Friday, January 03, 2014

Virginia Mines Explores Multiple Properties in Quebec

Virginia Mines (VGQ.TO / VGMNF) is in Quebec, not Virginia down in the US.  Let's get that straight up front.  Their location makes me less concerned with sovereign risk.  The CEO has education and experience in geology, which I like to see.  They have quite a few properties in their pipeline but my readers know I only focus my analysis on projects with 43-101 reports.

Their gold and basic properties are in various stages of exploration and some are connected to other companies with royalty and option agreements.  Only Coulon has an indicated and inferred resource estimate; I didn't see any NI 43-101 reports on their website for the other exploration properties.  This business model depends on their track record of sustaining interest from other large mining companies that agree to fund development.

I perused their quarterly statement dated August 21, 2013.  They have a large and persistent retained earnings deficit.  The have enough cash and short term investments to cover their three-month burn rate but they've been losing money since 2012.  Sorry folks, but I'm not putting my own money into something that persistently loses money no matter how many royalty agreements they have in the pipeline.

Their news releases from 2013 show that they have the ability to raise regular private placements.  Investors obviously like the stock but the business model is still too uncertain for my tastes.  Valuing the properties that produce royalties is possible for those that generate cash flow, but assigning a valuation to the exploration properties is too speculative without 2P reserves in 43-101 reports.  Companies like this depend on their professional relationships with other mining industry leaders to sustain partnerships that develop properties.  Any management change, in particular the loss of a well-regarded top executive, would severely hurt such a company.  That's a bet I'm not willing to make with my own money.

Full disclosure:  No position in Virginia Mines at this time.