Thursday, January 16, 2014

Solitario Exploration and Royalty Stays On Track

Solitario Exploration and Royalty (XPL) has a gold project in Nevada and a zinc project in Peru.  The CEO is a geologist, which I respect.  My readers know how seriously I take a mining executive who knows how to pull metal out of the ground.  He got his undergraduate degree from the same school as me - Notre Dame.  I have not liked my school for many years but I don't hold it against other alumni provided they are competent and honest.

Their Nevada gold project displays MII resources on their web page along with their NI 43-101 report, and they summarize their 2P reserves separately.  The Au grams/ton look pretty low but that's normal in light of declining ore grades worldwide.  Their estimate for AISC is higher than gold's long-term historical average price, so this project is viable as long as the world bullion price remains elevated.  The Peru zinc project is still under development and I did not see a 43-101 report for that one.  Peru ranks 83 / 175 on Transparency International's Corruption index and 47/178 on the heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom.  That means there's more sovereign risk for the Peru project than the US project.  They also had four other active projects listed at this time, in various stages of exploration.

I checked out their 10-Q financial statement for Q3 filed on November 6, 2013.  They had $3.4M in cash on hand as of September 30, with a wildly variable monthly burn rate.  They're only losing -$70K/month as of that quarter but they still have a lot of exploration work to do on their projects.  They have funding agreements with larger partners, so I have little reason to see lack of capital as a limitation on development of their projects.

These folks have a lot of work to do but the big partners they lined up make success easier.  I plan to revisit Solitario once their projects are more mature.

Full disclosure:  No position in Solitario Exploration and Royalty at this time.