Canada Zinc Metals (CZX) is Our New Featured Company.
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Salman Partners suggest how investors can play the imminent shortage of zinc and list Canada Zinc Metals as one of the few alternatives for the development of zinc resources. Recently, the firm commented:
“We believe that, beginning next year, the world faces an increasing shortage of zinc mines. The opening up of the Akie district could help Canada make an important contribution to alleviating such a shortage.”
The zinc market is approaching a tipping point. Independent mining research firms across the globe are projecting a massive supply deficit for zinc in the coming years. The reason for this projected deficit is simple. Many of the world’s largest zinc mines are permanently shutting down operations as the economic ore has run dry. Furthermore, there are very few new zinc mines being developed. Meanwhile, demand for zinc systematically continues to rise.
image source: www.crugroup.com
Lundin Mining’s Galmoy Zinc Mine in Ireland has closure plans approved by regulatory authorities and remains on schedule to be shut down prior to the end of 2012. Xstrata’s Brunswick Mine, the world’s largest underground zinc mine, is scheduled for closure in 2013.
The Century Mine in Australia, the country’s largest open pit zinc mine, is scheduled to begin the closing process in 2013. The Lisheen Mine in Ireland, one of the largest producers of zinc concentrates in Europe, has an approved closure plan in place as well. These are just some of the major zinc mines scheduled for closure in the near-future, and account for a loss of roughly a million metric tons of zinc production annually. This loss of production will equate to nearly 10% of the entire world’s annual zinc consumption.
The last time the zinc market entered a supply deficit, its price more than quadrupled from under $0.40 to over $2 a pound in less than two years. The deficit occurred from 2004 through 2006. Look at zinc’s rapid price increase during that deficit period:
The projected zinc supply deficit in the near-future is predicted to be more than twice as severe as the one in the mid 2000′s. And given the lack of near-term production zinc projects in the world, the deficit could last much longer than the previous. Reuters reported that analysts believe the zinc market is heading for the tightest supply conditions in 30 years.
With global zinc demand growing 1-3% annually, and it being the fourth most consumed metal in the world, new zinc mines are desperately needed.
image source: www.crugroup.com
Our team wanted to get ahead of this potential trend by investing in, and introducing to you, a company with one of the largest zinc deposits of its kind in the world. This company has already spent more than $31 million on its massive flagship zinc project.
Furthermore, in today’s market environment, where cash can become king in a moment, we sought a company with a treasury balance larger than many junior mining companies’ market caps. Our new Featured Company has roughly $13 million in its treasury.
In addition to a large treasury balance, in this market particularly, an experienced management team with a proven and lucrative track record is paramount. This type of management team comes from having connections at an institutional level, global relationships with some of the largest mining organizations in the world and the ability to retain some of the most proven technical geologists in the business.
Our new Featured Company is Canada Zinc Metals (CZX:TSXV) and its management has all of these attributes, and more.
Canada Zinc Metals’ lead technical geologist is Ken MacDonald who has an impressive resume to say the least. He was responsible for all mine permitting for the massive Mt. Milligan open pit copper-gold mine (start-up expected in Q3 of 2013). The Mt. Milligan mine, initially owned by Terrane Metals and Gold Corp., was bought out by Thompson Creek Metals for $650 million in September of 2010.
Mt. Milligan is not only located in British Columbia, the same Province in which Canada Zinc Metals’ Akie Zinc-Lead Project is situated, but within relatively close proximity to the asset. In addition, Mr. MacDonald served as a senior permitting official with the Mines Branch of the B.C. government. Needless to say, he is an expert when it comes to mining, permitting & exploration in this region. Knowing he is at the helm of Canada Zinc Metals’ project development and permitting process was pivotal in our selection.
Two Mining Giants Are Already Significant Shareholders in Canada Zinc Metals
Canada Zinc Metals has two significant shareholders who are major players in the mining industry: Lundin Mining and Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group Holdings Co. Lundin Mining is regarded as one of the top base metal producers in the world. Interesting enough, Lundin Mining’s Galmoy Zinc Mine in Ireland, which has been in production for roughly 15 years, has an approved closure plan and remains on schedule to be completed prior to the end of 2012.
Just last month Reuters reported that “Lundin Mining is hunting for zinc and copper mine acquisitions and further ways to boost production, Chief Executive Paul Conibear said in Swedish business daily Dagens Industri.”
Tongling, which may not be a familiar name in North America, is one of the world heavyweights in the mining industry. It is a large Chinese mining conglomerate (State-Owned Enterprise) and has invested nearly $23 million into Canada Zinc Metals at significant premiums to the current share price.
Tongling has made numerous trips to Canada Zinc Metals’ flagship Akie Zinc Project. The Chinese mining conglomerate, in one financing, invested $18 million in Canada Zinc Metals at a price of $0.5735 per share. Once that particular financing closed, Tongling owned nearly 36% of Canada Zinc Metals.
Tongling’s principal activities are exploration, mining, ore processing, smelting & refining and products processing of copper, lead, zinc, gold, silver and other non-ferrous and rare metals. The relationship between Canada Zinc Metals’ management and Tongling is one of great respect, with both parties hosting one another in order to better expand their business relationship.
Lundin Mining is estimated to own approximately 4.38% of Canada Zinc Metals’ outstanding shares.
Tongling is estimated to own approximately 35.9% of Canada Zinc Metals’ outstanding shares.
A Rare Opportunity
Canada Zinc Metals is the 100% owner of an advanced zinc-lead project, known as the Akie Project, in North Central BC. It is one of the largest zinc deposits of its kind in the world, with a resource of:
Indicated resource: 12.7 million tonnes of 8.38 % Zn (zinc), 1.68% Pb (lead) & 13.7 g/t Ag (silver) at 5% Zn cut-off.
Inferred resource: 16.3 million tonnes of 7.38% Zn, 1.34% Pb & 11.6 g/t Ag at 5% Zn cut-off.
As mentioned, there has been more than $31 million spent by Canada Zinc Metals on the Akie Project. A total of 108 drill holes have been completed to date on the project, with a total core length of 46,043 metres.
Canada Zinc Metals has roughly $13 million in the bank and an additional $1.5 million (approx) in equities. The company’s last financing was completed at $0.77 per share, when it raised $3.7 million. Its shares currently trade for $0.36, just two pennies above its 2 year low and a key reason for our introduction at this time.
Company Share Buyback In Place
Less than two months ago, on August 2, 2012, Canada Zinc Metals filed a Form 5G with the TSX Venture Exchange and received approval to purchase, at market price, up to 6,825,681 common shares, being approximately 5 percent of the company’s issued and outstanding common shares, by way of a normal course issuer bid through the facilities of the TSX-V. The bid commenced on Aug. 1, 2012, and will stay open for 12 months from that date. In the same press release, the company included that “it purchased 2,432,500 common shares under its existing normal course issuer bid over the past 12 months.”
Why did Canada Zinc Metals seek approval to buy back its own shares?
According to its press release on August 2, 2012:
“The company is engaging in a normal course issuer bid because it believes that the market price of its common shares does not properly reflect the underlying value of the company. The purpose of the bid is to reduce dilution of the company’s shares and to enhance the potential future value of the common shares which remain outstanding, thus increasing long-term shareholder value.”
On August 2, 2012, the date of the announcement, Canada Zinc Metals’ share price was $0.365 – right around where it closed this past Friday. You can read the full press release by clicking here.
This is a company that believes in its assets. How often do you see a junior mining company make this kind of announcement?
Canada Zinc Metals’ Akie Project is Massive
The Akie claim block, located in North-Central BC, covers 6,400 hectares. The Akie Project hosts the Cardiac Creek deposit, which is year round road accessible.
The Akie zinc-lead Project is situated within the southern-most part (Kechika Trough) of the regionally extensive Paleozoic Selwyn Basin, one of the most prolific sedimentary basins in the world for the occurrence of SEDEX zinc-lead silver and stratiform barite deposits.
Canada Zinc Metals owns a royalty free, 100% interest in both the Akie Project and an extensive package of claims referred to as the Kechika Regional Project. Canada Zinc Metals is the dominant land holder in this prolific mineral belt (Kechika Trough). The Kechika Trough hosts in excess of 80 million tonnes of base metal resources. Canada Zinc Metals’ claims within the Kechika Trough are outlined in red in the map presented earlier in this report.
Advancing its Akie Project
Since acquiring a 100% interest in the Akie Project, Canada Zinc Metals has completed a tremendous amount of work. By the end of 2008, the company had completed 37 drill holes for a total of 18,290 metres. This drilling helped define the Cardiac Creek deposit, which lies within the Akie Project. The company systematically drilled through to the end of 2011, which produced the current updated NI 43-101 resource announced in April of 2012. In that press release the company stated that,
“The new resource results from additional surface diamond drilling completed by the Company during the period mid-2008 to the end of 2011 and further establishes the Cardiac Creek deposit as one of the premier undeveloped zinc-rich base metal projects in the world.”
Click here to read full press release.
The Cardiac Creek deposit, which hosts the NI 43-101 resource on the Akie Project, is a high grade mineralized zinc-lead-silver deposit which is amenable to underground mining methods.
As you can see in the above illustration, Canada Zinc Metals has a good understanding of which way the mineralization is running and how to potentially expand the resource further. In the April 2012 NI 43-101 resource update news release, the company reported: “Further delineation and exploration drilling is being considered using underground drilling stations located in the footwall of the deposit on the 950m elevation. All permitting and engineering designs are complete and in hand in order to commence the underground drill program.”
On April 30th of 2012 Canada Zinc Metals released an updated NI 43-101 Resource Calculation on the Akie Project:
Let’s look more closely at the in-situ value of the metals contained. In-situ value is a simple formula. It is the value of all mineral resources (measured + indicated + inferred). We’ve provided the current prices of the metals discovered within the Akie Project:
Canada Zinc Metals has shown the Akie Project contains a massive, high-grade, world-class zinc deposit- and the company believes there is possibly more to uncover. The deposit remains open at depth, up-dip and along strike. Permitting and engineering designs are complete to potentially expand and further develop the asset.
Canada Zinc Metals has constructed a 50 person trailer camp & core facility. Environmental baseline studies began in 2007 and continue to show that the impact of an underground mine is far less invasive than an open pit. Nevertheless, this is a key stage for any developed project. With Ken MacDonald leading Canada Zinc Metals from an exploration and geological standpoint, leadership is in the right hands.
Contemplating a Mine at Akie and What Differentiates this Asset
Current existing infrastructure in the area is a key advantage. This region is surrounded by producing mines and has a long history of mineral extraction. The Akie Project is accessible by road year round. There is railway access and BC’s largest hydro electric power source nearby.
If developed into a mine, the Akie Project would be a high-grade, underground project, which are an environmentally preferred operation and are typically easier to get permitting for than an open-pit.
Our team asked Canada Zinc Metals’ VP Exploration, Ken MacDonald, why an underground operation would be more suitable for the Cardiac Creek deposit which lies within Akie.
He responded with:
Due to the dip and geometry of the ore body, the Cardiac Creek deposit lends itself well to underground mining. Underground mining creates a smaller physical footprint with less potential environmental impact to terrestrial and aquatic systems in the area. An underground operation will also allow for the opportunity to put waste material (paste backfill) back underground in an anoxic environment, thus reducing the amount of waste rock stored on surface and reducing the risk of acid mine runoff and metal leaching. As well, we can examine dry stack tailings as an option, further reducing the volume of waste rock on surface.
Underground mining is more selective in terms of recovery and grade control, and can better target higher grade material, especially early in the mining cycle. And the CAPEX overall is generally lower when compared to open-pit mining; as less infrastructure and equipment and manpower is required. And there are no highwall issues or significant reclamation issues to deal with.
- Ken MacDonald
Case Study on Canada Zinc Metals Management
Success and working with industry leading companies is nothing new to the group behind Canada Zinc Metals. The group behind Canada Zinc Metals includes members of the Varshney family. In the mid 90s, the Varshney family, which includes Chairman and CEO of Canada Zinc Metals, Peeyush Varshney, his brother Praveen, who is CFO and Director of Canada Zinc Metals, and their father, Hari Varshney, founded Camphor Ventures Inc. (CFV).
This company, acting in concert with Mountain Province Diamonds (MPV), made a significant diamond discovery in the Northwest Territories. It became known as the Gahcho Kue Project (Kennady Lake). After acquiring 10% in the diamond claims mentioned above on Aug 19, 1994, Camphor Ventures, led by the Varshney family, had a share price of $0.65. In less than a year, by May 1, 1995, the stock was trading at $5.25. De Beers eventually took a 51% joint venture partner role in the project. In 2007, CFV was acquired by MPV. Full details can be viewed by clicking here.
Gahcho Kue is now considered to be the largest new diamond mine under development in the world. De Beers has been developing the project for almost 15 years and is approaching the final stages prior to a production decision.
As stated, we are shareholders in Canada Zinc Metals, the company is a client and we intend to add to our position following the release of this report. We are biased when it comes to Canada Zinc Metals and will be following up with further reports and an upcoming interview with its CEO, Peeyush Varshney.
Canada Zinc Metals has advanced the Akie Zinc Project, attracting majors such as Lundin Mining and Tongling as investors. Canada Zinc Metals has been buying back its own shares. The company has roughly $13 million in its treasury and an additional $1.5 million (approx) in equities. Equities aside, Canada Zinc Metals is currently trading for roughly 4 times cash value. Its market cap is roughly $50 million. It has spent more than $31 million on its Akie Zinc Project. The company’s shares currently trade for $0.36, just two pennies above its 2 year low. Its 52 week high is $0.60 per share and 2 year high is $0.83.
The next zinc supply deficit is on the horizon. Supply deficits usher in periods of increased M&A activity and a heightened investor awareness of the metal in focus. Keep in mind, the last time the zinc market entered a supply deficit, its price more than quadrupled from under $0.40 to over $2 a pound in less than two years. The forecasted zinc deficit is expected to be much more severe than the last.
Featuring companies of Canada Zinc Metals’ (CZX:TSXV) caliber is our main goal at Pinnacle. After four months of research, it is our pleasure to introduce you to our new Featured Company and encourage you to practice thorough and independent due diligence. Feel free to visit Canada Zinc Metals’ website by clicking here. We will have further updates on the company in the coming weeks. Until next time…
All the best with your investments,