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Big money in Chicago ... Ghana ... Guyana ... Colombia: Ticker Trax

Thom Calandra Thom Calandra,
0 Comments| November 2, 2009


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Ticker Trax

Chicago Expo: Small space, big money

  • New name: Bravo Venture (BVG)
  • Looming ticker: SSP.P in Guyana
  • Colombia:Tiene todo
  • X-tra oomph from Ghana results (XTGR)
  • Rolling Meadows Show: Chicago suburbs look sweet

Ticker Trax™:A Stockhouse Exclusive

SAN FRANCISCO -- An excellent friend called this weekend from Avenue Road in Toronto. Mr. D. told me, “Sometimes, when a door shuts in your face, two windows open.”

We were talking – not about bodies jacked through office windows in Paris and Marseilles … but about money. Lots of it.

I’ll be seeing my excellent friend and his new (private thus far) nano company (with raw material applications) in a week or so. Until then, I have windows. Money windows. You know about some of them. If you subscribe to Ticker Trax and have yet to harvest fresh 2009 greens, the ones you can see just out those windows, you shall be.

In this issue: Sandspring/ETK in Guyana; Premium Exploration (PEM) in Idaho; Bravo Venture Group (BVG) in British Columbia; X-tra Gold (XTRA) in Ghana; Endeavour Financial (EDV) in Vancouver, or is it Colombia? … Inter-Citic Minerals (ICI) in China.

We start here.

  • GUYANA: See that “sponge” of gold I’m holding at the Toroparu Project in Guyana? It is worth almost $20,000 U.S. Uranium pioneer John Adams of Colorado and Utah melted down the little beast of AU for us the other day.

Click to enlargeThe ticker of this producing Guyana mine, when it begins trading in the next week or so in Canada, is SSP.P. All told, some 80-odd million shares likely will debut around 35 cents Canadian. There will be few (if any) sellers at that price.

Sandspring Resources, the name of the new company when SSP debuts, is the subject of an article on Stockhouse. The new ticker is a window into South American money. Fair value for this emerging ticker but producing Guyana gold (and copper) mine is probably $1.10 a share, perhaps a bit more. That figure is based on the value of the existing resource and the likelihood that very few shares will be available for consumption.

Sandspring, or ETK as John Adams’s company is called presently, producesabout 5,000 ounces of gold a year right now, all of it alluvial. A slew of diamond-drill holes are showing and reconfirming a resource of 2.3 million ounces of gold and 260 million pounds of copper (initial NI 43-101 Resource Estimate as defined by Canada securities rules).

Click to enlarge The property itself is properly called the Toroparu Gold-Copper Prospect and it is in the Upper Puruni River Area of Guyana. That is Mr. John Adams here in the beat-up visor and goatee. The American, age 63, owns 54 percent of this ETK/Sandspring thing. The miner tells me he is not selling any of his and his family’s shares. “In it to win it, something like that,” he drawls.

See, share structure in the case of Sandspring/ETK is just as important as the likely strike extensions of Toroparu’s mineralized saprolite and deeper, disseminated gold-copper. That’s because most of the shares are priced at 35 cents Canadian. Mr. Adams’s founder block of 38 million shares has a cost basis of 56 cents.

The two or three Toronto and Denver funds (and other investors) who injected $6 million cash into the capital pool corporation that will purchase ETK’s Toroparu probably won’t be selling, either. ETK’s executives, including John’s partner, lawyer Rich Munson (Gary Cooper look-alike), tell me just 15 percent of the post-issue 80 million shares likely will “float” in the public market.

But how about that sauna of a furnace on site? When John Adams smelts his gold in a corrugated tin and plywood shack that is flag-nogging hot, his barrel-chested son Wes sometimes helps him. Other times, Sandspring’s soon-to-be president, Abraham Drost, warnsthe Steamboat Springs dudenot to spill any scalding metal onto his Crocs or bare toes.

Once in a while, John comes across small diamonds. He puts them aside. “I guess when we’re public we’ll have to figure out just how much these rocks are worth,” he says and passes the crystals to me in a big old filthy pail. I hand ‘em to Marina Trasolini, one of several young and bright analysts who are making natural resources their raison d’etre. Marina writes for Laurence Roulston’s Resource Opportunities in Vancouver. She passes the bucket to Victor Goncalves, another young writer who has his own investor service.

Click to enlargeThis thing at Toroparu is probably no diamond mine. It is gold and copper. With some of the deepest and longest-running rich-red trenches (photo) I ever have seen on a developing mine site. The vast property, 240,000 acres, is within 100 miles of Venezuela’s Kilometre 88, just on the other side of a basin that one day might prove itself as a chalice of abundant gold in Guyana.

Mr. John Adams will be one of the folks telling his Guyana story later this week -- just outside Chicago at Rolling Meadows. That is this coming Friday and Saturday. It is called the Chicago Resource Expo. Rich Radez and his son, Eric, have been staging this show for many years. I’ll be there, too. So will many of my broker and prospector and big-money friends. Subscribers too.

Writers and analysts attending the suburban Chicago show include Mick Fulp and my friend Jay Taylor. Dr. Mike Berry, who accompanied me to Guyana two weeks ago, will attend, too.

The show is free. It’s cozy. Free jumbo shrimp and salmon. Cute hotel. A covered pool. There will be plenty of time for yer-all to meet and greet. Young folks, too.

Here is what Eric Radez, age 34, says: “Thom, I want to encourage younger people to join us. Ya know, I was not taught anything about the importance of raw materials in any of my schooling. So knowledge is power.” Now that I think of it, when was the last time an American or Canadian high school offered a preparatory program in geology? (Please email me and I can send details to the 13-year-old in my life.)

So. Rolling Meadows. There will be many money windows out there in the suburbs. They are tinted green and include Sandspring Resources, Don S. Bubar’s Avalon Rare Metals (TSX: T.AVL, Stock Forum), Revett Minerals (TSX: T.RVM, Stock Forum), Quaterra Resources (TSX: V.QTA, Stock Forum) and Santa Fe Gold (OTO: SFEG, Stock Forum). Please come if you are in the neighborhood of the Midwestern USA.

  • Premium Exploration’s (TSX: V.PEM, Stock Forum) Crooked River region in Idaho has given prospectors more than one million ounces of placered gold from various rivers and streams. The company just raised cash from Australian sources on favorable terms.

Fresh off a Premium tour in Idaho, I am as confident as these new investors that geologist Wilf Struck (pictured here) Click to enlargewill not stop his almost 30-year quest for serious gold deposits until he delivers the goods. Premium has properties in Idaho, in Montana and in Mexico. Premium's land in Idaho is an NI 43-101 gold inferred resource of 531,000 ounces. There are also those platinum group metals (Montana) and a past-producing silver project in Mexico.

Premium Exploration is Planetary Prospect No. 10 of this service. The 47 million-or-so share float should allow subscribers a decent shot at purchasing shares at 21 or 22 Canadian cents. CEO Wilf Struck and President Del Steiner already have a Phase II drill program in place.

  • BioCryst Pharmaceuticals: I have no intention of selling shares of peramivir maker BioCryst (NASDAQ: BCRX, Stock Forum). In fact, below $9, I shall be purchasing more. Likely events, as the world awakens to a problematic Type A H1N1 virus after the EUA of Friday, include overseas stockpiling contracts from Mexico, Israel, Brazil, China, Japan and Israel. More folks are starting to question whether to get the H1N1 vaccine. I offer no advice on that matter. Yet there is ample evidence that the antiviral peramivir, when administered intravenously, shortens symptoms and saves lives. Fair value for BioCryst shares are $20-plus. As more nations, led perhaps by Japan, South Korea and Israel, order peramivir for hospitals, BioCryst itself will become a candidate for any pharmaceuticals seller looking for a fully functional drug discovery lab (gout, psoriasis, leukemia, influenza, possibly cardiac arrest).

  • Here is something for those interested in British Columbia. (Yes, we have a Planetary Prospect there in the shape of moly miner Avanti Mining (TSX: V.AVT, Stock Forum) up at Kitsault. Moly will start trading as a futures contract in London early next year.) Another possibility that came across my lap(top) in New Orleans is Bravo Venture Group (TSX: V.BVG, Stock Forum).

This is what I know – from one of the company’s principals, Bob Swenarchuk of Vancouver.

“BVG continues to march forward,” Bob tells me. “We've announced completion of the Private Placement (first tranche) of $5.2 million with a second close on Nov. 4, to complete the $8.6 million. Also excellent drill results from the main zone at Homestake Ridge ... and more news this next week.”

Bravo, along with many other Canada-listed companies, is also listed in Germany. So Bob, along with a lot of corporate development and CEO types, is headed to Munich this coming weekend for a natural resources boo-ha. Generally, when Canadian junior miners and prospectors go to “service” their German shareholders, they turn up “news flow.” In Bravo’s case, the flow is not just vaporware – as the gold and base-metal company’s President and senior geologist, Joseph Kizis, has been working the turf for years.

Bravo is exploring what is known as Homestake Ridge in British Columbia. It’s a gold-laden epithermal system within the Eskay Creek region.

Bravo also has interests in Nevada via an entity called Bravada Gold. “The spin-out of the Nevada assets is progressing ... now likely a dividend of one new share of Bravada for each 10 shares held of the record date (likely in December) -- with transaction date by early February,” Bob S. says.

We like the Bravo “gong show” (thanks for letting me borrow your lunatic phrase, James Longshore at X-tra Gold). Specifically, we here at Ticker Trax are always on the lookout for companies that can offer shareholders separately traded natural resources interests.

How do we walk this talk? One of our Planetary Prospects, Candente Resource (TSX: T.DNT, Stock Forum), is in the process of separating its Mexico gold/silver and Peruvian copper assets and then issuing them to shareholders. Another Planetary Prospect, merchant banker Endeavour Financial (TSX: T.EDV, Stock Forum), is quite possibly a future factory of dividends, given its vast and undervalued holdings in the areas of gold, silver, oil, gas and copper.

Bravo’s Swenarchuk, whom I have known for six or seven years, tells me writer and analyst David Coffin just spent a few days on the property. I will put a note and a call into Mr. Coffin to see what the brother of Eric Coffin thinks. (Mr. Bob S. says David was “stoked.”)

  • Inter-Citic Minerals: The ticker is ICI. Once again, linebaker-sized James Moore is CEO and sums up this company in a short phrase: 0.35 per cent of net asset value. The shares in Canada sell for 80 or so cents each. Inter-Citic’s peers in China and elsewhere – those within two years and $12 million or less of spending for a long-lived gold mine – sell for twice and three times that NAV metric. Inter-Citic shares are selling for a fraction of NAV that its peers fetch. I hope to visit the 4,500-meter-high Dachang camp in eastern China at some point. I also will be purchasing shares of this, one of our two newest Planetary Prospects.
  • Colombia:WhenI wasin this wonderful country in 2008, no one in my world was interested in gold companies. Yet in my once-home of Medellin, the billboard proclaimed this place tiene todo. And sure, the country has savoury dishes, great dancing, beautiful women and handsome men.

Well, perhaps now, this brief nation of my youth does tiene todo, including its legacy: gold – more of it mined than any South American nation … until revolution and drugs ruined the trade starting roughly in 1945 or so.

Click to enlargeProspectors, mineralogists and bankers are trawling several of Colombia’s historic gold districts these days, thanks in large part to the success of prospector Ventana Gold (TSX: T.VEN, Stock Forum). The nation has been ‘incubating’ for gold seekers ever since its current president showed the world he could make headway against terrorists, social revolutionaries, wildcat kidnapers and America’s White House and the war against drug manufacturers and high-gross-margin distributors.

A large gold combination in the nation of Colombia? Possible, but only were Ventana’s principals in cooperative mode, A merchant bank might be leading the charge, perhaps our Planetary ProspectEndeavour Financial (TSX: T.EDV, Stock Forum), which already is cobbling together poorly-valued gold assets in Burkina Faso, Africa.

I hope to see a gold property near the gorgeous city of Medellin in coming months. In the meantime, I have to mention that one of my personal holdings, Colombia Goldfields (TSX: T.GOL, Stock Forum), consummated its merger with Medoro Gold (TSX: V.MRS, Stock Forum) the other day. I got hooked on Colombia Goldfields two years ago, when I took a photographer, James Marx, down to see El Marmato. The top half of the mountain: so rich with gold the place was crawling with makeshift mills and banditos. The bottom half of the Antioquia State property: landslides, ownership challenges and dusty karma.

At the time (April 2008), I wrote a multi-part series about the tour of the property and its wonderful young geologists and surveyors. That bronze statue with its bum shining bright (photo) is in the more or less devastated town square. The series of reports is still online at this location. I pray Medoro and its new CEO, John Hick, can bring EL Marmato to fruition – if only so that the impoverished but sturdy folks who live on that mountain can benefit from the true wealth hidden beneath the hill.

  • X-tra oomph?Planetary Prospect X-tra Gold Resources (OTO: XTGR, Stock Forum) in Ghana just published two good holes to be sure: Hole 60 and Hole 68. Is that enough for us as shareholders? No, but it is a start.

The other holes either had “no gold, anomalous gold or thin intersections,” says one well schooled geologist upon whom I rely for peering into these data holes. “Because the location and azimuth/plunge of the holes are not given, it is hard to understand the relationship of Hole 60 to the other holes drilled testing Trench TKB006.”

More insight about X-tra, which I happen to believe will stage a remarkable series of events in the coming two years: Trench 10 is a mystery. Potent results delivered by Hole 68. Yet look at Hole 67 from the same area: intercepts of four meters to five meters containing 1-2 g/t Au appear to be a significant fall-off from Hole 68’s 76 m of 1.62 g/t Au.

My well-schooled geologist concludes from X-tra’s recent results: “My sense is that there is high-grade gold concentrated at structural intersections that yield thick intercepts. Outside of these zones, the gold tenor and widths decrease. Reminds me of the clavos one finds in the Mexican silver deposits.”

So why am I so hard on James Longshore’s X-tra Gold? Well, I love Jimmy’s “gong show.” I love the project there in Ghana’s Kibi Gold Belt. I even like Yves Clement, the qualified “person” working his soles to the bone criss-crossing the property and its several concessions. I love Ghana for real. But you know, it is like – why do brothers have fistfights? Because they love each other. Otherwise, why bother?

X-tra Gold I believe has as much potential as Dan McCoy’s Keegan Resources (TSX: T.KGN, Stock Forum), a Ghana prospector whose property I visited along with Jimmy’s thing in the Kibi. But hey, X-tra is dirt cheap at a market value of $37 million or so. Let’s hope we see Jimmy this weekend in Chicago … so I can congratulate him on the two holes. I’ll be purchasing more shares this week. No fistfights please.

Questions about our 11 Planetary Prospects? Feel free to call or ping me: thom.calandra at Those who want opportunities (new company) and data (a recent and excellent report) for one or two opportunities in the areas of nickel and lithium, please shout.

(Also -- please see:Thom Calandra’s Stockhouse articles.)

(All photos by Thom Calandra … but what about the ones of Thom Calandra?)

For More Ticker Trax, Please See Password-Secure Archives.

NOTICE: If I may for those who might not be paying Ticker Trax subscribers:

Si vous n'êtes pas le destinataire prévu ou un agent responsable de la livraison de ce courriel, tout copie, impression, reproduction ou autre utilisation d'une partie de ce courriel est strictement interdit. (We also produce a free report each week on Stockhouse.)

Ticker Trax is published by Stockgroup Publishing Ltd. Ticker Trax is an information service for subscribers and neither Stockhouse nor Thom Calandra is a broker or an investment advisor. None of the information contained therein constitutes a recommendation by Mr. Calandra or Stockhouse Publishing Ltd that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction, or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. Ticker Trax does not purport to tell or suggest the investment securities subscribers or readers should buy or sell for themselves. Subscribers and readers of Ticker Trax should conduct their own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decisions. Ticker Trax will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by a reader’s reliance on information obtained in the reports. Subscribers and readers are solely responsible for their own investment decisions. Opinions expressed in Ticker Trax are based on sources believed to be reliable and are written in good faith, but no representation or warranty, expressed or implied, is made as to their accuracy or completeness. All information contained in Ticker Trax should be independently verified. The editor and publisher are not responsible for errors or omissions or responsible for keeping information up to date or for correcting any past information. Ticker Trax does not receive compensation of any kind from any companies that may be mentioned in the report. Any opinions expressed are subject to change without notice. Owners, employees and writers may hold positions in the securities that are discussed in Ticker Trax. PLEASE DO NOT EMAIL THOM SEEKING PERSONALIZED INVESTMENT ADVICE, WHICH HE CANNOT PROVIDE. Copyright 2009 all rights reserved.

Copyright © 2009 Stockhouse Inc. Stockhouse and Ticker Trax are trademarks of Stockhouse Inc.

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