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Archive for the ‘base metals’ Category

Brand new copper price forecasts for 2012, 2013 and 2014

There’s good news and bad news for copper investors in the recent study released by the International Copper Study Group (ICSG). According to their copper forecasts, global demand will exceed supply by 240,000 tonnes in 2012. That should help copper prices in 2012, but the ICSG expects a copper production surplus of 350,000 tonnes in 2013.

The ICSG is careful to point out that the surplus of 350,000 tonnes is “relatively small” and “could vary from those projected.” But their numbers align with what other organizations expect.

A report from UBS shows global copper mine production grew less than 1 percent a year between 2009 and 2011. That was temporary, though, as production numbers are poised to surge to 8.5 percent a year through 2014 (per the Wall Street Journal).

“If China cannot absorb the copper flowing into it, then the outlook for copper is negative,” UBS said in the report.

Growth in China is key as the country consumes 40 percent of the world’s copper supplies. It makes sense then that copper investors grew nervous after disappointing growth numbers out of China during Q1. Still, there were signs in April that growth’s accelerating behind the Great Wall. China’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to a 13-month high of 53.3 in April (per Reuters).

“If we start to see China coming back more strongly in the second half, which is something that we expect, then we could see, you know, stocks starting to come down to really critically low levels and we could see prices sort of bouncing up,” Peter Ghilchik, multi-commodity manager with CRU in London, said recently (per Minyanville). In his words, that could push copper prices toward $10,000 per tonne by the second quarter of 2013 – a record level that we haven’t seen since early 2011.

Other copper price forecasts:

  • Copper will trade in a range between $8,300 and $8,800 per tonne in 2012 according to the Thomson Reuters GFMS Copper Survey (per Reuters).
  • CRU believes copper prices will average $3.85/pound for the year with a peak late in 2012 around $8,650 per tonne.

Our favorite copper price prediction comes from Citi Investment Research – a daring group of analysts who are willing to project prices far off in the future. They see copper hitting $3.80 in 2013, then falling to $3.61 per pound in 2014 (per the Wall Street Journal).

In the near-term, look for copper prices to get a temporary boost off news that copper inventories monitored by the LME have fallen to their lowest levels since 2008 at 241,550 tons (per Reuters).

Altogether in 2012, copper prices have risen about 10 percent. Let’s hope the red metal can keep that trend intact – at least until miners start flooding the market with new supply in 2013.

Related

Copper margin requirements history on the COMEX

The Comex is owned and operated by the CME Group, which acquired the Comex on August 22, 2008. The CME Group sets copper margin requirements based on volatility in the futures market. The more frothy the markets, the higher the CME sets margin requirements. Here’s a full list of the changes to copper margin requirements for COMEX copper futures contracts since 2009:

Jan. 8, 2009

Initial: $7,762.50
Maintenance: $5,750

Aug. 21, 2009

Initial: $6,075
Maintenance: $4,500

Dec. 15, 2009

Initial: $4,725
Maintenance: $3,500

April 30, 2010

Initial: $5,737.50
Maintenance: $4,250

June 7, 2010

Initial: $6,750
Maintenance: $5,000

Sept. 2, 2010

Initial: $5,400
Maintenance: $4,000

Dec. 17, 2010

Initial: $6,412.50
Maintenance: $4,750

Jan. 21, 2011

Initial: $5,737.50
Maintenance: $4,250

Sept. 26, 2011

Initial: $6,750
Maintenance: $5,000

Oct. 4, 2011

Initial: $7,762.50
Maintenance: $5,750

Feb. 13, 2012

Initial: $6,750
Maintenance: $5,000

Source.

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‘Undervalued’ African Metals (AFMCF, AFR) soon to net $20 million/year

African Metals Corp. (PINK:AFMCF) is one of 500 companies that we profiled in our new book (the Top 500 Gold and Silver Mining Stocks). We recently had the honor of doing an exclusive email interview with Nigel Ferguson, the President and CEO of African Metals Corp. Here’s what he had to say.


TradingStocks.me: If you had a few sentences to tell people why they should invest in African Metals Corp., what would you say?

Nigel Ferguson: AFR is under-priced and under valued at present. It will have a solid cash flow base; be very well positioned to expand operations both in the DRC, Zambia and other areas. We will be looking at any project within the base metals arena that is likely to add value through production profits. It’s a company with a solid base after 4 years of work being completed and is ready to expand and take advantage of its very good position in the country.

TradingStocks.me: Do you have any updates on the Luisha South project?

Nigel Ferguson: We are awaiting delivery of the final critical supplies and consumables into DRC so as to allow the DMS plant to be switched on and start processing ore. Ore is being stockpiled on the ROMM pad to allow blending of the grade and allow a consistent ROM feed.

The water recirculation ponds are being finalized with one pond completed as at 17th March and the tailings or slimes dam completed on the 18th March.

The DMS concentrator plant is rated at 100tph and we will ramp up production from a single 8 hour per day shift, to a 24 hour per day operation over the next 2 to 3 months or less.

Overview projected cash flow for the first 5 years is below. We are aiming to have about $20m net profit per year for about 12 years. Capital expenditure in Year 1 is to purchase floatation cells for the treatment of sulphide material from the pit which will be in operation from month 9 onwards.

Please click the image below for a larger version of African Metals Corporation’s projected cash flow for the next five years.

TradingStocks.me: Where do you see the company headed over the next three to five years?

Nigel Ferguson: On the back of a cash flow base, we will be expanding our operations in the DRC and neighboring countries. It should have at least $50m in the bank and two or three more projects on board within 18 to 24 months.

TradingStocks.me: Where do you see the price of gold going in the next year and the next three to five years?

Nigel Ferguson: We are not a gold company and this is not relevant to us. If its copper and cobalt prices. I don’t see the demand for copper weakening over the next 5 years with a projected price range of between $7500 to $8500 per tonne. The developing world is still developing and average demand will remain strong.

Cobalt is still in demand for battery manufacture and until new technology for stored power is found and accepted worldwide there will remain a good demand for Cobalt.

TradingStocks.me: Do you think hyperinflation is a genuine threat to the U.S. economy?

Nigel Ferguson: Yes I do. The US economy is in tatters, artificially held up by the US government bailouts and the printing of money. The critical underlying economic principles are not being worked on and Debt to GDP has blown out beyond any structured recovery can be achieve in a sensible period of time.

TradingStocks.me: Is there anything you think people don’t realize about African Metals?

Nigel Ferguson: We may be at the small end of the market, but with a proven track record in the DRC and production about to commence on the Luisha Project after only 22 months since its acquisition, we are well positioned to take advantage of many other assets on offer in the area. These are being offered to us on a near daily basis. We have a very pragmatic approach to exploration and development of profitable operations.

There is also a continuing trend of “fear of the unknown” with the DRC, which has had bad press over the last few decades. I can assure you that the Katanga Province is not without its troubles, BUT nowhere near the troubles portrayed in the international press and on the whole it is a peaceful place to do business compared to other African countries I have worked in.

African Metals trades under the following tickers: PINK:AFMCF, CVE:AFR and FRA:OWW.

Related

Top 5 copper price forecasts for 2012

Early in December 2011, copper prices started rising, and they’ve shown little sign of slowing that climb since the start of the year. Over the past two months copper prices have risen 11 percent from 3.40 a pound to more than 3.80 a pound.

Since copper is so integral to the expansion the global economy, economic growth means higher copper prices. The numbers are skewed toward China, though. Last year, the PRC alone accounted for 40 percent of global refined copper demand. We can get an idea of just how much growth analysts expect to see in China and around the world in 2012 by taking a look at their copper price predictions for the year. Here are five of them:

1) Average of $3.85 a pound. Cochilco, the Chilean government’s copper commission, raised their copper forecasts last week from $3.50 a pound to a 2012 average of $3.85 a pound. Cochilco cited increased demand out of China as the driver for the move.

2) Up to $9,000/mt. Standard Bank is predicting global copper consumption will rise at a relatively mild 1.2 percent in 2012. That means “demand for copper is unlikely to be strong enough to support prices above $9,000/mt for most of the year.” That’s roughly $4.08 per pound. “We think copper will average $7,700 with good support when we go below $7,000,” Walter de Wet, head of commodities at Standard Bank, told ResourceInvestor.

3) Copper north of $9,000 a tonne. In contrast to predictions from Standard Bank, Barclays Capital analysts predict copper prices will trade “consistently above $9,000 a tonne by the second half of the year” (per ResourceInvestor).

4) $7,350/ton. Early in January 2012, Deutsche Bank AG reduced their 2012 forecast for copper by 18.8% to $7,350/ton. “We expect that near-term deflationary fears from the worsening economic picture in Europe and intensifying hard landing fears in China may continue to depress pricing for the base metals complex,” the bank said at the time.

5) $10,000-a-ton. Strong copper price performance at the start of 2012 had some investors speculating that the red metal could hit $10,000 a ton by the end of the year. “Six months from now the market may be genuinely tight, but it is definitely not genuinely tight today and so I would treat calls of $10,000 a ton with a pinch of salt,” BNP Paribas strategist Stephen Briggs told the Wall Street Journal.

Photo by cobrasoft.

Related

Full list of lithium stocks and lithium mining stocks

Lithium stocks are frequently compared to oil stocks. While oil powered the vehicles of the past, lithium-ion batteries will likely be integral to almost all forms of transportation in the future (see my post How to invest in lithium stocks). That means lithium mining companies stand to profit handsomely in the years to come. Here’s a full list of the biggest lithium mining stocks and lithium-related companies as well as their current market caps:

Stock Ticker Market Cap
Global X Lithium ETF NYSE:LIT $99 million
Market Vectors Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF NYSE:REMX $250 million
Sociedad Quimica y Minera NYSE:SQM $6.7 billion
FMC Corporation NYSE:FMC $4.9 billion
Rockwood Holdings, Inc. NYSE:ROC $3.02 billion
GS Yuasa Corporation TYO:6674 $149 billion
Saft Groupe SA EPA:SAFT $498 million
Galaxy Resources Limited ASX:GXY $198 million
A123 Systems, Inc. NASDAQ:AONE $511 million
Canada Lithium Corp. TSE:CLQ $133 million
Valence Technology, Inc. NASDAQ:VLNC $177 million
Exide Technologies NASDAQ:XIDE $310 million
Advanced Battery Technologies, Inc. NASDAQ:ABAT $87 million
TALISON LITHIUM LTD. TSE:TLH $320 million
Orocobre Limited ASX:ORE $119 million
Avalon Rare Metals AMEX:AVL $257 million
Reed Resources Ltd. ASX:RDR $85 million
Ultralife Corp. NASDAQ:ULBI $85 million
Lithium One Inc. CVE:LI $51 million
Lithium Americas Corp. TSE:LAC $94 million
China BAK Battery Inc. NASDAQ:CBAK $58 million
Electrovaya Inc. TSE:EFL $87 million
Coslight Technology International Group HKG:1043 $733 million
Ener1, Inc. NASDAQ:HEV $33 million
Western Lithium USA Corporation TSE:WLC $44 million
TNR Gold Corp. CVE:TNR $8 million
Latin American Minerals Inc. CVE:LAT $16 million
RODINIA LITHIUM INC. PINK:RDNAF n/a
Greenlight Resources Inc. PINK:PRZCF n/a
FIRST LITHIUM RES INC. PINK:FLNTF n/a
Polypore International, Inc. NYSE:PPO $2.73 billion
Altair Nanotechnologies, Inc. NASDAQ:ALTI $71 million
Lithium Technology Corporation PINK:LTHU $40 million
CANASIA INDUSTRIES CORPORATION CVE:CAJ $5 million
Channel Resources Ltd. CVE:CHU $29 million

In the face of a global economic slowdown, it’s been a rough year for lithium stocks. Of the lithium stocks listed above, only two have posted net gains on the year: Polypore International, Inc. (+44 percent) and Rockwood Holdings, Inc. (+0.064 percent). Here are the top five lithium stocks losers year-to-date:

Company YTD Performance
Ener1, Inc. -94%
Canada Lithium Corp. -73%
RODINIA LITHIUM INC. -71%
Advanced Battery Technologies, Inc.

-70%
TNR Gold Corp. -70%

If I’ve overlooked any lithium stocks, lithium mining stocks, or lithium-related stocks, please note them in the comments section, and I’ll add them to this post.

Related

How to invest in lithium stocks

Looking at investing from a macroeconomic view, it’s difficult to find arguments against the future of lithium. In the words of Forbes, “The gas engine made petroleum the world’s biggest commodity. The electric car could do the same for (lithium).”

When Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) unveiled the company’s luxury electric car, the Roadster, it took the rest of the car industry by surprise. Chevy and Nissan had banked on enormous lithium batteries in their respective electric cars (the Volt and the Leaf), while the Roadster linked together thousands of small lithium-ion batteries (not unlike what you’ll find in your laptop). The net effect was lower costs and higher performance.

No matter what the end battery looks like though, most of the world’s top electric vehicles rely on lithium battery technology to store and deliver energy. And the demand for lithium carbonate and lithium metal should climb rapidly alongside demand for electric cars and mobile gadgets with long battery lives.

As with any emerging industry, investing in lithium stocks requires a lot of homework. Here are three ways to bet on the industry:

1) Invest in a lithium ETF. There are currently two lithium-related ETFs that trade on the New York Stock Exchange (see my post ETFs explained in pictures for information on ETFs). The first, Global X Lithium ETF (NYSE:LIT) is a pure-play on lithium stocks. It seeks to replicate the yield of the Solactive Global Lithium Index – an index composed of “companies active in exploration and/or mining of Lithium or the production of Lithium batteries.” Buying shares in LIT is like investing in each of the 20+ companies that comprise the Solactive Global Lithium Index.

The second lithium ETF on the NYSE is the Market Vectors Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF (NYSE:REMX). REMX invests in companies engaged in the mining of lithium, but also 48 other rare earth and strategic metals companies. That makes REMX far less of a pure play on lithium, but it does distribute risk across several other elements that are increasingly used in high-tech products including wind turbines and hybrid vehicles.

2) Invest directly in lithium stocks. There are a number of companies that are engaged in the mining and production of lithium. The biggest beyond a doubt, though, is Sociedad Quimica y Minera (NYSE:SQM). Based in Chile, SQM produces nearly 30 percent of the world’s lithium carbonate. The company holds rights to huge swaths of the Salar de Atacama – a Chilean lake bed that’s purported to hold 27 percent of the world’s lithium. Here’s a list of the world’s top five biggest lithium stocks (including SQM) and their stock performance year-to-date:

Stock YTD Gain
Sociedad Quimica y Minera (NYSE:SQM) -19.25%
FMC Corporation (NYSE:FMC) -13.8%
Rockwood Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:ROC) +.64%
GS Yuasa Corporation (TYO:6674) -34.7%
Saft Groupe SA (EPA:SAFT) -28%
Galaxy Resources Limited (ASX:GXY) -56.9%

As you can see, it hasn’t exactly been a banner year for lithium stocks, but that could change quickly if and when the global economic gloom starts to lift (or if we suffer through higher crude oil prices). If that happens, you can expect penny lithium stocks to outperform their larger rivals (see my post Top five penny lithium stocks).

3) Invest in car companies that harness lithium technology. The most promising area in lithium technology is the electric vehicle industry. Several companies in the space stand out including:

  • Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA): Manufacturer of the all-electric Tesla Roadster
  • General Motors Company (NYSE:GM): Manufacturer of the hybrid Chevy Volt
  • Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (PINK:NSANY): Manufacturer of the all-electric Nissan Leaf
  • BYD Company Limited (HKG:1211): Manufacturer of the all-electric E6 (see my post BYD Auto IPO: Is the battered Chinese battery and car maker stock a buy?)

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Glencore IPO: 5 things you don’t know about the world’s largest commodities trader

Glencore’s IPO date is set for May 19, 2011, when the company’s stock will begin trading on the London Stock Exchange. A week later (on May 24 or May 25) Glencore stock will also start trading in Hong Kong. Here are five facts you probably don’t know about the world’s largest commodities trader:

1) Raw materials = massive profits. Last year, Glencore logged earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of $6.2-billion (per the Globe and Mail). Glencore makes its billions by having its fingers in lots of important raw materials pots from oil to coking coal, rice and aluminum. While it started strictly as a commodity trading firm, the company began acquiring ownership stakes in mines and agricultural producers during the late 1980s. With ongoing global currency debasement, profits at Glencore have mushroomed quickly. One of the company’s biggest assets comes in a 34.5 percent stake in UK miner Xstrata PLC (LON:XTA). Glencore’s proportion of Xstrata’s earnings amounted to $1.7 billion all by itself in 2010 (per the Financial Times).

2) Just how big is the world’s largest commodities trader? Ummm… quite big. Glencore International AG’s revenues hit $145 billion last year. Keep in mind, that’s revenue, not market cap. By comparison, the New York-based Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) generated $49 billion in revenue last year and has a market cap of $79 billion. Pre-IPO, Glencore is one of the largest privately-held companies in the world. Forbes names the agricultural company Cargill as the largest privately-held company in the U.S. at the moment, and they estimate the company generated $109 billion in revenue last year. Glencore employs 57,500 people around the world. In a word, Glencore is massive.

3) Born in a four-room flat. Founded by trader Marc Rich and several colleagues, Glencore had a humble start in a tiny apartment in central Switzerland. The company was called Marc Rich + Co back then, and Rich is often credited with single-handedly founding the spot market for crude oil. The company was successful virtually overnight reaping $28 million in its first year trading minerals, metals and oil, according to Australia’s Sky News. The next year, Marc Rich + Co pulled in $50 million, and its continued growing remarkably ever since.

4) Instant billionaires. After digging through Glencore’s 1,600-page prospectus, Forbes has confirmed that the company will create at least six billionaires overnight when the company goes public. At the top of the list sits Glencore’s current CEO Ivan Glasenberg. Glasenberg will hold 15.8 percent of the company (1.09 billion shares) for a net worth of $9.5 billion. “I can’t think of any other IPO where an individual’s stake was valued this highly,” Jay Ritter, a finance professor at the University of Florida, told Bloomberg. Other instant billionaires include the directors and co-directors of various commodity departments, and Glencore’s CFO, Alex Beard, as well an unnamed mystery shareholder.

5) High risk, high rewards. Part of what’s made Glencore into the massive commodities titan it is today is the company’s propensity to take risks others are unable or unwilling to take. Their stake in Katanga Mining, which operates in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is a prime example. Congo’s loaded with natural resources, but political instability in the region means some of that metal might never make it to market. Another London-listed mining company, First Quantum Minerals, was recently stripped of its copper mines by the DRC government (per the Financial Times). Katanga could suffer the same fate … or it could help make a fabulously profitable Glencore all the more appealing in the years to come. Investors will decide whether they want to go along for the ride in two short weeks.

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China plans ‘stricter’ control of rare earth mining

Citing environmental concerns, China’s Premier Wen Jiabao unveiled a new plan for rare earth mining earlier this week. The five-year plan would push new technology, stricter environmental regulations and move toward consolidating the rare earth mining industry in China.

Despite the fact that China promised more cooperation with foreign buyers of rare earths, the government was vague enough to make investors nervous about the changes underway in the sector as stocks in several rare earth mining companies rose yesterday. Avalon Rare Metals Inc. (AMEX:AVL) shot up nearly 7 percent, and Australia’s Lynas Corp. (PINK:LYSCF) rose more than 2 percent.

The announcement was also a clear sign that China’s committed to cracking down on the illegal mining of rare earth minerals within its borders. Much of this stock is smuggled out of the country and into Japan where it’s used in numerous high-tech products.

Earlier this month, news leaked out of China that the country was building facilities to house rare earth strategic reserves in the northern region of Inner Mongolia, according to AFP. Now, the government would like to forcibly consolidate the mining of the minerals in the hands of fewer companies.

China’s also planning to consolidate some of the governmental agencies that oversee rare earth mining. “The rare earth industry regulation and management involves several ministries, which, sometimes, have inconsistency in policy making,” Yang Wanxi, director of a government-connected rare earth institute, told Xinhua.

China’s cap on rare earth exports are at the center of what’s quickly becoming a contentious international issue. Last summer, China limited rare earth exports by 72 percent, according to Bloomberg. Six months later, the country announced it would further slash exports by 35 percent for the first six months of 2011.

That’s caused an enormous spike in prices for rare earths as China controls as much as 95 percent of international supply. Slowing that supply to a trickle while demand for rare earths is rising has mining companies from Australia to Wyoming to Canada clamoring to move into production. It’s also ruffled the feathers of governments including the U.S., Mexico and the EU with all three filing complaints with the World Trade Organization over China’s manipulation of the raw materials market, according to the Wall Street Journal.

While the current WTO case against China doesn’t cite rare earths but rather other raw materials, a second case that specifically cites raw earths will likely be opened if the first succeeds. In its defense, China argues that they’re limiting the export of raw materials in order to protect the environment. Many believe that’s a thin argument so that the country can hoard raw materials in an attempt to woo foreign corporations into setting up shop in China.

The WTO is expected to deliver a report to all four countries today that will reject China’s argument that it’s limiting raw materials for environmental reasons. China will then have the option to appeal or open up exports of raw materials. If the government refuses to comply it may face sanctions by the WTO and a future case arguing against export caps on rare earth minerals, which could lead to further sanctions. Either way, it doesn’t appear the rare earths sector will see increased supply out of China anytime soon. That will likely keep upward pressure on the metals through at least July.

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3 reasons to buy shares in Lithium Americas Corp. (TSX:LAC)

When Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) went to market with its lithium-ion-powered electric Roadster, the rest of the automotive industry found itself scrambling to catch up. “All the geniuses here at General Motors kept saying lithium-ion technology is 10 years away, and Toyota agreed with us – and boom, along comes Tesla,” GM exec Robert Lutz said in 2007. “That was the crowbar that helped break up the log jam.”

Now, lithium-ion is the standard in a rapidly-growing industry, and that’s driven up demand and prices for the metal. That puts young lithium mining stocks in a great position to capitalize on growing demand in the years to come. Here are three reasons to consider adding Lithium Americas Corp. (TSE:LAC) to your portfolio:

1) World-class lithium deposit. Lithium Americas’ flagship Cauchari lithium/potassium resource in Argentina is the third-largest lithium brine deposit in the world. Drill holes at Cauchari, which covers 64,572 hectares, have shown a lithium grade of up to 900 milligrams per litre. The company’s Cauchari and Olaroz deposits sit on the Puna Plateau, which holds approximately 84 percent of the world’s lithium brine reserves.

2) Partnerships. Strong financial backing from some heavyweights in the automotive industry indicates that a mine will eventually enter production at Cauchari. Magna International Inc. (NYSE:MGA) currently maintains a minimum 9.9 percent equity interest in Lithium Americas and will have the option to enter into an off-take arrangement entitling Magna to acquire up to 25 percent of the LAC’s lithium production. Mitsubishi Corporation maintains a minimum 4 percent equity interest in Lithium Americas with the option to enter into an off-take arrangement entitling Mitsubishi Corporation to acquire up to 12.5 percent of the LAC’s lithium carbonate including derivatives and potassium production.

3) Growing lithium demand. A recent report by MarketResearch indicates the lithium-ion market will quadruple between now and 2020 to $43 billion. Rising gas prices and tax incentives from Washington could spur even greater than expected demand for electric vehicles (and lithium) in coming years.

Lithium Americas should complete its Preliminary Economic Assessment at Cauchari in the first quarter of this year, and a decision on mine construction is expected in 2012.

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Top 5 best uranium mining stocks

Outside of the obvious industry leaders in uranium mining – Cameco Corporation (NYSE:CCJ) and BHP Billiton Limited (NYSE:BHP) – it’s difficult to find small and mid-cap mining stocks that have differentiated themselves in the sector. Pinetree Capital’s VP of business development Philip Williams recently offered up five of his favorite uranium mining stocks in an interview with The Energy Report. Here are their tickers as well as some commentary on each of the names:

Mega Uranium Ltd. (TSE:MGA). Based in Canada, Mega Uranium is focused on properties in Cameroon, Canada and Australia – home to the world’s largest uranium deposits. Mega’s massive Lake Maitland Project is in the feasibility study stage. The project has an Indicated Resource of 28.7 million tons of U3O8 and an Inferred Resource of 3.6 million tons. The stock is down 7 percent year-to-date and up 60 percent over the past 12 months.

Rockgate Capital Corp. (TSE:RGT). Shares in Rockgate have been on fire, rising 30 percent since the start of the year and more than 400 percent over the past 12 months. The company’s flagship project is the 100 percent owned Falea Uranium/Silver deposit Mali, which has shown an uncapped resource of 20,252,000 pounds of uranium and 31,600,000 ounces of silver. Rockgate could be a potential takeover target as large foreign uranium miners look to grow their holdings in Africa.

U3O8 Corp. (PINK:UTREF). With projects in Guyana, Colombia and Argentina, U3O8 Corp. has significant footholds in South America – an area that’s long been ignored by uranium-mining companies. The company’s Cerro Solo area in Argentina could hold up to about 100 million pounds of U3O8, and its Kurupung Batholith project in Guyana could hold even more. Williams calls South America “the next frontier for uranium development,” and he expects U3O8 will expand its NI 43-101 resources at its projects by almost tenfold this year. Shares are up 15 percent year to date and more than 170 percent over the past 12 months.

Energy Fuels, Inc. (TSE:EFR). Based in Canada, Energy Fuels is focused on uranium deposits in the southwestern U.S. from Utah to Colorado. The stock got a big boost earlier this year when the company’s application for its Pinon Ridge uranium mill was approved. That could turn Energy Fuels into a consolidator in the U.S. uranium mining space as it seeks out rights to more properties in the area. Shares are up more than 55 percent year to date and more than 500 percent over the past year.

Mawson Resources Ltd. (TSE:MAW). Based in Vancouver, Mawson’s flagship project is its high-grade uranium and gold deposit at Rompas in Finland. Surface samples have shown up to 373 ounces per ton in gold and 43.6 percent uranium. Williams calls it “almost freakishly high-grade gold and uranium.” Shares have exploded upward on the strength of these early results. Year-to-date, MAW has returned 5 percent and more than 600 percent over the past 12 months.

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If you’d like exposure to cotton markets without delving into futures and options contracts, a handful of cotton ETNs and cotton-related stocks are available... Read on.

How to buy Chinese Yuan

The Chinese yuan or renminbi has risen about 5 percent a year over the past five years, and some investors argue that China’s currency is still undervalued by 40 percent. If the dollar suffers ... Read on.

Five cheap franchises to start with less than $10,000

Franchises are so ubiquitous we often don’t realize we’re shopping at one. From McDonald’s to Hampton Inns and doggie day cares to campgrounds, they’re literally everywhere. All told, franchises account for 10.5 percent of all businesses in the U.S, and they... Read on.

Why invest in silver?

Ask 10 people why you should invest in gold and silver, and you’ll probably get 10 different answers – many of which will be accompanied by a shrug. Most investors don’t understand the motivation for holding gold or silver bullion. Nonetheless, it’s been difficult to ignore... Read on.

How to Invest in Copper

Copper isn’t as glitzy or glamorous as gold or silver, but in many ways it feels safer. Since copper is regularly used in electronics, it’s consumption per person (particularly in the developed world) has been on the rise for decades. So how does one invest in copper? Read on.