August 17th, 2020 | 08:00 CEST
Barrick Gold, Desert Gold, SolGold - Buffett's Berkshire gives the starting signal
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Born and raised in Hannover, Lower Saxony follows social and economic developments around the globe. As a passionate entrepreneur and columnist he explains and compares the most diverse business models as well as markets for interested stock traders.
Gold is the oldest currency
In the past years the topic gold was only present in small investor circles and was more or less frowned upon by value investors. In the meantime, a lot has happened and gold companies are making a lot of money. The price of a troy ounce of the precious metal has risen from under USD 1,300.00 to over USD 2,000.00 in the past 16 months. With this price rise to a new historic level, producers like Barrick Gold are making a lot of money, which is why Warren Buffett has bought nearly 21 million shares of the company and now holds about 1.2% of the producer. Barrick's market capitalization on Friday was CAD 63.3 billion.
Central banks fuel demand
So far, despite the rise in the price of the precious metal, there has been little interest in the gold sector among private and small investors in Europe and North America. With Buffett's landmark decision that gold stocks belong in a value depot, interest in this sector will increase - and for an important reason, because of the increase in money supply by central banks, more and more investors have to use the precious metal to hedge their assets against loss of value.
Supply of gold will decrease noticeably
In addition to the taboo-breaking of Buffett, the decreasing supply of gold will also occupy the markets in the future. The reserves of the largest gold producers have already fallen by 34% since 2012. In addition, the production peak of the largest mining companies is expected in 2020 with around 118 million ounces of gold. By 2029, an annual decline to around 65 million ounces is forecast - this decline of around 45% will change the industry dramatically.
Not only large producers such as Barrick Gold and Newmont will benefit, but also smaller companies such as Desert Gold Ventures and SolGold. As reserves shrink, producers will have to acquire successful exploration companies in order to continue mining in the future. The high price of gold is currently also putting a lot of liquidity into the war chest.
Take-over candidate for Barrick
Desert Gold Ventures is looking for additional gold deposits in West Africa near a Barrick Gold mine. The company has already discovered gold at several locations on its 400 square kilometre projects and will announce the results of its latest drilling program shortly. Desert Gold's management plans to discover up to six million ounces in the existing structures and subsequently be acquired by a producer. In 2018, when the gold market in Africa was still at around USD 1,200.00 per ounce and still low, more than USD 200.00 per ounce in the ground was paid on acquisitions.
Not much imagination is needed to estimate the impact that the rise in the price of gold will have on the possible take-over price of Desert Gold. The market value of the company on Friday was CAD 31.5 million and from today's perspective, there is a chance that the stake will multiply in the event of a take-over.
Giant with deposits in Ecuador
SolGold is already a different caliber, as the company has explored around ten percent of the world's newly discovered gold in the past ten years. The market value of SolGold is CAD 836.6 million - with ample upside potential as the company has defined a copper-gold deposit in Ecuador since 2012 with 21.7 million ounces of gold, 9.9 million tonnes of copper and 92.2 million ounces of silver at the Alpala Project. A total of 13 projects have now been identified and SolGold intends to move forward rapidly with the exploration plan developed at Alpala to advance the other regional projects.
As the top dog, SolGold is also the only company in the world with a pipeline of opportunities with the same geology, regulatory, tax and social environment. Given that the company's market value is still less than CAD 1 billion and that there are numerous projects in the pipeline, the value of SolGold in a take-over would be significantly higher.
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