Actionable insights straight to your inbox

Equities logo

Keeping Up with the Jones and the Difficult Decisions in the Platinum Space

JOHANNESBURG -- It is good to be Jones today.  R. Michael Jones of Platinum Group Metals (PLG) ($PTM:CA) has a company that is building one platinum mine and creating a second project, one

JOHANNESBURG — It is good to be Jones today. 

R. Michael Jones of Platinum Group Metals (PLG) ($PTM:CA) has a company that is building one platinum mine and creating a second project, one that holds what could be almost 30 million ounces of platinum group metals.

That's platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold — inferred estimate — according to USA and Canada reporting guidelines.

Pas mal,as they say in French.

Mr. Jones is a Canada geologist who spends almost as much time these days in South Africa as he does in British Columbia.

He tells his audience, speaking from South Africa today, that PTM has a larger office with more workers in Jo'Burg than it does in Vancouver, Canada.

Believe me, that is a good thing. Fewer distractions. Vancouver holds perhaps half of the world's speculative wanna-be miners and prospectors, and their principals are infamous for overreaching promises, exorbitant salaries, misplaced chutzpah but almost always, carefully manicured manis and pedis.

Mike –a tallish fellow with dirty fingernails — has spent well more than a decade with a team of engineers, financiers and even PR people — folks who have stuck with his platinum wet dream. I recall once, when we were touring the mine that is nearing production by late 2015 that people don't believe … "until they believe."

Understand, now, Mike Jones knows how to talk fast. His own staff sometimes asks him to slow down. Still, I mostly believe him. It is good to see his presentations as they are almost always technically precise and without that clownish chutzpah commonplace in the biz of junior prospectors and miners. Including the one today via webcast, with fresh slide deck.

Now again, his little company's market worth in Canada and on the NYSE is approaching that of its (approx.) $750 million physical neighbor: the company that gets nearly all the wanna-be platinum-miner headlines in that part of the world — Ivanhoe Mines ($IVN:CA) (IVPAF)

Platinum Group Metals shares are rising while Ivanhoe's are falling. See chart.

So. This might be a good time to own physical platinum, and palladium.

There is a protracted labor outage — with prerequisite violence and political overtones — going on in the Republic of South Africa. Mining platinum is difficult in that nation because of incredibly deep shafts and mostly thin reefs of mineral.

Mr. Jones, along with other platinum executives, are hopeful the big platinum miners in South Africa (two-thirds or more of the world' platinum comes from here and becomes coins, jewelry, parts of catalytic converters, wrist bands, etc.) will make nice.

Most folks with mettle in this business expect supply constraints in the wake of any typeof labor settlement in South Africa. Mr. Jones, the company's CEO, today — before presumably preparing to watch the opening World Cup FIFA game from Brazil with the rest of Africa, Latin America and Europe — was detailing an increase in resource at his Waterberg project in South Africa's Bushveld Complex.

"We think difficult decisions will be made" on platinum projects with harsh and dangerous working conditions, he said. Palladium reached a three-year high this week. Platinum and palladium prices fell sharply today in the wake of possible progress in five-month-and-running labor talks.

Platinum has been up and down crazy all week, all month, and much of the springtime (northern hemisphere).

TCR Take: Probably a good time to purchase actual platinum for a two-year or greater hold. We here at home recently dealt a treasured family heirloom, a cherry-condition 1967 Mustang, to a well-known mining writer and investor for a bag full of one-ounce platinum Maple Leafs 2009 date.

We also own shares of Platinum Group Metals on the hope its joint-venture mine that is partnered with the Japanese and a black empowerment group will approach 300,000 ounces of platinum equivalent per year. We have owned the Jones thing a long, long time.

Yes, we also own that Ivanhoe Mines ($IVN:CA), which is active in the Bushveld. For a long, long … well, a l-o-o-o-o-o-n-g time. (Even as a private-co.)

Together, those two, with the commodity platinum and not considering family wealth holdings, are our top position in market worth. Even booking the steep Ivanhoe Mines decline since the company went public in Toronto almost two years ago. (October 2012)

Mr. Jones in his update to investors Thursday made comparisons to the nearby Ivanhoe project. He's worth a listen.

No matter what happens in the workers' strike against the platinum belt's Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin, labor costs will rise. Those greater costs will include wages and, one hopes, safer conditions for workers in difficult and deep mining scenarios. I have seen both projects on the Bushveld.

Today: Platinum Group Metals' Waterberg Increases To 29 Million Ounces 4E-Platinum, Palladium, Rhodium & Gold

PILOT GOLD & GSV: Always satisfying to see shares of a TCR 7 member continue their ascent after positive metal assays. That's the case with Pilot ($PLG:CA) ($PLGTF). Pilot published details about the discovery of a fresh Turkey gold-copper porphyry this week. … Also gaining in the wake of fresh Peña de Oro
mineral results is Cayden Resources ($CYD:CA) (CDKNF) , a Mexico mine builder and prospector. I own it and shares of Pilot Gold. … Looking for potent drill results in coming days, or weeks, from Gold Standard Resources at its newly acquired Piñon property in Nevada. GSV is one of the TCR 7. After spending time with company principals and shareholders, I believe that GSV will regain $1 status imminently based on Piñon, next to the flagship Railroad project. All this ñews deserves a one-day branding to mark Piñon and Peña de Oro – thus, we rename TCR this edition The Calañdra Report.…Worth speculation: kissing cousin Tanqueray Exploration Resources (TQY:CA). Gold Standard Ventures owns part of it via a property sale. GSV's longtime exploration chief and senior geologist, David Mathewson, is spending all of his time with Tanqueray now. It's in Nevada and due for a name change to something like Trend Exploration Ventures. I do not own the shares; they are hard to come by. Mr. Mathewson, a successful gold and silver finder in the state of Nevada, receives from GSV properties called Crescent Valley, East Camp Douglas and East Bailey. Dave also is interim CEO of the Tanque…. 

Good to hear from Stuart Moller, the Reno, Nevada, geologist who is credited with exploration success and development of Continental Gold's Buritica gold-silver underground project in Colombia. Stuart is looking at various projects in Latin America and elsewhere. Wherever he goes, money is likely to follow. … Finally, it is happening, as discussed in TCR: Shares of Greenland ruby mine developer True North Gems (TGX:CA) (TGNMF)  continue to head in the direction of the company name. This one is a triple or greater by year's end, as long as we see rubies — deep red, sapphires and more — from the ongoing project. Northern European investors are learning about it.


And yes, I own the shares and have for a long time. Got to believe? Or at least, convince yourself into believing these days of rapscalian resource equities.

NMGRF: That is the OTC "proxy" ticker, or indicator, in USA for NOU. I own the tiny company's shares now on the possibility our tiny graphite property owner in Nouveau Monde Mining (Quebec) will seal a deal with nearby Timcal and its evaporating graphite mine nearby. Eric Desaulniers, the CEO, is a geo-physicist, and he is bent on becoming a project generator for Quebec.

That generator might include another form of carbon product: diamonds.

Congratulations to our featured research candidate: Abitibi Royalties, whose shares approach $3 amidst our coverage of the Abitibi Belt (Quebec, Canada) joint venture partner at CHL Malartic. We here at home own a metric ton of that one. Please see our continuing TCR coverage of (ATBYF) (RZZ:CA) on, on AND OTHER VENUES.

I hope some of you will take the time to subscribe. We have a big surprise for our TCRfamily JUST AHEAD.

By Thom Calandra

Subscribe @ THOM's Page


$110: Will Recur Yearly

A weekly five-point roundup of critical events in the energy transition and the implications of climate change for business and finance.