Thursday, 22 March 2012

Silver Bull's Sierra Mojada offers 2 commodities for the price of 1

Mineral explorer Silver Bull Resources (TSE:SVB)(AMEX:SVBL) has a unique exploration asset that offers investors exposure to both precious and base metals.
Silver Bull's flagship Sierra Mojada project is located 150 kilometers north of the city of Torreon in Coahuila, Mexico and is highly prospective for silver and zinc. It lies within a historical high grade silver, lead, zinc mining district discovered in 1879.
An update in late 2011 put Sierra Mojada's total resource base at 61.2 million ounces.
Speaking to Proactive Investors, Silver Bull's president and chief executive Tim Barry said his company's flagship project was composed of separate deposits with the silver deposit resting above the zinc deposit.
"For me, Silver Bull is a real value buy as a development story with a great management team and a deposit that covers a number of camps from precious to base metals.
"This is very rare - I don't know of any other mine quite like it."
Barry himself has over 15 years of exploration and management experience and has worked as a consulting geologist and manager on projects in Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Mongolia and West and Central Africa.
Silver Bull's highly experienced management team includes chairman Brian Edgar, who served as lead director at Red Back Mining which was snapped up by Kinross (TSE:K)(NYSE:KGC) in 2010 for $7.1 billion, and director Daniel Kunz was the former president and chief executive of Ivanhoe Mines (TSE:IVN)(NYSE:IVN).
Barry said that silver at Sierra Mojada "looks open pittable and heap leachable" which, once mined-out, gives access to "billions of pounds of immediately-minable zinc."
Barry pointed out that there were five major zinc mines due to shut down in the next five years which would take a quarter of global zinc supply off the market. Mines projected to come online in the next five to eight years would only make up half of that shortfall.
"We're very bullish on zinc as well. It's a commodity to watch right now".
The price of zinc is expected to rocket in the medium term, with several analysts going bullish on the metal as the market is expected to switch from a surplus to deficit sometime around 2014.
Once Silver Bull has mined-out its silver resource at Sierra Mojada, the immediate access to the substantial zinc body may coincide with higher prices for that metal.
In terms of an outlook for precious metals prices over the coming year, Barry sees silver "only going higher".
"Gold and silver by association are traditional havens. I think silver is far cheaper than gold right now."
Silver prices have surged over 20 percent in the first few months of 2012 with a worldwide economic recovery and central bank stimulus spurring demand for silver, analysts say.
Eric Sprott, a real-life silver bull and major figure in Canada's investment community, is a champion of the metal and has written to silver companies, urging them to consider retaining some of their resources instead of purely holding cash.
Barry said the closest analogy to Sierra Mojada's silver resources is Coeur d'Alene Mines' (NYSE:CDE) Rochester silver-gold mine in Nevada, which shares similar geology and economics to the Canadian explorer's Mexican asset.
It is no coincidence that Coeur d'Alene Mines - amongst the top ten silver producers in the world - is Silver Bull's largest shareholder with 12.7 percent of capital.
"They [Coeur d'Alene] see tremendous potential," Barry said.
For similarities to Sierra Mojada's zinc resource, Barry pointed to Vedanta Resources' (LON:VED) Skorpion Zinc mine in Namibia.
"Average grades are very similar - at around 10% zinc. We have a high-grade core to the zinc deposit which looks like 15% zinc."
Barry said that the company's focus at Sierra Mojada was on building the silver resource.
"We have another 43-101 update planned for release in the second quarter of 2012 and we think we will see a significant increase in silver. This will be the first report where we introduce zinc to the story."
Silver Bull currently has a 50,000 metre drill program under way at Sierra Mojada with three rigs on-site and plans to release news to the market throughout the year.
"We will be thinking of a resource update," Barry said.
Regarding market sentiment, Barry feels that Silver Bull is not being fairly valued by the market.
"Most companies are getting a valuation for silver ounces in the ground from $1 to $3 per share. We're at the lower end of that. It's giving us no credit whatsoever for the zinc resource and for the growing silver resources at Sierra Mojada."

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