Wednesday, 19 December 2012

West African gold groups Amara, Aureus and Avocet underrated, says broker

Broker Investec has taken a liking to West African gold groups Amara Mining (LON:AMA), Aureus Mining(LON:AUE) and Avocet Mining (LON:AVM), all of which it values well above current market levels.
The companies together offer exposure to multiple geographies and varying stages of project development, thereby presenting a range of risk profiles, it said.
Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone-focusedAmara is given a price target of 89p.
Amara has a healthy cash balance with reasonable cash flow from the operating Kalsaka Mine in Burkina Faso, but it faces time pressure with Kalsaka running out of reserves.
The recent successful Sega transaction has provided another two years of ore, but management needs to demonstrate the viability of the flagship Baomahun project in Sierra Leone.
Looking ahead, the broker expects exploration to add further growth.
Investec expects a requirement for around US$70mln of equity finance by 2014 to ensure the company has the balance sheet to develop Baomahun and maintain a healthy exploration budget of around US$15mln per annum and pay back debt.
Aureus Mining has taken a significant step towards development of the New Liberty project in Liberia with US$80mln of equity already raised and permits in place.
The resource base at New Liberty is significant, the broker says, with 1.7mln ounces (oz) at 3.5 grams per tonne (g/t) including a reserve of 910,000 oz at 3.3g/t Au (gold), which is high for an open pit, says Investec, but offset by a high stripping ratio.
Exploration upside both nearby and further afield could also support a longer mine life or even another operation.
The target price is 78p/share and is based on a risked net present value (NPV) of New Liberty, cash held post the recent equity raise and exploration potential.
The estimate also uses a flat gold price at US$1,700/oz with a risk factor of 50%.
Avocet has been recently been hampered by operational difficulties including mine fleet under-performance and metallurgical complexities, says Investec.
The team is led by a new chief executive and still has considerable work ahead of it to get its producing mine, Inata, back on course. However, it has a robust balance sheet and is undervalued in the broker’s view.
“We hope to see operational performance improve, reducing the perceived risk and lifting its market valuation. Avocet’s tenements also contain significant exploration potential,” said Investec, which has a price target of 92p.

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