|21st Century Yukon Gold Rush Resumes Now|
After a long winter break the market has moved on to the next “hot” thing, but if Yukon’s White Gold District does pays off half as well this summer as it did last summer, we’re looking at gains as high as 1,000% or more in just a few months…
They say good things come to those who wait.
We’ve waited patiently and now we start getting positioned for the great rewards for doing so.
The White Gold District in the Yukon Territory – the big gold exploration story of 2010 - is about to heat up once again. It couldn’t be happening at a better time either.
Last summer this emerging gold discovery district delivered gains as high as 600%. Six months later the stocks in the area have cooled of significantly. They’ve given up a lot of their gains. Most investors were unwilling to wait out the winter when activity in the Yukon stops completely.
On top of that, gold is correcting. Silver prices have gotten slammed. And the junior exploration market is falling even harder.
But it’s all about to turn around very quickly. And the unfolding Yukon exploration story is going to be the main driver.
The “Source Rock” Hypothesis
Northern Canada’s Yukon Territory has a long history of gold mining. The region was virtually uninhabited until gold was discovered just over a century ago. The discovery kicked off the Klondike Gold Rush of the late 19th century.
The Yukon turned into the caricature of an overnight boom town. Thousands of prospectors infected with gold fever flooded the area in search of fortune.
The Klondike Gold Rush turned out to be no different than any other gold rush. A few fortunes were made. Many were lost. And the hordes looking for an easy fortune left as fast as they came.
But a few of those early prospectors stayed. Those few have had decent success over the past century panning the rivers and streams for gold..
Folks armed with nothing more than pans patience braved the harsh winters of the region. They managed to sift through the silt and pebbles to produce an estimated 12 million ounces of gold over the last century.
Since then exploration companies have braved the Yukon from time to time in search of one thing. Those companies have searched for the “source rock” of the gold panners were picking up.
After all, the gold in the streams and rivers had to come from somewhere. It didn’t just appear there. It had to have been washed away from significant gold deposits somewhere close. And given the large amounts of gold in the riverbeds, the source had to be absolutely massive.
The source rocks, if ever discovered, were sure to hold a fortune far greater than the $1.8 billion worth of gold that managed to seep out of the core deposits.
That source was likely discovered two years ago. And the most potentially profitable boom in years has taken hold in this small area in the remote wilderness of the Yukon Territory.
An Offer They Couldn’t Refuse
About two years ago Underworld Resources, a small gold exploration company, acquired a couple of sizeable properties in the White Gold District of the Yukon Territory.
Underworld put together a management team familiar with the area. It was led by a number of geologists and engineers who had success in Alaska. They knew the history and geology of the region and understood the potential for big discoveries to be made.
Underworld completed geochemical analysis of thousands of surface samples. The samples returned ultra-low grades of gold. The gold showings were so small they were often measured in parts per billion (ppb).
It spent well over $1 million working away on the surface to determine where the gold was likely to be found underneath the surface – if it was even there at all.
Once Underworld announced its first set of drill results, the modern Yukon Gold Rush was underway.
Underworld shares jumped from 35 cents to as high as $1.50 in a few days.
The company continued drilling. It was hitting long and high-grade gold intercepts. It was steadily expanding the known size of the initial discovery. It discovered an entirely new zone that contained equally high-grade gold in large quantities too.
Its shares continued rise. They were well above $2 by this point. And the gold exploration community was starting to see this is something big. And if it really was the “source rock” for the Yukon gold, it was going to be something truly massive.
But a major gold miner, Kinross Gold (NYSE:KGC), stepped in and put stop to all the lucrative excitement. Kinross mad an offer Underworld couldn’t refuse.
Kinross owned 8.5% of Underworld and is a significant player in the gold industry. Underworld essentially had no choice but to sell out, regardless of how early they were into a big discovery. Kinross forked over $2.62 for each Underworld share when the deal was done.
The party was essentially over before it began.
This was the end of the Underworld story. It was, however, hardly the end of the Yukon story.
More Discoveries Followed
In the months that followed Underworld’s initial discovery, a number of junior exploration companies picked up all the land surrounding the Underworld’s properties.
The map below shows how all the land surrounding the initial discovery and the companies that have staked their claims:
Note: My tech folks are working on a way to get the full image – it’s massive – posted on the member’s only section of the web site. Until then, Smash Minerals has decent breakdown of its, Kinross’s, and Kaminak Gold’s properties here.
The orange properties in the center of the map are where the initial discoveries were made by Underworld. They’re now owned by Kinross.
Immediately to the south of those are red properties owned by Kaminak Gold’s (TSX-V:KAM).
Kaminak was one of the first companies to drill in the area after Underworld. It had already done its pre-drilling geological reconnaissance and was one of the few companies prepared to drill in the area.
When Kaminak drilled it hit big. Kaminak’s gold drill results were long and high grade just like Underworld’s. They indicated there was another massive gold discovery right in the region. And the market’s reacted.
The discovery launched Kaminak from around 80 cents per share to more than $3.50 in a few weeks. Kaminak continued drilling. The results found more and more gold.
At this point Kaminak has only drilled a few holes, but has a market value of more than $200 million.
That discovery was great for Kaminak. But more importantly, it confirmed the White Gold District hosts multiple big gold deposits and could be the source of the Yukon’s historic gold reserves.
Since then a land grab across the White Gold District and there’s almost no land in the area left to be staked.
The Real Ground Floor: Profile of a Mining Boom
Since there have been multiple discoveries and the White Gold District is shaping up to be one of the great exploration and mining booms of the past century, we’ve got to understand what we’re looking at here.
There have only been a few genuine mining booms in the past 50 years. Nevada’s mining boom, one of the largest as shown below, has made absolute fortunes for early investors. And the earlier they got in, the greater the gains to be had.
The table below shows the life-cycle of the past two major mining booms:
The blue line shows a typical theoretical mining boom. It shows a mining/exploration boom will likely last for 30 years.
They all start off small – a few discoveries here and there. Exploration companies step in and stake off every bit of land. Exploration activity ramps up. Billions of dollars are spent on exploring the area. The biggest and most economical discoveries become mines. The rest – which is a huge majority - becomes worthless plots of land once again.
There are only a couple immensely profitable parts of this cycle though. The first part where all the land is claimed and exploration activity ramps up is by far the most profitable. And it’s the exact stage where the White Gold District is right now.
Explosive growth is just around the corner and now is the time to jump on board.
The Best and Worst of Times
Let me be perfectly clear, the modern Yukon Gold Rush is not a new story.
It was the big story of 2010. One more discovery will make the big story of 2011 and beyond. That’s all it will take.
But here’s the thing, the interest in Yukon stocks has fallen off greatly over the last few months. The reason is simply the weather. Consider this.
Late last summer when the Yukon was most conducive to operate in. Explorers were aggressively working away. Drills were turning. Big discoveries were being made. And the media was all over it:
Mining News - Juniors pour millions into Yukon projects – August 29, 2010
Commodity Online - Brand New Gold Rush - August 14, 2010
The Northern Miner - Yukon Gold Rush - September 1, 2010
Mineweb.com - New Yukon gold rush as prospector may have found Klondike mother lode - August 23, 2010
The intense media focus and multiple success stories drove greedy investors to bid up Yukon-focused exploration stocks with complete abandon to valuation or timing.
They, as usual, paid the price for their behavior. Most of the stocks in the sector have given back all their gains.
The perfect example is Taku Gold Corp (TSX-V:TAK).
Taku has a sizeable stake in the White Gold District. Its properties are on the same trend as Underworld and Kaminak’s discoveries. Last summer its shares ran from 20 cents to a high of 57 cents on pure speculation. Taku wasn’t even going to be able to drill the properties until a year later.
No drilling, no catalysts, no problem was the nonsensical mantra.
Since then Taku and many of the White Gold District companies gave back all their gains and then some:
But now the winter is past drilling season is about to begin. And it’s time to start getting positioned for the second round of the Yukon gold boom.
Twice the Size, Half the Price
The best company to buy now in the White Gold District is Smash Minerals (TSX-V:SSH).
Note: There’s no Pinksheets listing yet, but it will come as the area heats up.
Smash Minerals is the best value in the entire area. It has one of the largest land claims in the entire district. Its claims are located adjacent to the Kinross properties where the initial White Gold District discovery was made. Most importantly though, Smash is cheap.
The table below shows how much cheaper Smash is compared to other White Gold District stocks:
You’ll quickly realize Smash doesn’t have the lowest market cap. But if you look at the map of the area, Smash’s properties are much bigger than most and its relative value is significantly higher.
For example, Smash’s properties are about 10 times larger than Habanero’s properties. Smash’s market value, however, is only 33% larger. If we used Habanero as a baseline, Smash would be worth about $120 million. That’s more than seven times higher than it is right now.
Ethos Capital is another good example. Smash has nearly twice as much land as Ethos. Yet Smash is less than half the price. You’re getting twice as much land for half the price with Smash.
We could go on and on, but you get the point. Smash is just plain cheap. And there’s no good reason why.
The real cause of Smash’s undervaluation is simple. Smash is a recent IPO that wasn’t around when the market was all over the Yukon last summer. It’s still not associated with the White Gold District…yet.
That’s all about to change very quickly. Not only does Smash have the value and a sizeable and well-located land stake, it has the perfect management team that started the entire White Gold District boom.
Lightning Strikes Four Times…Coincidence?
Smash’s management team is probably the most appealing aspect of the company.
It is led by the same people who built Underworld Resources and kicked of the modern Yukon Gold Rush.
Most notably, Adrian Fleming is the CEO and a director of Smash. Fleming is an Australian geologist with more than three decades of experience in the resource exploration and development industry. He played an integral role in the Yukon discovery made by Underworld. He also was part of teams that discovered major gold deposits in Papua New Guinea, Suriname, and the Canadian province of Nunavut.
He has proven his ability to find deposits repeatedly and he is extensively familiar with the White Gold District of the Yukon.
This is incredibly important for Smash. The majority of major mineral discoveries have been made by a relatively small handful of people.
Resource exploration is the only industry where lightning tends to strike multiple times.
It’s not a coincidence. It’s not luck. Its skill and experience. And those that have it, deliver time and time again.
Furthermore, Smash is off to a great start.
It’s still in the very early stages of geological reconnaissance, but the signs are very similar to those Underworld and Kaminak saw before their major discoveries.
Smash has already revealed the details of its exploration plans:
2010: Collect 7,000 soil samples to target areas for geochemical testing. Test surface targets for geochemistry, alteration, and mineralization.
2011: Do everything possible on surface including collecting 15000 more soil samples, additional mapping, magnetic survey, radiometrics, and trenching. Identify most highly prospective drill targets. Drill away.
This program doesn’t have the market too excited right now.
It’s a lot of surface work that doesn’t reveal too much to the markets.
But it’s essential to increase the odds of successfully drilling and making a discovery.
And it’s exactly what Underworld did before it made its big discoveries.
If you did something that worked once, why would you change? Smash isn’t changing anything.
Still though, the market doesn’t care about the process:
As you can see, there hasn’t been much activity in Smash shares. And that’s a good thing for us looking to buy in now long before this story really gets understood by the markets.
Risk and Reward
Smash Minerals has got it all. It has a massive property.
It’s in a region proven to host multiple, large gold discoveries.
Early geological surface readings are similar to those of other big successes in the area.
It’s relatively new and unknown.
It’s extremely cheap on a relative basis too.
As always though, any speculation boils down to simple risk and reward.
Even though it has a lot of potential, it’s important to understand Smash carries a lot of risk at this point.
Sure, it’s in the right area, adjacent to multiple other big discoveries, and early geological testing shows it has similar potential to host a number of sizeable gold deposits. But there is always the risk it doesn’t have anything at all.
To offset the risk, Smash has a very large cash position. Even though its market cap is $16 million, it has cash on hand of $7 million. It will certainly spend a few million this summer, but it’s not going to burn through it all. The large cash balance reduces the downside risk somewhat.
The rewards, however, are truly exceptional at this stage in Smash’s development.
It’s so early Smash is virtually unknown. We’re getting in at a similar level to the big professional investors who bought into the IPO at 80 cents per share by buying in now under $1 per share.
Its market cap is still $16 million so the potential upside from here is tremendous.
Smash has the potential to double or triple from current levels without doing anything. If it’s just valued relative to the other companies in the same area, Smash would easily justify a value of $2 to $3.
Also, since its value still so low, the potential upside is even higher. One significant discovery would put Smash’s value at between $100 million and $200 million virtually overnight. Given the size of its land stake, a reasonable speculative premium could easily double those estimates over again.
Finally, we’re not going to be buried in Smash for a year or two to see if it can deliver on its potential. The company is currently finishing up the arduous, costly, boring, and time-consuming geological surface work to identify drill targets. After that it’s going to start drilling away by the end of the summer.
The drilling results, which will show us whether Smash is on its way to being a 10-bagger or a bust, will be hitting the wires in late September or early October.
Either way, we’re going to know in a matter months.
In the end, we’re basically risking 50 cents to make as much as $10 or more in less than six months. That’s a risk/reward that’s too good to pass up.
Here’s how I see Smash playing out over the summer.
The market will return its focus on the Yukon over the next few weeks and months. Speculators will bid up shares of anything Yukon related as companies work away up there. Smash, since it’s so relatively undervalued, will benefit most from this speculative run-up.
I foresee Smash’s shares rising to $1.50 by midsummer. Then, as other companies in the area start to release results, Smash could add another 50 cents to $1 per share if another discovery is made the White Gold District.
Basically, one more big discovery will make the White Gold District the hottest story markets. There will be a rush to buy any company in the area. And Smash’s massive land stake will become immensely more valuable.
So here’s the plan.
I recommend buying Smash Minerals (TSX-V:SSH) now.
Then, as the summer progresses, we’ll ride the speculative focus that will return to White Gold District stocks. If another discovery is made in the area, we’ll have an easy double by that point. We’ll sell half, take all of our original capital out and take a free ride on what could be one of the biggest exploration booms to come along in decades.
In the unlikely event the entire area turns sour and the numerous recent discoveries don't turn out to be as big as early results showed them to be, we’ll just walk away.
We know the risks. We know the rewards. We have a plan. And we’re looking at one of the biggest stories of the year. We’re not going to have to wait around long to see whether every dollar invested will turn into 50 cents or $10 or more either.
They don’t get much better than this…
Buy Smash Minerals (TSX-V:SSH) now.
Chief Investment Strategist, Q1 Publishing
Action Review: Buy Smash Minerals (TSX-V:SSH) now. Look to sell when shares double as speculative interest builds.