheap, cheap cheap. Spendthrifts. That's why they have to hire promoters -- to show them how to buy drinks at the bar.
Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, used condoms. Well, I can take criticism. I do prefer that critics avoid cuss words, maybe try to be more creative with their vocabulary.  
Dear TCR, 
Thanks for Inovio Pharma (AMX:INO, Stock Forum), and OncoSec Medical (OBB:ONCS, Stock Forum). Do you still own Biocryst?
Dear XX-R,
I own about 16,000 shares of BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:BCRX, Stock Forum) down from maybe 75,000 at the peak. Five years ago, I thought BCRX was going to $40 a share. Instead it went back to a buck. Now it's in the news again with a bunch of new drug candidates, and of course, a Phase III for intravenous peramivir as a last-resort influenza treatment. The stock is back at $7, and my technician friends say it looks like it will break out to $9 in much the same way Inovio and OncoSec are busting their equity straitjackets. Inovio, by the way, is something that was fed to me on a platter two years ago, and I am finally catching up with the possibilities of synthetic DNA and electroporation delivery. We lost a son to leukemia many many years ago, and I have hope that Inovio Pharma discovers the holy grail for cancer, melts the chalice down and tips its vaccinating needles with the resulting gold.
Resourceful one, 
Where do these metals equities go from here?
Resourceful XX one, 
You probably know as well as I do. All I can point out is that our audience tends to be into deep-value investing. So: what's cheap?
Yes, we do have a few among our TCR family who enjoy plotting trajectories on stock charts and using what they hope are algorithms that coincide with all the other flash-trading that is boosting blue-chip paper these days. Most of them live in Newark, New Jersey, I believe.
On my list for cheap -- in the resources, are some of the names I have mentioned before, including most of our TCR 8. If you see a turnaround in Colombia coming soon, you probably want to own Colombian Mines (TSX:V.CMJ, Stock Forum). They are a small version of the Grupo de Bullet syndicator that spawned Continental Gold down there. Solvista Gold (TSX:V.SVV, Stock Forum) is another example of rock-bottom cheap, with enough cash for two more years of prospecting and a nice side deal with a large mining company. SVV is one of our TCR 8.
If you like West Africa, and want a prospector that has been in Ghana for eight years, is contracting out alluvial miners for millions of dollars of income and has more licenses than even Newmont out there, it is Xtra-Gold (TSX:T.XTG, Stock Forum). There is plenty out there that is cheap, but each of those, including CMJ, has a lengthy track record in their respective jurisdictions, the necessary cash to go 2 more years or even 3, and properties that have the expanse and the grade to become large mines, mostly gold and copper.
Anything to avoid, or look to get cheaper in resources or whatever?
I like the idea of owning high-grade gold properties that have a shot at producing product in the next six to nine months. The problem is that these are not easy to find and are still not cheap enough to justify the risk of execution.
Barkerville Gold Mines (TSX:V.BGM, Stock Forum) has a lot riding on its goal of producing gold, actual gold, by March in another pour up in British Columbia. But I'd be more comfortable owning it at 25 cents a share Canadian than its current 40 cents. Especially in this dumpster market for metals equities.
Another British Columbia miner up there trades at a fifth of Barkerville's value right now and has what looks like a pact that paves the way for sale of its gold flotation concentrate. That is Bralorne Gold Mines (TSX:V.BPM, Stock Forum). Once again, I'd try to get it even cheaper than its current 29 cents Canadian, if possible.
I don't own either of those and, if I had to choose, I'd go with old Bill Kocken's Bralorne.
I have a sneaking suspicion that Revett Minerals (TSX:T.RVM, Stock Forum) might get a takeover offer here soon.
As for stuff outside resources, I am looking every so closely at Sysorex Global (OTO:SYRX, Stock Forum) as a beneficiary of a new publicly traded structure, if you will. I own a little bit.
Anything you want for the holidays?
Have you been tracking Danny Deadlock's analysis at Ticker Trax?
You know, when Marcus New at Stockhouse and I created Ticker Trax four or five years ago, we agreed at some point to hand it off to someone who could do justice not just to gold, silver, copper and so on -- but also to energy, to engineering and to the occasional Internet-savvy technology developer.
Danny Deadlock (real name) got the nod, and from Calgary he is cherry-picking what is cheap, cheap, cheap. He is getting a lot of attention for that LX Ventures (TSX:V.LXV, Stock Forum) that he singled out, but as I go back and look at his analysis just since July 2013, I am finding some real hat tricks here.
Take Empire Industries (TSX:V.EIL, Stock Forum). Danny tagged it at 6.5 cents Canadian in August. At the time, he wrote for his Ticker Trax family:

The company has more stock outstanding (about 250 million shares) than I like to see but the market cap is only $16 million - yet the business model and turnaround potential is very strong and few investors even know the company exists.
In Q1 Empire had net income of $1.1 million on revenue of $24 million. Their order backlog at the end of Q1 was $110 million and they have signed almost $60 million in new contracts since May.
So what happens? EIL comes in with a kick-bum quarter of profits two months later. The stock rockets. I swear, Danny has a Judy Baker's dozen of those this year. So yeah, I want another year of Ticker Trax, purdy please.
Your friendly, 
Thom Calandra  

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