No, this is not the worst investment strategy in the world; it is intended to fully take advantage of the power of optionality or buying assets for the price of gold today, and enjoying the extreme and leveraged upside when gold prices increase. A pure optionality play is characterized by low G&A costs and minimal project expenditures – hence companies where management is lean and doing nothing.
To put this into context, let’s look at a simplified case study.
Chesapeake Gold Corp. (TSXV:CKG) is a company led by industry veteran and serially successful, Randy Reifel. Chesapeake Gold owns 100% of the Metates Gold-Silver project in Mexico. The project boasts ~20 million ounces of gold with a cash cost of $517 per ounce. Unfortunately, it also comes with a $4.3 billion price tag.
In light of current market conditions and with a current market cap of C$80 million, Chesapeake’s project is not financeable. This is despite having an in-situ value of C$31 billion. During late 2011, Chesapeake Gold’s market cap peaked at ~C$750 million with the same asset. Since 2011, Metates has progressed considerably, thus a rebound in gold prices can easily warrant a ten-fold increase in share price. At that time, financing will once again become accessible and the market will reward advancing the project towards production.
Looking at the top 30 mega-projects currently in development, there is in excess of over 1 billion ounces waiting to be extracted. Here is a list –
Source: SNL Financial
Subscribers should be familiar with several names we zeroed in on when we first wrote about optionality back in November 2015 in an article titled The Power Of Optionality: Exeter Resources, International Tower Hill Mines, and of course Chesapeake Gold. All companies that have felt the wrath of the bear market, but are not without prolific gold projects.
Obviously there is more due diligence to do here; however, we emphasize optionality speculation should be part of every investor’s gold portfolio. The possibility of a ten to twenty-fold increase in just one position can negate several dogs, and given the current markets there will never be a better opportunity to take advantage of this. This has been a tried and tested investment strategy for the largest names in resources, including Rick Rule and Eric Sprott.
In an interview we conducted with Rick Rule on Palisade Radio, Rick listed the ingredients for a strong optionality play as a company with enough cash to weather the storm, a disciplined management team with low G&A, and lots of patience!
In resources, you are either a contrarian or a victim. Which will you be?