Some juniors seeing a bright future at PDAC
Billed as the largest annual mining meeting in North America, the Prospectors and Developers Association (PDAC) meeting in Toronto is expected to attract more than 30,000 mining and exploration professionals from around the world this week.
In recent years, junior mining companies, mostly listed in Canada, have taken a beating in the finance markets. Simply put, potential investors have been leery of sinking millions into exploration and mining projects due to volatile commodities prices and an uncertain regulatory climate in developed and developing countries.
The 2014 edition of the PDAC, however, seems to be a bit different for some juniors. Equity valuations have improved and metals prices appear to be stabilizing. So, for some of the stronger junior companies, there is some hope. Merger and acquisition activity is picking up and, believe it or not, companies are raising some capital.
Junior companies that are in the feasibility stage or have made promising discoveries that stand a good chance of proceeding to production are being looked at by potential investors. Those are the survivors of the last three years of dismal M&A activity.
On the other side are the juniors that are still around - and there are plenty of juniors that were at the PDAC last year but have since disappeared - but have little or no working capital. One analyst calculated that there are about 850 companies with less than $200,000 in working capital and about 600 with negative working capital. This will likely result in fewer junior mining companies as the year progresses but the ones that remain should be stronger.