Buying Lion One is Like Stealing
I make it crystal clear in my investment books Nobody Knows Anything and Basic Investing in Resource Stocks that there is no magic to investing if you follow a reasonable set of rules. As I have so accurately pointed out just recently, predicting the future of any price movement can be fraught with problems. However looking at a map to see just where you are today is easy and important.
We had a low in gold, silver and the resource stocks right at the end of September. Since then the DSI has gone higher, the XAU over gold is higher and the Gold Miners Percentage Index is higher. All indicated a turn about six weeks ago. We can’t know when the metals and shares will top but those indicators will show us sentiment with great accuracy. That is just as true at tops as it is at bottoms. There is a lot of free information available that anyone can use to navigate their way through shoal waters.
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There are other factors to the value of a particular stock than just the price of the commodity. We have entered the annual tax loss silly season where pissed off investors dump the shares they own that have gone down the most in order to claim the tax loss credit. It’s a lot like stealing because in their quest to unload unloved investments they often dump good stocks that will regain their prior price by February or March of the next year. Tax loss silly season begins now and will run until almost Christmas.
In addition, when markets are at new lows, volume dries up and often you have to make an appointment to give shares away. And there is the issue of stocks that investors have simply given up on because the companies made the cardinal mistake of boring shareholders.
Lion One Metals (LIO-V) made the mistake of doing all of those. Think of it as a trifecta of mining. Our saga really began in March of 2019 when Chairman and CEO Wally Berukoff appointed Quinton Hennigh as a technical advisor to Lion One. The shares were bouncing along at $.35 after years of quiet but slow progress on the 100% company owned gold project in Fiji.
Quinton started off with a surprising announcement. What they thought of as an epithermal gold system of limited potential in spite of the already defined 43-101 of over 900,000 ounces of gold wasn’t that at all. It wasn’t epithermal limited in size and grade; it was a far richer and more valuable alkaline gold system. All the company needed to do was to drill deeper.
Lion One did and in 2020 came up with results of 55 g/t Au over 12.7 meters in hole DDH 500 and 85.7 g/t Au over 3.3 meters driving the price of shares up to $2.67. Wisely, Wally went to the financing markets and raised over $65 million to begin construction of the mill and for further resource definition. But Covid began to take its toll even if we now realize what we call Covid is no more than a bad flu.
The managing director for Lion was operating out of Perth in Western Australia. Since the country had a long experience with being a prison colony they slammed the cell doors and imprisoned their entire population in order to fight a bad flu. He couldn’t leave Australia and no one could enter Fiji.
Of all of the bad events that can transpire with a junior resource company the worst is to bore shareholders. Even though the company bought new drills and had them shipped to Fiji they have no professional mining engineers or exploration geologists on site to supervise the local crews. And to be kind, Fiji is not Ontario or Nevada or even Mexico or Peru in terms of mining expertise.
On a regular but slow basis Lion One would announce drill results. In January of 2021 they announced 2.24 meters of 13.31 g/t Au along with 3.47 meters of 20.71 g/t gold. A month later on February 3rd they released results of 12.45 meters of 21.31 g/t Au and 3 meters of 114 g/t gold. March brought an announcement of two additional drill rigs being delivered. May brought excellent results from three more holes including 1.2 meters of 13.74 g/t Au near surface, 6 meters of 9.11 g/t Au and 6.47 meters of 17.9 g/t gold.
By now the company was up to a total of six drill rigs operational but was beginning to run out of the bandwidth of trying to operate remotely from Perth. Wisely, Wally made the decision to bring in some professional staff to be on site to move the company forward to production as the plan had been all along. That plan ran into the Covid stupidity. It took until August of 2021 to get Patrick Hickey into Fiji as COO and Sergio Cattalani in place as SVP for Exploration.
I’d like to say everything went smoothly but if I did, I would be lying. It took months for Fiji to open up and then the pair had to remain in quarantine for two weeks. Literally they only started cleaning up what was basically your garden-variety mess in September.
They found a lot of issues. One of the most interesting was that a lot of the core clearly was mineralized but had never been assayed not withstanding the fact that Lion One owns the lab. Lion One had good people on site but trying to plan for construction of a mine and mill takes time and requires professional supervision. It is now in place and they are moving forward.
On November 2nd they came up with another press release showing excellent numbers including 3.9 meters of 33.4 g/t Au and 0.3 meters of 65 g/t Au and 0.3 meters of 112 g/t gold, with 0.6 meters of 48.7 g/t Au and 0.6 meters of 33.06 g/t Au. Clearly Lion One has the gold. It is high grade and there is a lot of it. The lookalike Vatukoula Gold Mine is located only 40 km from Tuvatu. Vatukoula has resources remaining of 4 million ounces of gold and has produced 7 million ounces already. Tuvatu has a similar footprint and every indication of similar grade and quantity of gold.
Wally’s plan all along has been to construction a 350 TPD mill using the existing near surface resource to produce 100,000 ounces of gold a year. As of today the company has a market cap of $151 million CAD with a total of $54 million in cash. Lion One has more than enough money to continue the six-drill rig exploration and development drill program and to move the plan for the mill into high speed.
The government of Fiji wants the mine to go into production. The potential tax revenue is an important part of their financial plan for the future. Investors want to see concrete action on the part of exploration and the start of construction for the long promised mill. Wally has 100% ownership of the project, a boatload of cash that makes the company more of a bank than a mining junior and two highly experienced mining professionals in position to move this puppy to production. It’s time for the company to shit or get off the pot.
I know of no company with a resource as real as Lion One’s and the cash they have on hand that is selling for pennies. Lion One has derisked the project. A move to production would convince investors that instead of what is probably $100 an ounce CAD today, the company would really be worth a whole lot more. Wally is in a position to ride the wave of gold higher to a multi-billion dollar market cap. He’s done it twice before and this is a whole lot better potential.
Lion One is an advertiser. The company is actually my largest share position in spite of having moved to a new low. I was buying shares in the open market as recently as Friday. I would love to see the company in production. I know a lot of investors feel the same way. Once in production the majors are going to be on this like white on rice. There will be a bidding war for the company when they actually begin to put the plan into operation.
Do your own due diligence.
Lion One Metals