People of my vintage are familiar with comedian/actor Rodney Dangerfield and his catchphrase “I don’t get no respect!” It’s a classic and timeless expression, which is probably why he was so well remembered for it. This expression can also be applied to a lot of stocks out there today, and I’m not talking about Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) and its one year return of +79%, despite what I’m sure Elon Musk thinks the performance should have been. I’m also not talking about the now unloved lockdown darlings like Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ: ZM) and Peloton Interactive (NASDAQ: PTON). You had to know at some point in time those stocks would stop growing at the pace they were on and the market would reassess their respective valuations. What I’m talking about is a stock that has dramatically underperformed its peer group without having any materially negative news.
Today I want to look at a gold stock that has significantly underperformed many of its peers over the last year, including one, Centerra Gold Inc. (TSX: CG | NYSE: CGAU), who last May announced that it had its largest asset, the Kumtor Mine in the Kyrgyz Republic, essentially seized by the government and then two weeks ago announced it had temporarily suspended gold production at another mine due to a mercury leak. That seems like a pretty low bar to try and outperform but it appears that for the time being, the team at Troilus Gold Corp. (TSX: TLG | OTCQX: CHXMF) don’t get no respect.
Troilus is a Canadian-based junior mining company focused on the advancement and de-risking of the former gold and copper Troilus Mine towards production. From 1996 to 2010, the Troilus Mine produced 2+ million ounces of gold and nearly 70,000 tonnes of copper. Troilus is located in the top-rated mining jurisdiction of Quebec, Canada, where it holds a strategic land position of 1,420 km² in the Frôtet-Evans Greenstone Belt. A robust PEA in 2020 demonstrated the potential for the Troilus project to become a top-ranked gold and copper producing asset in Canada with an after tax NPV5% of US$1,156 million with a 38.3% IRR at a Spot Price of US$1,950/oz Gold and an NPV5% of US$576 Million and 22.9% IRR at Base Case US$1,475/oz Gold. This was based on a total estimated indicated mineral resource of 4.96 million ounces AuEq (177 Mt with an average grade of 0.87 g/t AuEq) and total estimated inferred mineral resource increased to 3.15 million ounces AuEq. Since that time the Company has drilled over 120,000 meters, approximately 46,000 during the six months ended January 31, 2022.
Looking forward, Troilus is planning to update its mineral resource utilizing that additional 120,000 meters of drilling targeting release for mid calendar 2022. Additionally, a Pre-feasibility Study (PFS) is planned to be published mid calendar 2022 along with a continued drilling campaign with the objective of expanding the mineral resource estimate at the Southwest Zone as well as definition drilling in the Z87 and J Zone in support of the PFS. Plans to finalize the Environmental Impact Study targeted for filing in early 2023 show the progress the Company is making in getting this mine into production. The latest news reported excellent metallurgical recovery results for the J Zone as part of an ongoing pilot plant scale metallurgical testing program on each of the main mineral deposits. Knelson gravity separation and column flotation tests achieved gold, copper and silver recoveries of 92.9%, 90.4% and 88.8%, respectively, which will also be used to support the upcoming PFS.
Sounds like nothing but good news past, present and future. But that’s not what the stock price is saying when you stack Troilus up against other Canadian based junior gold miners. The chart below might be a little hard to read but it shows the one year performance of the commodity – gold (red line) and a hand full of peers. Troilus is the bottom line in this chart.
I guess you could say Centerra and the others I’ve included aren’t quite peers of Troilus given several of them actually have production today. However, one could argue that Troilus is well on its way to becoming a producer in the not too distant future and is in a stable, mining friendly jurisdiction with a large and growing resource. In the meantime, it seems odd, at least to me, that Troilus had a one year return of almost 37% lower than Centerra given their relative risk profiles and associated news. Then again, perhaps my opinion gets no respect either.