gold, gold, gold, crypto coins, blockchain and diamonds

What happened, what may happen

For those interested in the yellow metal, the World Gold Council recently released two documents on the 2017 gold market events and on the outlook for 2018. We all now how forecasts work (I have just read and quote “if you have to forecast, forecast a lot“). Even so, the more you read and know, the better (provided you have a critical knowledgeable mind). The documents are available for download at WGC’s website or from here:

In another issue, a World Gold Council report states that:

  • Cryptocurrencies are no substitute for gold. In a summary of their report, WGC says”Bitcoin’s parabolic price rise was the big story of 2017 – putting the spotlight on the cryptocurrency market. While gold’s performance was a solid 13%, it was a fraction of the 13-fold increase of bitcoin by the end of the year.
    Some commentators went as far as to claim cryptocurrencies could replace gold. Cryptocurrencies may become an established part of the financial system. But, in our view, gold is very different from cryptocurrencies, as gold:

    • is less volatile
    • has a more liquid market
    • trades in an established regulatory framework
    • has a well understood role in an investment portfolio
    • has little overlap with cryptocurrencies on many sources of demand and supply. 

    These characteristics underpin gold’s role as a mainstream financial asset that will likely continue to resonate in today’s digital world.

Diamonds as an investment is no longer news; it’s been around since the oil crises of the seventies. There has been some evolution recently, related to the blockchain technology and crypto coins:

  • De Beers, has announced that “it is progressing development of the first blockchain technology initiative to span the diamond value chain and provide a single, tamper-proof and permanent digital record for every diamond registered on the platform.” Read more here, at IDEX.
  • The Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) unveiled a new diamond-backed digital coin at IDWI (international Diamond Week in Israel). “The Israel Diamond Exchange and startup CARATS.IO have unveiled a new diamond-based crypto currency called CDC (Carats.io Diamond Currency), which they created together. The new coin was unveiled yesterday (Monday) at the International Diamond Week in Israel (IDWI – February 5 – 7, 2018). The trade in the crypto currency will be based on a new index, presented yesterday for the first time, which will reflect the daily trends in the diamond trade at the IDE. The index will be updated daily on big LED screens, which will be set at the Trading Hall. The index will reflect diamond prices set according to 14 parameters for comparing diamond prices”. To know more, just read here, at IDE’s website.
    According to Founder and CEO Avishai Shoushan, CARATS.IO’s extensive ecosystem of products will elevate the entire diamond industry. CARATS.IO is creating two separate cryptocurrencies, each backed by diamonds purchased on the Israel Diamond Exchange. One coin, called CUT (Carat Utility Token), will be used specifically in B2B transactions between eligible diamond traders. This currency will enable safe peer-to-peer transactions, altogether eliminating the need for financial intermediaries. The second currency, called CARAT, is meant for the wider market of financial institutions and digital currency investors. Both currencies will be backed by diamonds, with a market cap coverage of 25 percent, significantly reducing their speculative level of investment.“, in previous news.

Dredging 2016 – IADC report

IADC’s review of the global dredging market, Dredging in Figures, is published annually. Released in September 2017, this edition focuses on the international dredging industry’s revenue for 2016.

The report (just click the link) highlights essential information about the dredging industry, divided into three sections – Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) that includes sustainability, emissions and safety, the drivers of the dredging industry, and the turnover in the open markets of the industry. Statistics presented are based on information from public sources and IADC member companies.

(adapted from https://www.iadc-dredging.com)

Lítio em Portugal – Relatório do grupo de trabalho

Encontra-se disponível para consulta pública o relatório do Grupo de Trabalho “Lítio”, criado por Despacho nº 15040/2016 do Secretário de Estado da Energia (publicado no D.R., 2ª Série, de 13 de dezembro de 2016). O relatório pode ser obtido no site da DGEG ou directamente aqui.

Todos os interessados poderão apresentar aqui os seus comentários e sugestões até ao próximo dia 8 de julho.

Nova Edição do Curso sobre Avaliação de Jazigos e outros Activos Minerais

IST (FUNDEC – 21, 22 e 23 de Junho 2017) – Luís Chambel (Sínese) e Jorge de Sousa (IST)

O curso destina-se a engenheiros de minas e geólogos, estudantes de licenciaturas e mestrados nas áreas da engenharia de minas e geologia, gestores de empresas mineiras, analistas de bancos e empresas do sector financeiro com atividade no sector dos recursos minerais.

Para obter o programa do curso, clique aqui: programa-avaliacao-jazigos_jun2017.

A ficha de inscrição pode ser obtida aqui: ficha-de inscrição-avaliacao-jazigos_jun2017

Após um superciclo de expansão de produção (preços e volumes), a indústria mineral encontra-se numa fase caracterizada pela incerteza quanto às perspectivas futuras, por uma tendência geral de baixa de produção e acréscimo da volatilidade de preços. As decisões de investimento ou desinvestimento ou financiamento dum projeto de prospecção ou exploração de um depósito mineral são críticas em qualquer fase do ciclo económico; são especialmente relevantes em situações como as atuais.

Aquelas decisões baseiam-se, em última análise, na capacidade de avaliar corretamente os jazigos e minas, isto é, de estimar custos (OPEX e CAPEX), receitas e risco associados à mineração do jazigo com base nas características da mineralização (e.g. volume, teor e preço unitário da mineralização e suas distribuições espaciais) e do maciço (e.g. hidrogeologia, geotecnia) e nas condições operacionais e de mercado (atuais e previsíveis).

O curso tem como objectivo fornecer aos participantes as bases teórico-práticas necessárias para avaliar jazigos e outros ativos minerais. Com este curso, os formandos desenvolverão competências para calcular o valor de jazigos e outros ativos minerais, estimando, classificando e reportando os recursos e reservas de jazigos minerais aplicando padrões internacionais. O curso apresenta de forma interligada um conjunto de metodologias, conceitos e ferramentas úteis na avaliação de jazigos e ativos minerais, nomeadamente:

  • Modelo DCF (discounted cash flow)
  • Normas internacionais – NI – 43.101 e CIM (Canadá), PERC (União Europeia), Nações Unidas, SME (Estados Unidos).
  • Métodos quantitativos, estatísticos e geoestatísticos de cálculo de recursos e reservas.
  • Métodos de avaliação de jazigos e concessões.
  • QA/QC, competent/qualified person.
  • Avaliação de risco.

O curso é apresentado recorrendo a casos práticos de avaliação de jazigos e outros activos minerais, nacionais e internacionais.

Para obter mais informações, contactar luischambel@sinese.pt.

wrong, something is very wrong

RISK UNDERVALUATION IN MINERAL PROJECTS

Reporting to markets should (have to!) be complete, independent and competent.

Risk is a key factor; in most cases, along with commodity price, the most important variable defining a project’s value. The importance of a good estimate of the risk measure (the discount rate in DCF models) cannot be overemphasized.

Yet, something is wrong, very wrong:

  • In most cases (in a sample of 77 documents reporting pre-feasibility, feasibility studies and valuation exercises of operating assets), the magical discount rates used in DCF are 5% and 8%, accounting for 26% and 27% of the cases (10% accounts for 17%). In 75% of the analised cases, the used discount rate is ≤ 8%. Let’s say you are an investor, would you accept a lower than 8% rate in most mineral projects?
  • The 5% magical number is pervasive in gold projects. A new rule can almost be written; IF gold THEN 5%.
  • Reports include countless pages of technical minutia and detail of doubtful utility for the average investor; yet only a handful of them has any discussion or justification of the chosen discount rate.
  • Country risk is irrelevant; I will grant that the 77 sample is relatively small but the anecdotal evidence shows that the same risk is attributed to projects in the US and Canada or in Burkina Faso and Colombia.

Please bear in mind these are preliminary results; as more data is compiled, new trends may develop. Although I tried to have a random sample, diamond and gold projects may be overrepresented (20 and 21 out of 77, respectively).

I will present these and other results at SME’s Mining Finance Conference in NYC on May 1 and 2, a little more than a week from now. If you are attending, I would like to discuss in person the reasons behind this and how should this (can it?) be remediated – or shouldn’t reporting to markets be complete, independent and competent?

Being a member of SME and of the Society of Economic Geologists – SEG I will try to discuss this issue within these professional organisations. Your comments (in person or through online fora) are always welcome.

Gold trends last year

For those that missed it, World Gold Council released a report a few days ago about the gold trends in 2016. World Gold Council report highlights:

  • 2016 was the second best year for ETFs on record. Global demand for gold-backed ETFs and similar products was 531.9t – the highest since 2009. Q4 saw outflows.

  • The gold price ended the year up 8%. Having risen 25% by the end of September, gold relinquished some of its gains in Q4 following Trump’s conciliatory acceptance speech and the FOMC’s interest rate rise.
  • 2016 saw a 7-year low for jewellery demand.bRising prices for much of the year, regulatory and fiscal hurdles in India and China’s softening economy were key reasons for weakness in the sector.
  • India’s shock demonetisation policy brought the market to a virtual standstill. An initial rush for gold following the policy announcement came to a swift halt in the ensuing cash crunch.

You may download the full report report here.