this one has slipped under the radar for many investors despite its stellar performance thus far...still plenty of gains to be made....reminds me of Oxiana in its early days....sovereign risk is an issue but looks very very tasty at these levels.
Indophil Resources puts its pedal to the metal
By Barry FitzGerald
May 1, 2006
They are a happy bunch of shareholders at Indophil Resources. So much so that there was a round of applause for chairman Brian Phillips for the simple task of declaring the group's annual meeting on Friday closed.
Shareholders have good reason to be pleased, with the stock more than doubling in the past eight months to the 80¢ a share level that it commanded on Friday.
The strong performance has been a response to the group's ever-expanding Tampakan copper/gold project in the wilds of Mindanao at a time when prices for both metals have boomed.
Already a monster, Tampakan has just increased again. Its resource estimate now stands at a whopping 11.6 million tonnes of copper (up from 8.9 million tonnes) and 14.6 million ounces of gold (previously 11.6 million).
Results from a frenetic drilling program are being fed into a pre-feasibility study (PFS) scheduled for completion in September. And unlike some other foreign operators in the Philippines, Indophil can lay claim to good support from government and the local communities.
Shortly after it lobs the PFS, Indophil will learn if Xstrata will be taking up its option to acquire a 62.5 per cent stake in the deposit for about $50 million. Given that it must be the cheapest option in history on what is now clearly a world-class ore body, there is little doubt that Xstrata will be taking it up, or at least assuming sole-funding obligations for an exercise decision that must be made no later than December 2007.
The presence of Xstrata's copper boss, Charlie Sartain, at Indophil's AGM and his attendance at two days of Tampakan "steering committee" meetings tells you how significant the Tampakan opportunity is being taken by one of the world's biggest miners.
Once Xstrata takes up the option, Indophil will hold 32.5 per cent of the project, with Filipino group Alson holding the remaining 5 per cent. That assumes Xstrata doesn't take all of the foreign equity by bidding for Indophil, or at least for its remaining equity interest in what is shaping up as a $US1 billion-plus ($A1.3 billion) development.
First production at Tampakan is aimed for 2010. Ambitious perhaps, but a year here or a year there hardly matters when a 50-year mine life is on the cards.
At Friday's closing price, the Melbourne-based Indophil had a market capitalisation of $240 million. That buys no more than 34,000 tonnes of copper at the moment, giving you an idea of just what leverage to the red metal Indophil has on offer — even at a reduced one-third stake in Tampakan (3.82 million tonnes of copper).
Then there is the gold.