All that glitters is not gold. With significant industrial appeal, silver and PGMs capture the attention of consumers, miners and investors alike. Below is a sampling of juniors that should be on your radar in this space.
One of the unabashed success stories among junior silver miners is Endeavour Silver (TSX: EDR; NYSE: EXK), which has grown from zero production in 2004 to 11.4 million oz. silver equivalent production in 2015 from three high grade, underground, silver-gold mines in Mexico: Guanacevi in Durango state, and Bolanitos and El Cubo in Guanajuato state.
In October, the Vancouver-based company reported its third quarter production of 1.28 million oz. silver and 14,364 oz. gold for silver equivalent production of 2.4 million oz. That brings nine-month output for 2016 to 4.4 million oz. silver and 46,000 oz. gold for 7.8 million oz. silver equivalents, on track to meet its full-year revised guidance of 5.5-6.0 million oz. silver, and 49,000-54,000 oz. gold, or and 9.0-9.8 million oz. silver equivalents.
Endeavour should see lower production in the second half of 2016 compared to the first half, and is looking at ways to boost production in 2017 to fill its excess milling capacity.
After years of turmoil, Toronto-based Liberty Silver is getting back on its feet with a new board and Bruce Reid-led management team announced in October. The junior’s flagship asset is an option from Renaissance Exploration to earn a 70% interest in the Trinity Silver silver project in Nevada’s Pershing County.
Liberty Silver lists its challenges over the past years as: Cease trade orders by U.S. and Canadian regulators in October 2012; insurance underwriter’s denial of insurance coverage under the company’s directors’ and officers’ liability insurance policy in 2013; a securities class action lawsuit brought against the company in 2013; difficult capital market conditions and declining commodity prices through this period; and, limited funds available in the company’s treasury.
To earn its 70% interest in Trinity Silver, one final requirement is for Liberty to produce a bankable feasibility study by March 29, 2017. Instead, Liberty is renegotiating to buy 100% of the property for $1 million, which also involves negotiations with underlying owner Newmont Mining about its net smelter return royalty.
NORTH AMERICAN PALLADIUM
Ontario-focused platinum group metals (PGM) miner North American Palladium (TSX: PDL; US-OTC: PALDF) has had its share of ups and downs over the years, but this year is seeing a significant revenue rise thanks to much improved production numbers at its sole producing asset, the Lac des Iles palladium mine near Thunder Bay, Ontario.
In the second quarter of 2016, NAP produced 38,203 oz. payable palladium at an all-inclusive sustaining cost of US$699 per oz. compared to 22,904 oz. palladium in the year-ago quarter at a AISC of US$1,456 per oz., when there was a mill shutdown due to water balance issues.
Quarterly revenue was $39.9 million, up $12.6 million or 46% compared to last year’s second quarter, while adjusted EBITDA was $1.1 million, an increase of $5.1 million compared to a year ago.
SILVER STANDARD RESOURCES
Vancouver-based Silver Standard Resources (TSX: SSO: NASDAQ: SSRI) has long been a stalwart in the junior silver mining scene, but is now branching out further into gold mining.
Its Pirquitas mine in southern Argentina is one of the largest primary silver mines in the world, and began commercial production in December 2009. In 2015, it produced a record 10.3 million oz. silver and is expected to produce between 8 and 10 million oz. silver in 2016.
Silver Standard also owns and operates the Marigold gold mine in Nevada, which has been in continuous operation since 1988. It also achieved record production of 207,006 oz. gold in 2015 and is expected to produce up to 210,000 oz. gold in 2016.
In May 2016, Silver Standard bought Claude Resources and its Seabee gold mine in Saskatchewan, which again produced a record 75,748 oz. gold in 2015 and is expected to produce up to 72,000 oz. gold in 2016.
But silver will remain a corporate pillar: In the development pipeline, Silver Standard has the Pitarrilla silver project in Mexico and the San Luis silver project in Peru.