How to identify silver mining takeover targets in 2012

The only reliable way to predict what sorts of junior silver mining stocks will get acquired is by looking at the types of companies that have gotten acquired in the past.

At one point or another, everyone who invests in the junior mining sector thinks about the big buyout their company could get. You’re more likely to pick a dud than a winner, though, and that means it’s all the more important to do your due diligence before plowing into a mining stock.

The only reliable way to predict what sorts of junior silver mining stocks will get acquired is by looking at the types of companies that have gotten acquired in the past. And contrary to a common investor belief, it’s producers (companies that are already pulling silver out of the ground) – not the hotshot young explorers that have uncovered a giant deposit – that tend get acquired.

“As silver miners continue to amass healthly cash treasuries, the sector looks primed for a spate of merger and acquisition activity,” Haywood Securities wrote in a recent research report on silver mining stocks (per Mineweb). “Producer/producer-sector consolidation seems – at the moment – to be a preferred route for silver producers to add to their production growth profiles. For example, Pan American’s recent acquisition of Minefinders, First Majestic’s proposed acquisition of junior producer Silvermex Resources, and Endeavour Silver’s proposed acquisition of AuRico Gold’s El Cubo operating silver-gold mine.”

Haywood’s report almost reads like a manual for identifying mining takeover targets. Look for small and medium-sized producers that control large deposits. Why, after all, would a large mining company take a chance on acquiring a potential deposit when they can go after one that’s going to start generating income from day one?

Knowing what the majors are looking for makes our job easier. Haywood even went on the record with a list of their favorite producers in their report. Among them? Endeavour Silver (NYSE:EXK), Fortuna Silver Mines (NYSE:FSM) and Mandalay Resources (PINK:MNDJF).

A few we’ve identified? Scorpio Mining Corp. (PINK:SMNPF), Golden Minerals Company (AMEX:AUMN) and Great Panther Silver Ltd. (AMEX:GPL). We’ve identified several other silver producers in our new book, The Top 500 Gold and Silver Mining Stocks.

Like this post? On Saturday, we also wrote about Haywood Securities’ fascinating silver price forecasts through 2016.

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Up 180%? 10 best gold and silver stocks returns year-to-date

From Wilcat Silver Corp. to Midway Gold Corp., here’s a look at the Top 10 best gold and silver stocks with the biggest returns this year.

Picking winning gold and silver stocks is notoriously difficult. Not only are mining stocks influenced by volatile precious metals prices, they’re also subject to natural disasters, political risk, worker strikes, misinformation and poor assay results. If you can find the right companies with the right management (see my post How to pick gold stocks that outperform the market), the gains can be extraordinary.

Here’s a list I put together of the top 10 biggest gainers in the gold and silver market year to date. I pulled only from the 100 largest gold and silver stocks by market cap:

Stock YTD Gain
NEWSTRIKE CAPITAL INC. (PINK:NWSKF) 181.24%
Midway Gold Corp. (AMEX:MDW) 177.48%
NGEX RESOURCES INC. (PINK:NGQRF) 144.63%
Richmont Mines Inc. (AMEX:RIC) 129.55%
WILDCAT SILVER CORP (PINK:WLDVF) 114.23%
SCORPIO MINING CORP (PINK:SMNPF) 97.62%
PRETIUM RESOURCES INC ORD (PINK:PXZRF) 63.02%
Samex Mining Corp. (OTC:SMXMF) 51.39%
Vista Gold Corp. (AMEX:VGZ) 48.54%
Minefinders Corp. Ltd. (AMEX:MFN) 44.75%

The year-to-date gains listed above are particularly impressive considering the steep losses gold and silver stocks suffered yesterday. Several of the stocks on the list lost nearly 20 percent in a brutal day of trading. Here are my guesses as to why these stocks have out-performed their peers this year:

NEWSTRIKE CAPITAL INC. (PINK:NWSKF): Newstrike’s Ana Paula project in Mexico continues to show impressive drill results. Most recently, the company announced 119.60-meter interval grading 3.76 g/t gold. That’s after results of 230.95-meter interval grading 7.5 g/t gold in April. The Ana Paula project has good pedigree. It was purchased from Goldcorp Inc. (NYSE:GG) last year. Goldcorp still has a robust mine there in Los Filos, and Torex Gold Resources Inc.’s (TSX:TXG) Morelos project is nearby. All three are part of the Guerrero Gold Belt.

Midway Gold Corp. (AMEX:MDW): Company insiders have been big buyers over the past six months snagging 100,000 net shares (per DailyFinance). Analysts have a price target of $3.71 on the stock as drill results from Nevada roll in. Midway’s gained a lot of investor interest thanks to a joint venture with Barrick Gold Corporation (NYSE:ABX).

NGEX RESOURCES INC. (PINK:NGQRF): The company’s Josemaria copper-gold deposit in Argentina has 460 million tonnes of gold (0.30 g/t gold) in the ground. NGEx’s also drilling for potash in Eritrea with results expected next month.

Richmont Mines Inc. (AMEX:RIC): Richmont’s Wasamac gold deposit just seems to keep mushrooming. Most recently, the company intercepted 7.28 g/t gold over 31.40m. The company has interests in 14 projects in Ontario and Quebec.

WILDCAT SILVER CORP (PINK:WLDVF): One of a handful of precious metals stocks that’s focused exclusively on silver, Wildcat Silver Corp. has an 80 percent interest in the Hermosa silver project in Santa Cruz, Arizona. The project has an indicated resource of 36 million ounces of silver and an inferred resource of 85 million ounces. Recent drilling results showed an impressive 230.9 g/t silver.

SCORPIO MINING CORP (PINK:SMNPF): Headquartered in Canada, Scorpio’s mines in Mexico are already in production. Fifty-five percent of the company’s revenue comes from silver – with the rest a mix of zinc, copper and lead. In addition to their operational Nuestra Señora mine, Scorpio has its eyes on more than 40 other exploration targets.

PRETIUM RESOURCES INC ORD (PINK:PXZRF): Much of the excitement around Pretium surrounds the company’s Snowfield deposit. Pretium could join up with mining major Seabridge Gold, Inc. (AMEX:SA) to further explore the project. On top of Snowfield, there’s the “Bonanza-grade” results the company recently announced at its Brucejack Project (5,740 g/t gold and 2,750 g/t silver).

Samex Mining Corp. (OTC:SMXMF): Samex is an early-stage exploration company that’s drilling in the Los Zorros District in Chile. Four out of 46 holes drilled at the Milagro project yielded 4.26 to 5.56 g/t gold.

Vista Gold Corp. (AMEX:VGZ): Impressive results from the company’s Mt.Todd Gold project pushed shares up nearly 20 percent in a day last week. Measured mineral resources were bumped up 23 percent to 353,000 ounces of gold. Indicated resources climbed 14 percent to 506,000 ounces of gold.

Minefinders Corp. Ltd. (AMEX:MFN): Minefinders’ massive Dolores gold and silver mine in northern Mexico is in production and has proven reserves of 1.2+ million ounces of gold and 68+ million ounces of silver. The company’s also evaluating the viability of a mine at its La Bolsa property.

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