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Silver Stocks Report -- Comparative Valuations

By: Jason Hommel, Silver Stock Report

-- Posted Sunday, 28 September 2003 | Digg This ArticleDigg It!


In response to my first silver stock article, I received about 100 emails, many filled with tips on silver stocks.  So I have been extremely busy. Part of the reason for writing my first article was to refute the market myth that there are "only five silver stocks" to choose from. In the first report, I compared 17 silver stocks. In this report, I glance at 29 silver stocks, and I list an additional 21 silver stocks, for a total of 50. Did you know there were 50 to choose from? 

I also feel I present a better way to express the comparative value, this time, in silver.

In the last week since my silver stock report came out, the five day charts of HL, CDE, & SSRI show a disaster.  And further, the charts of the companies that compare favorably in that report, such as CZN.TO, SRLM.PK, MNMM.OB, CFTN.PK, and ECU.V have gone substantially up.  Here's the numbers since last week, from Friday's close on the 19th to Friday's close on the 26th.

HL       $6.82        $5.20    down 23.7%  Loss of $177 million Market Cap
WHT      $1.97        $1.90    down  3.6%  Loss of $30 million Market Cap
CDE      $3.55        $3.07    down 13.5%  Loss of $86 million Market Cap
SIL      $15.20       $14.03   down  7.7%  Loss of $42 million Market Cap
PAAS     $11.17       $10.03   down 10.2%  Loss of $60 million Market Cap
SSRI     $7.94        $6.65    down 16.2%  Loss of $46 million Market Cap

CZN.TO     .41 CAN     .67      up 63.4%   Gain of $9 million Market Cap
CDU.V     1.66 CAN    1.75      up  5.4%   Gain of $2.6 million Market Cap      
CFTN.PK    .29         .38      up 31.0%   Gain of $4.5 million Market Cap
SRLM.PK  $3.95        4.40      up 11.4%   Gain of $12 million Market Cap
MNMM.OB  $2.55        2.97      up 16.4%   Gain of $3 million Market Cap
ECU.V     .085 CAN    .125      up 47.1%   Gain of $2.4 million Market Cap

Those are numbers from week to week, just this last week, not year to year.

I know that some people told me they were going to sell the pricy stocks, yet were unable to sell because their limit orders were not met.  Some told me their limit buy orders also went unfilled. If your limit orders are not being filled, you need to change your limit.

A word about liquidity.  The little silver stocks are not suitable vehicles for quick trading in and out based on 10-20-50 cent moves of the silver price.  If you try that, you will get creamed on your commissions, and on the spreads, since the bid and asks are quite wide, sometimes about 15%--and are even wider if you trade in any volume that moves the price.  Trading out means you will miss the big run ups, when the stocks "gap up" as they sometimes do.  These are long term buy and holds.  Only sell if you have another silver stock you think is a better value.  I believe the silver move is a long term play.  I think you should be utterly convinced of the long term bull in silver, and be able to wait for silver's day to come, before you buy the tiny market cap silver stocks.

What else is new?  I finally decided how I would count a company's ounces of gold. I will count an oz. of gold as 10 oz of silver. Why? Because I have a positive bias in favor of silver over gold. Now, I'm wildly bullish on gold, believing it can go to $35,000/oz. or higher to infinity, due to a dollar currency collapse, as I have argued in several previous articles.

But I believe due to the silver shortage and dollar collapse, the silver to gold ratio of 73:1 will go to 10:1 at the very least, if not better. I believe silver has seven times greater upward potential than gold at these prices. Therefore, I would rather NOT invest in gold if I can help it. I recognize that gold, is valuable, but to me, gold is only 10 times as valuable as silver, not 73 times. At these prices, I'm selling gold and gold stocks for silver and silver stocks. One day, I plan to sell silver for gold, but not until I can buy 1 oz. of gold for at least 10 oz. of silver. I must maintain my bias in favor of silver, and be true to my vision and investment plan, for the purposes of valuing silver companies. Thus, I will count an oz. of gold to have the silver equivalent of 10 oz of silver-because I don't want to invest in gold at these prices and at this ratio, but I would, and will invest, at the 10:1 ratio. You may value gold and silver differently. You may believe that a 40:1 ratio is fair, or a 15:1, or even a 5:1 if you are more of a silver bull than I am. Thus, you should re-work my numbers to value an oz. of gold as 40 oz. of silver, or 15, or 5, to reflect your particular bias. But this is my report, and I'm biased heavily in favor of silver, and so that's how I'm going to value things for the final number. If I count gold as 70 oz of silver, then I do myself and my readers who generally favor silver, an injustice, since gold simply does not have the upward potential that silver has, in my opinion. Gold simply is not silver, and simply cannot be counted as equivalent at today's prices.

Now, if you were observant, and did the math, you would note that I'm predicting silver to hit over $3,500/oz., since I have provided a target for the gold price, and a ratio of 10:1 for the silver to gold ratio.  Given that I believe the dollar will eventually go to zero value, (and probably within my lifetime) any dollar price prediction for silver is too low.

The common mind has extreme difficulty even imagining such a price for silver, but that's because most people are deluded with the fraud of the dollar. I am not so deluded, I know the dollar is fraud, and I know all frauds come to an end.  Like Enron. I actually think the weird thing is that more people don't realize that, and the few who do know that, hypocritically refuse to act on that belief, thus helping to perpetuate the fraud they know about and hate.

Thus, I also have added something new, to help myself and others think better. In a situation of runaway dollar hyper-inflation, dollar prices for companies or an oz. in the ground will not be constant valuation factors. We need a "silver price". After all, the most logical alternative to a silver stock is physical silver itself. And when considering silver stocks as an investment class, "taking profits" consists of buying physical silver with the proceeds. Thus, I will add a "fraction of oz." cost in silver per silver oz. in the ground, in addition to giving a dollar cost. This way, it helps myself to think in terms of silver, which is more helpful. Also, it will help to maintain a constant valuation method during the coming period of dollar price inflation. It just makes sense to look at silver stocks as "silver cost per silver oz. in the ground".

This valuation method will also help to determine what price is fair. After all, if your cost per oz. of silver in the ground is 5% of an ounce of silver, then you should expect to get back, in profits, much more than 5% per ounce of silver in profit from the company. This would be due both to the risks inherent in mining, and also due to the time factor of the return.
Furthermore, the higher the price you pay for the silver in the ground, the more you should expect to receive for a return, in silver, in your profits. Thus, a company that costs you 20% of an oz. of silver for an ounce of silver in the ground, should return to you at least 20% or more of an ounce of silver in the ground for each ounce of silver that they mine. After all, you paid for that 20% of an ounce of silver already, and you should expect to get back more than that as a return on your investment. If you get less than a 20% profit margin from such a company when they sell their silver, then you know you have bought an over-priced stock that is destroying shareholder value.

After my last article, a person asked me, "what do you do with silver after you buy it? When do you know to sell it?" I answered, "Silver is money. What would you do if you moved to Mexico, would you keep all your dollars, or would you sell them all, and buy pesos? He said, "I would keep dollars and sell them only as needed for the local currency." I replied, "Then likewise, you will keep your silver, and sell it for dollars, only as needed for your daily expenses. Or, sell it for better investment alternatives, such as gold, or property, when the time comes that those become great, undervalued investments, as silver is today." He said that made perfect sense.

When silver is cheap, the key reason to buy a silver stock, is to be able to buy more silver. Thus, valuing silver companies in terms of silver is they way I do it.

I first invested in silver stocks with a purchase of SSRI at just over $2/share about 2 years ago, as my early interest in gold a few years earlier led me to discover the greater potential of silver. My timing was great. As a shareholder of SSRI, I read their annual report that said they were aggressively acquiring title to silver properties by buying them at about 5 cents per ounce in the ground. But the stock price for SSRI stock meant that stock holders were paying about 10-15 cents per ounce in the ground. I thought that was a "fair deal" because I was paying for SSRI "management expertise". Then, after June, 2002, the stock price of SSRI went down from $6/share down to about $3/share, down about 50%. Although my initial purchase was up, my later purchase, at the peak, was down. I felt I got what I deserved, since at $6/share for SSRI, I was paying significantly higher than 5 cents per ounce in the ground that I suppose may have been available. I wrote letters to both SSRI and PAAS, to encourage them to continue to add to reserves, and buy silver at up to 10 cents per ounce in the ground. But then I realized I could do that on my own.

And so, I began to realize I could, and needed, to research cheaper opportunities in silver stocks. After all, cheaper is better, and I simply used the same valuation method. Cost per oz. in the ground.

I have a negative bias against silver stocks that are selling silver right now since I consider silver to be so undervalued. I am also an investor in physical silver. But a company that is selling silver right now, at a loss, or a marginal profit, is virtually giving away title to company assets, literally destroying shareholder value. Aware shareholders should sell those companies and buy physical silver with the proceeds.
My method is simple. Cost per ounce in the ground. How much do you get (silver reserve totals), and how much does it cost (market cap)? The cost is the market cap divided by the silver reserve totals. Cheaper is better. Buy low, sell high.

Disclaimers, Warnings, and Advice: I have gathered the information below over the course of several months. I believe it is accurate to the best of my ability. I may have made mistakes. I probably did. I'm human. I have collected the information from public sources such as company web sites and public information found at to get the stock prices. This report in no way guarantees the accuracy of the information below, since the information may change at any time. The number of outstanding shares can change as a company engages in new share issues to raise more capital through private placements, or if outstanding warrants (and options) are exercised and converted into shares, or if shares are bought back. Shares can be consolidated, or split. The number of ounces of silver in the ground can also change, as these are often only estimates. The number can also change up or down, depending on drilling results.

In order to get the latest information, call the company you are interested in. They love to hear from interested investors, and they have the time, since most are not actively engaged in mining or "running a mining business". Their main business right now mostly consists of drumming up investor interest so they can raise the capital to drill and explore their properties so that they can raise the really big capital to start up an active mine.

This information is not intended as a solicitation for any company.

All total estimates of "ounces in the ground" can vary widely. There are "proven and probable reserves" which are the highest category of certainty which is obtained through many drill holes, and then at the least accurate, there are "inferred resources" which are hardest to estimate. Additionally, every miner always has "more silver properties that need to be explored, which probably contain more silver". For the purposes of this report, I have added all those numbers together. It is believed that all these "ounce in the ground" estimates can be profitably mined at $5-6 per ounce silver, or lower. Thus, I believe that when silver trades for $15/oz. or above, that all of these ounces can be mined at a substantial profit.

I may be wrong. (I made a few mistakes in my last article, and there have been updates and corrections made.)

Mining is a risky business. You need to be willing to sustain a total loss of your investment for various unforeseen accidents. Silver stock companies can do stupid things to shareholders such as take on debt, or issue more stock at too low prices which reduces the percentage of the company you may own (dilution). Yet, they need to issue shares to raise capital for drilling, and then an even bigger dilution to build a working mine. They may sell YOUR silver too cheaply, or worse, hedge the price of YOUR silver just as it begins to go up if they lock in a price which then proves to be too low if the dollar is destroyed. Mining is a risky business as estimates of assets in the ground can change. There is political risk and environmental risk. They can't franchise the business, are stuck in one location, are subject to government confiscation, or taxes, or union wage negotiations, and corporate looting.

Do your own research. Be responsible for your own investment decisions. Again, please, before investing in a mining company, call up the company, and speak either with the CEO or the Investor Relations contact person.

The number of shares changes as the companies engage in new share issues and private placements, and the information I obtained from public sources such as the website may be up to a year old.

So, at the very least, check the company web site, read the annual reports, check my numbers, check my math, and email the company. That's what they are there for, to answer your questions, and to speak about the opportunity of the company. Don't trust everything you read over the internet. I am a biased source. I own silver mining stocks. And I'm not a broker, nor an investment advisor. I'm just a private investor trying to make sense of this crazy world, and sharing my information and thoughts on silver companies.

This report may be copied, and transmitted by other people, and may become outdated by the time it reaches you.

I can't tell you how you should invest your money, of course. The reason is that I don't know how convinced you are of the silver bull market, nor do I know how soon you will be needing the money back, so I don't know how long you can wait to see results, nor do I know how much liquidity you need. Nor do I know the size of the money you have to invest. It is very hard to invest large quantities of money in a small market cap stock.

That being said, my investment strategy seems to be working for me, so far. And so, here is how I have valued the following silver companies to make my own investment decisions.

Price of silver is $5.14 as of Friday, 2pm, Sept. 26th, 2003
The CAN $ / US $ conversion factor is .7385.  I will use .74 for ease.

Phone: (208) 769-4100
109 mil shares @ $5.20 share
$570.8 million Market Cap (MC)
near zero debt, cash: $113 mil
(est. 2003 production 9 mil oz. silver)
(the La Camorra gold mine, 412,000 oz gold.) ... (x 350/5 = 28 mil silver equivalent oz.)
San Sebastian silver mine, (proven & probably reserves) 8.7 mil (produced 3 mil)
the Greens Creek silver mine (proven & probably reserves) 31 mil (produced 3 mil)
the Lucky Friday mine (proven & probably reserves) 14 mil. (produced 2 mil)
Total silver = 53.7 million oz.
Plus 412,000 oz. gold x 10 = 4.1 mil oz silver equiv.
Total silver equiv. reserves = 57.8 mil oz.
$571 mil MC  / 57.8 mil = $9.87/oz.
Cost: 1.92 times an ounce, for 1 oz. in the ground.
The inverse: you get .52 ounces in the ground for 1 oz. silver.

Additional comments: I STILL don't understand Hecla. It's a truly shockingly high valuation. You are paying more for their silver in the ground, than you'd pay for silver in your hand!!!

Of course, HL has more oz. than listed in the "proven & probable" category. As Daniel A. Barnes of Malcolm H. Gissen & Associates, said, "The nature of narrow-vein mining makes it impossible to infer the length of the vein, and hence, the ultimate number of ounces in it." So, they don't list them, or don't know about them.

But how much silver in the ground do they need to have in order to have a "competitive valuation" to some of the cheap opportunities on this list, such as 30 cents/oz.? That would be: "market cap / competitive silver price of 30 cents/oz. = oz. in the ground." $571 mil MC / $.30/oz = 1.9 Billion ounces. That's a big assumption that they have that much, isn't it? That number is 33 times what they say they have in proven & probable reserves. But I know nothing about mining. I'm just doing math, and showing the obvious.

Another way to check the value of HL is too look at profit, since they are active miners. They mine 9 million ounces of silver a year. What's the profit on that today? Very little. Total production costs are $3.68/oz. Profit at $5.25 is $1.57/oz x 9 mil oz. = $14.3 million. Give a PE of 571/14 = 40. That's a very high P/E, which means HL is expensive. What will they earn if silver is $15/oz., and production stays the same? The $10 increase in price would be pure profit, or $90 million. So, $14 mil + $90 mil = $104 mil. Thus, we might expect their market cap to be ten times that, or $1,040 million, to create a P/E ratio of 10. Thus, we could expect silver to go up 285% to $15/oz., and expect HL's stock price to increase from $571 mil to $1040 mil, or a 82% increase. Thus, silver is a WAY better value than HL stock, and has much greater upside potential from here, if you are a value investor.

HL is only one company of two with a listing on the NYSE. This may be their advantage, and also they have been around for over 100 years. So, HL benefits from the market myth that "there are only a handful of silver companies to choose from". This report will clearly show that is simply not true.

Also, why does HL hold 113 million dollars worth of cash at the beginning of a bull market in silver? It makes no sense to me. Cash is trash in inflation. They should be buying physical silver, or, use that cash to buy other silver resources in the ground.

I heard they have properties in Mexico and Venezuela that they are exploring. But I found little info about that at their web site.

On the one hand I think they are fools for having so much cash (trash). On the other hand, I think they must be marketing geniuses for managing to convince the market that they deserve such a high share price.
421 mil shares @ $1.90
$819 mil MC
zero debt, cash: $27 mil
P & P & inferred = 8 mil gold equiv oz. (x 70 = 560 mil silver equiv)
Is half gold, half silver????? (But more is probably gold...) If so...
280 oz. silver + 40 mil oz. silver equiv for the half gold = 320 oz. silver equiv.
annualized production of: 425,000 ounces of gold and six million ounces of silver
= depletion in 10 years.
= production oz. to dollars x 350 = $148 mil gold, x 5 = $30 mil silver
= earnings $.12/share. (multiplying 2nd quarter 2003 earnings by 4) P/E = 15.8
$819 mil MC / 320 mil oz. = $2.55/oz.
Cost: 50% of an ounce, for 1 oz. in the ground.
The inverse: you get 2 ounces in the ground for 1 oz. silver.

Additional comments: Wheaton River is ramping up production. The PE is not horrible, but most of their profits come from gold, not silver. Some say this company should not even be on the silver list. If more than half of their "silver equiv reserves" are gold, then this is even more expensive. They have the highest market cap of the "silver miners" (with the exception of the very large companies that mine silver as a byproduct only). 

Some will say that HL, CDE and WHT should not be on this list, since they have a large gold componant to the value of their company.  What can I say.  Either way, I'm not invested in them.

= 178 mil shares @ 3.07
$548.5 mil MC
Debt to/ E = 1.17 (converting debt to shares)... (may add ~40-100 mil shares)
cash $38 mil
San Bartolome (Bolivia) reserves 146 mil silver
Silver Valley Silver reserves 32 mil silver
Rochester reserves 43 mil silver
Cerro Bayo reserves 3.7 mil silver
Total: 224.7 mil silver
(to Produce 14.6 mil oz. silver in 2003)
$548.5 mil MC / 224.7 mil oz = $2.44/oz.
Cost: 47% of an ounce, for 1 oz. in the ground.
The inverse: you get 2.1 ounces in the ground for 1 oz. silver.

Additional comments: They also have a NYSE listing. Maybe that explains things. Maybe some institutional money managers are limited to NYSE silver stocks. Or maybe people think a NYSE listing means "credibility". I don't. CDE is also a significant silver producer, 14.6 million ounces/yr. And I think that is a negative to sell silver when it is so cheap. Debt is another negative.

A question came to me this week: "Won't the public just buy the big names, like CDE & HL? When things heat up they won't know of your better picks, and they will buy the big name big board stocks regardless of value. Isn't it better to say ahead of the hoards by owning what the hoards will buy?" My response to his concern:

"You are talking about two different investment styles. The first is the "greater fool" theory. You buy an over valued stock, not caring, because you hope to sell it to a greater fool. This theory anticipates your fellow man making dumber decisions than you.
The other theory is the value investing theory. You buy value, and you hope to sell it to other investors who are also smart, but not as smart as you, since you wisely got there first. This theory anticipates your fellow man making a more rational investment decision.

The problem with going after the big names was already addressed in my first article. I wrote about Blanchard who recommended CDE because it was big. It was a big mistake, because CDE lost 90%-95% of its stock value in 9 years, going from $10-20 down to $1/share.

The other problem is that you do not know what will be big names in the future. Do you think a stock that goes up 100 times in value will not become a big name? Of course it will. Remember Cisco? Or Amazon? Or Microsoft? Sometimes they become big names simply because the stock is rising so much, so continually... and that happens because the stock initially had great value and the management had great vision and a great plan.

He replied, "Thank you for your reply. You made a lot of sense."

28 mil shares @ $7.91
$247 mil MC
measured & indicated 2.3 mil oz gold, 116 mil oz. silver inferred 1.1 mil oz. gold, 40 mil oz. silver
Totals: 3.4 mil oz. gold, 156 mil oz. silver.
~ silver conversion = 3.4 x 10 = 34 mil silver equiv + 156 mil oz. silver = 190 mil oz. silver
(only 40% is silver, the rest gold)
$247 mil MC / 190 mil oz. = $1.3/oz.
Cost: 25% of an ounce, for 1 oz. in the ground.
The inverse: you get 3.95 ounces in the ground for 1 oz. silver.

Additional comments: In case you have not realized it by now, this list is organized from most expensive on top, cheapest at the bottom. Read on.

37 mil shares @ price 1.30 (CAN) x .74 dollar/CAN = .962
$35 mil MC
indicated resourcs 30 mil oz.
$35 mil MC / 30 mil oz. = $1.18/oz.
Cost: 23% of an ounce, for 1 oz. in the ground.
The inverse: you get 4.33 ounces in the ground for 1 oz. silver.

Additional comments: Still pricey.   Keep in mind, the company might have more ounces in their properties, they have just not drilled them, or "discovered" them to be able to add them to the indicated resources category.  But this is also the case with every silver stock, and every silver company in the world.  They ALL feel they could explore their properties further. 

The stocks get cheaper. Keep reading.

33.4 mil shares @ $3.70
$126.9 mil MC
(not actively mining)
Indicated potential metal recoveries over the life of mine are 112,278,711 ounces of silver
(200-500 mil oz. silver potential.  But all properties "have potential".  Should this one be an explorer??? 
The capital cost of the project to get the mine going is estimated to be US $148,628,400
$126.9 mil MC / 112 mil oz. = $1.13/oz.
Cost: 22% of an ounce, for 1 oz. in the ground.
The inverse: you get 4.5 ounces in the ground for 1 oz. silver.

Additional comments: Note the capital cost to get the mining started. $148 million dollars. That's huge. Remember that number to compare to others.  If this is an explorer, or if you think they might have about double the silver oz. do the new math.  It might be about double, or 9 oz. in the ground for 1 oz. silver.  Still not in the ballpark of the great values.

36.6 mil shares @ $14.03
$514 mil MC
San Cristobal (Bolivia) (proven & probably reserves) 454 mil silver
(forecast capital costs for construction to total approximately $435 million)
(Produced zero silver in 2002)
$514 mil MC / 454 mil oz = $1.13/oz.
Cost: 22% of an ounce, for 1 oz. in the ground.
The inverse: you get 4.5 ounces in the ground for 1 oz. silver.

Additional comments: Still way too expensive. This one has a lot of zinc. That's an added bonus that is not factored in. Several writers have been saying zinc prices will be heading up soon, so that's an added bonus. And, they are not mining now, but are waiting for higher silver prices. That's also a plus. The management also seems to understand that silver will move upwards a lot. Another plus. Finally, George Soros, Billionaire, owns a bit of this one, just under 10% I read recently. Another plus.

I once advocated buying SIL. At the time, I thought there were only 5 real silver companies to choose from, and this was in the top 3, in the group of SSRI, PAAS and SIL, and excluding HL and CDE. I was wrong. There are many silver opportunities, not just five, and this is one of the most expensive, even with the zinc bonus. So, I sold SIL for better opportunities, and it has paid off well for me.

EXN.V (does not work in netscape?)
2002 annual report:
48 mil shares outstanding @ .165 CAN x .74 =
$5.9 mil MC
gross value of mineralization is $31.4 million. / $5.2 = 6 mil oz. silver equiv?
$5.9 mil MC / 6 = $.93/oz.
Cost: 18% of an ounce, for 1 oz. in the ground.
The inverse: you get 5.5 ounces in the ground for 1 oz. silver.

Additional comments: Still expensive.  Maybe they have more silver to explore? 

52 mil shares @ $10.03
$522.8 mil MC
D/E .08 cash: $12 mil.
10 silver properties (3 in production)
produced 7 mil oz. silver in 2001:
February 2003 presentation reported total reserves including peru stockpiles of 874.3 million ounces
earnings -$.77/share???!!!
$522.8 mil MC / 874.3 mil oz. = $.59/oz.
Cost: 11.6% of an ounce, for 1 oz. in the ground.
The inverse: you get 8.59 ounces in the ground for 1 oz. silver.

Additional Comments: PAAS is one of the few silver producers on this list. Thus, they are a "silver miner" as their investor relations person will painstakingly point out. The other companies who do not mine silver, but merely own silver properties and drill them, are not "silver miners," nor are they "silver mining companies". They are "silver properties," or "silver opportunities," or "silver speculations," I guess. Ok, but that still does not justify selling silver at firesale prices, in my book.

PAAS recently went into debt in order to ramp up production. I am strongly biased against debt. But it's a convertible debenture, so the debt can be converted into stock. They know and believe higher silver prices are coming, which is great, and their strategy is to be in solid production mode when the higher price hits. In the meantime, though, the extra production will delay the inevitable silver boom, and they are destroying shareholder value. I also advocated buying PAAS. And I recently sold. I sold because I think there are better opportunities out there.

18.7 mil shares issued and outstanding
share price $1.68 CAN x .74 = $1.24 US
$23.2 mil MC
inferred resource: 45 mil oz. silver + 1 mil oz gold.
1 mil oz. gold = + 10 mil oz. silver equiv
$23.2 mil MC / 55 mil oz. = $.42/oz.
Cost: 8% of an ounce, for 1 oz. in the ground.
The inverse: you get 12.2 ounces in the ground for 1 oz. silver.

39.4 mil shares @ $6.65
$266 mil MC
debt free, cash: $10 mil
not mining or producing
15 properties
measured and indicated resources totaling 300.4 million ounces of silver
plus inferred resources totaling 366 million ounces of silver = 666 mil oz.
2.2 mil oz. gold. Silver equiv = 22 mil oz. silver. (22+666=688 mil oz.)
$266 mil MC / 688 mil oz. = $.38/oz.
Cost: 7.5% of an ounce, for 1 oz. in the ground.
The inverse: you get 13.29 ounces in the ground for 1 oz. silver.

Additional comments: Finally, we are getting down to a good price. I also advocated buying SSRI, and I recently sold for about a 70% profit. Not because SSRI is necessarily bad, but merely because I wanted to buy what I felt were cheaper "ounces in the ground".   SSRI continues to add to reserves, either through exploring, or through acquisitions.  This company seems to really understand the silver story, and helped to educate me as an investor, for which I'm thankful.  I'm a bit confused as to why they would want to mine silver at $6/oz., but perhaps they feel that will be the top of the silver bull market.  I could not disagree more, obviously.

Let's pause for a moment here. Consider the market capitalization of all these companies so far.

It is $3.6 Billion.

I think some of the shareholders of the companies above should wise up and realize they should buy some physical silver or other silver stocks which is cheap, and sell the companies which are relatively expensive.

Now, most of the better-valued silver companies that I will present below have much smaller market caps than the average market caps of the ones above. The owners of the above silver companies quite simply cannot all sell high and buy low. The smaller companies simply do not have the capacity to absorb that much buying power. Only a few can buy low and sell high. The masses, unfortunately, cannot do so. But physical silver can absorb the buying power, or at least, it should. And if it cannot, then the exploding price of the physical silver market should continue to light a fire under all these silver stocks.

44 mil shares (fully diluted)
Share Price @ .67 CAN x .74 dollar/CZN = .49 US
$22 mil MC
not mining ($20 mil needed to finish & start the mine) ($100 mil worth of mining infrastructure in place!)
~70 mil oz. (IN ZONE 3 only!! of 12 zones! This company seems to be greatly under-reporting their silver reserves. Their 10 year mine plan consists of zone 3 only, but there are 12 mineralized zones on the property.)
$22 mil MC / 70 mil oz. = $.31/oz.
$22 mil MC / 100+ mil oz. = $.22/oz. or less.
Cost: 4% of an ounce, for 1 oz. in the ground.
The inverse: you get 23.86 ounces in the ground for 1 oz. silver.

Additional comments: CZN continued to explode in price last week. There was a press release.

I note several very, very positive things about this company.

1. This was the mining operation set up by the Hunt brothers, the major silver investors in the silver spike to $50/oz. in 1980 who were destroyed by their own debts and margin calls as a result of the COMEX rule changes and silver short sale manipulation. The Hunts spent $50 million building infrastructure to get the mine running. They were 90% complete when bankruptcy hit. The value of those buildings is now $100 million, and the mine only needs about $20 million to get the mine up and running. That's much cheaper than other cost estimates of other operations.
2. The 70 million oz. of silver estimate is for zone 3 only. But there are 12 zones on the property. The zone 3 estimate is for a 10 year mine plan that involves mining zone 3 at current metals prices. The company can mine, at a profit, at current silver and zinc prices.
3. The company is named "Canadian Zinc" because at current prices, three times as much money is in the zinc. Therefore, a price per oz. of silver just does not do the price justice. The company can raise $20 million capital to start the mine, and mine at a profit today. Raising the $20 million, will be much easier as the investment markets for metals continues to improve. And remember, at $15/oz. for silver, half the money will come from silver. At $30/oz silver, 2/3rds will come from silver.
4. The profit potential of 70 mil oz. of silver in zone 3 (of 12 zones), is over $3.00/oz. at today's prices. Thus, the profit of the silver is about $240 million dollars. The market cap is $22 million, and they need to raise about $20 million more to finish off the mine and start mining.  Someone thought they could put a "per share profit" on this, but you can't do that until you know how many shares the company will issue to raise the additional $20 million. 

I own shares of CZN.TO

17.8 mil shares
@ 1.30 share CAN x (.74 US/CAN) = $.96 US
$17.1 mil MC
Indicated resources of silver 30 mil oz. (SOZ.)
$17.1 mil MC / 30 mil oz. = $.57 /oz. in the ground. BUT...
*** discovery adds silver*** (perhaps 40-100 mil oz.) see below
new silver totals are projected to be: 70 - 130 mil oz.
$17.1 mil MC / 70 = $.24/oz.
$17.1 mil MC / 130 $.13/oz.
AT $.24/oz. Cost: 4.6% of an ounce, for 1 oz. in the ground.
The inverse: you get 21 ounces in the ground for 1 oz. silver.
AT $.13/oz. Cost: 2.5% of an ounce, for 1 oz. in the ground.
The inverse: you get 39 ounces in the ground for 1 oz. silver.

Now, whenever there is a range like that, it means those are ounces they need to drill to prove up.  And drilling costs money, but does not generate revenue like mining.  They are "exploring" those.  They are not like "inferred resources" ounces, which, although the least certain category, are more certain than this range number.  So, consider those last numbers as if this company is "an explorer". Let's take the mid range to get an "oz in ground"  $.20/oz...
Cost: 3.9% of an ounce, for 1 oz. in the ground.
The inverse: you get 25.7 ounces in the ground for 1 oz. silver.

Additional comments: I forgot to convert $CAN to $US in my last report on this one, and so I used the wrong market cap, a higher number, in $CAN, not $US. This is why you need to do your own research, and check my math. And there was a discovery that the company found and wrote and told me about, that they are now working on.  Plus, their reserves are potentially "open pitable" which reduces costs.

Additional note:  Every silver company out there always has "more silver property" that potentially has "more silver in the ground" that they "need to explore".  So every company has a "silver bonus" that's not included in their oz. reserve figures.  But exploration is risky, and costly.  It's why metals are precious.

10.5 fully dilutted shares
@ share price .85 CAN (x .74) = .63 US
$6.6 mil MC
25-50 million oz. silver  I don't know why that's a range.  Is this an explorer?
$6.6 mil MC / 25 mil oz. = .26
$6.6 mil MC / 50 mil oz. = .13
At .20/oz.,
Cost: 3.9% of an ounce, for 1 oz. in the ground.
The inverse: you get 25.7 ounces in the ground for 1 oz. silver.

Additional comments: I don't own any TM.V. I need to research more.

50 mil shares fully diluted @ .38/share
$19 mil MC
100 mil oz. silver
+500,000 oz. gold x 10 = 5 mil oz. silver equiv.
$19 mil MC / 105 mil oz. = $.18/oz.
Cost: 3.5% of an ounce, for 1 oz. in the ground.
The inverse: you get 28 ounces in the ground for 1 oz. silver.

Additional comments: For more info on what's going on with Clifton, see I don't own any of either. Not because of any negative bias, (I know little else about the company) I just bought others that were cheaper at the time.  This company valuation also significantly changed, because I'm counting gold ounces differently now, and also, because this stock price went up last week.

I don't own any CFTN.PK & never did.

number of tips: 4
IR Tel: (604) 689-7017
shares outstanding 37 mil on February 5, 2003
Share price .315 CAN x .74 = .23 US
$8.62 mil MC
company says "55 mil silver equiv. oz."  --Note, I do NOT know what that means!  But I do know they are counting gold, or copper, or something, as silver.  How much is gold or copper, I don't know.  But I do know this:  Gold is NOT silver.  And I calculate gold as silver, differently than others.  I use 10:1.  They might use 70:1.  So be careful, and do more research.  Nevertheless, I'll use the number to see if it is in the ballpark.  (Got to start somewhere)
$8.62 mil MC / 55 mil = $.16/oz.
Cost: 3% of an ounce, for 1 oz. in the ground.
The inverse: you get 32.8 ounces in the ground for 1 oz. silver.

Additional comments: I don't know how much of the 55 mil oz. is gold, which I value differently. Thus this is a minus, and the company should probably be valued as more expensive than the math is showing right now. See ECU below for more of what I mean.  The company might also be exploring, and if they find and prove up more silver, this will be a plus.

@ Share price .125 CAN (x.74 US/CAN) = .0925
$7.13 mil MC
Reserves and Resources: 41 mil oz. silver
Gold equivalents 712,000 x 10 (from the 70:1 silver/gold ratio) = 7.1 mil silver equiv...
(new gold to silver value remember, see the top of this article) 41 mil oz. + 7 mil oz. = 48 mil oz.
$7.13 mil MC / 48 mil oz. silver equiv. = .15
Cost: 2.8% of an ounce, for 1 oz. in the ground.
The inverse: you get 34.6 ounces in the ground for 1 oz. silver.

Additional comments: This one moved up a lot last week, nearly doubling in price. But note!  Half the current value is in gold, not silver. Last week, this was the "cheapest" on the list.  But last week, I was doing the math as if gold were as 70 oz. of silver.  (And then, I added my "discount" in my comments.)  This week, I have re-calculated the value of those gold ounces as only 10 times the value in silver, not 70 times. The reason is at the top of this article.

I don't own any ECU & never did. 

7 mil shares  (+ ~1.5 mil share issue in the works)
@ share price $4.4
$31 mil MC
~160 mil oz. resource, Sunshine alone
~100 mil oz. other properties (rough guess)
$31 mil MC / 260 mil oz. = $.12/oz.
$31 mil MC / 400 mil oz. (an anonymous source says they have 400 mil oz., but will not commit to saying so on paper) = $.075/oz.
At $.12/oz.,
Cost: 2.3% of an ounce, for 1 oz. in the ground.
The inverse: you get 42.8 ounces in the ground for 1 oz. silver.

Additional comments: Sterling Mining acquired the Sunshine mine. Sunshine was one of the big three: Hecla, Couer, & Sunshine. Sunshine went bankrupt. Sterling got the property a few months ago cheap, because they were quick & willing to pay cash. Other buyers wanted to do a full study before making an offer. This company's share price went ballistic as a result. But the company is still way undervalued. Just do the math, people. I own a substantial share of SRLM.PK There were a few great articles written lately for SRLM. See the company web site, above. The best factors, I feel, are as follows:
1. The Sunshine mine is an existing mine that was mining at a profit. The company went bankrupt, not the mine. So there will be no great capital costs for start up, only minimal costs.
2. The Sunshine sits on 1/2 sq. mile, and was never fully explored. Sterling Mining owns 10 square miles of property surrounding the Sunshine, right in the heart of silver country, Cour, the location of CDE and HL, the other two big companies at the top of this list.
3. The management of Sunshine understands the silver story. They are on a mission to acquire distressed silver properties at today's cheap prices.
4. The additional share offering, if it closes, could mean 8.5 mil shares, which would mean a market cap of $37 mil. That's a minus.  $37 / 260 = .14/oz., which is a little higher price.  Beware of additional share issues causing shareholder dilution. 

I own shares of SRLM.PK

7.5 mil shares
@ share price $2.97=
$22 mil MC
261 mil oz. silver resources.  These have been very well proved up by previous drilling.  Previous drilling spent over $100 million drilling the property.  This is a much higher class of certainty of "oz. in the ground" than in the explorer or hopeful category which always is expressed as a range. 
$22 mil MC / 261 mil = $.084/oz.
Cost: 1.6% of an ounce, for 1 oz. in the ground.
The inverse: you get 61 ounces in the ground for 1 oz. silver.

Additional comments: Mines Management owned 10% of the rights to their property in Montana. The other 90% owner simply gave up on the property and walked away from their mining claim due to "perpetually" low silver prices and environmental concerns. That explains the rocketing share price. So, the MNMM group got 90% of the rest of the property FOR FREE!--the value of which, and the nature of this transaction has just barely begun to be understood by the market, given the low relative price. Their property also has about 1/2 the value (at current prices) in copper, 2 Billion pounds of copper, and 261 mil oz. of silver.  Do the math, people. 261 mil oz. silver x $5.25/oz. = $1.3 Billion. 2 Billion lbs copper x .85/lb. = $1.7 Billion. Amazing assets in the ground for such a small market cap.

They do not have an active working mine--Which is a minus.  They will need to raise capital to get a mine going. And there are environmental concerns.  I think that environmental concerns will go away when the dollar crashes, and jobs and silver are needed.  In the meantime, the silver is safe, and I own a share of it at a relatively cheap purchase price.

I own shares of MNMM.OB

number of tips: 2
6.9 mil shares
@ share price .80 CAN x .74 = .59 US
$4.08 mil MC
"How Much Silver Does Avino Have?"
"Operations at Avino's silver mine in Mexico are both open-pit and underground. I examined the reserves and interpolated the tonnage into silver ounces as follows: 28-million ounces proven; 50-million ounces probable and 27 million ounces possible."
--focus is on being silver company. A plus.
= 28 + 50 + 27 = 105
Avino owns 49% of that, or 51.5 mil oz.
604 682-3701
David Wolfin
$4.08 mil MC / 51.5 mil oz. = $.079/oz.
Cost: 1.5% of an ounce, for 1 oz. in the ground.
The inverse: you get 64 ounces in the ground for 1 oz. silver.

Additional notes: Mexican mining law once stated that a controlling interest had to be owned by Mexicans, which explains why they only have a 49% interest.  That they don't have a controlling interest is a minus. This law has changed. The mine was operational until 2001. So there is in place an existing mine, with working infrastructure, which is a bonus over MNMM.OB.  Nevertheless, they can always add to reserves as they continue to explore their property, and as the price of silver moves up, the reserves picture will grow larger. 

I bought shares of ASM.V last week.
Explorers deserve their own category, since they cannot be valued by my method of looking at reserves and resources of ounces of silver in the ground.  We do not know how many oz. they might have. They are exploring for that. But, given their market caps, and given what I feel is a good price for a silver company of about 30 cents per oz. in the ground, I can calculate how much silver they had better find, in order to justify their current stock price. This valuation method might also help those who have a better feel for how much silver they might find than I do, to value the company. This list, although at the bottom, in no way indicates that these companies are more highly valued than companies listed above. It is also difficult to categorize a company as an explorer, since all silver companies always hold more silver properties that need to be explored.

(The order is by largest market cap first, not by "comparative value".)

number of tips: 7
Fully Diluted shares 43,391,780
@ share price $2.27 CAN x .74 = $1.67  U.S
$72 mil MC / (.30/oz. "Arbitrary Jason Hommel good value" factor) = 240 mil oz. that they had better find to justify the current Market cap.

number of tips: 6
376 mil shares
share price .11 
$41 mil MC
"Total Inferred Resource is 34.5 million ozs silver but the district is unexplored for epithermal silver and exploration to date suggests a district potential of 50 to 100m ozs Ag or perhaps much more." --"Macmin is a silver focussed company" The Texas Silver Project has in-ground resources of 44.5Moz of silver equivalent
$41 mil MC / 50 mil oz. = $.82oz.
$41 mil MC / 100 mil oz. = $.41oz.
$41 mil MC / (.30/oz. "Arbitrary Jason Hommel good value" factor) = 136 mil oz. that they had better find to justify the current Market cap.

28.3 million shares fully diluted (assuming all the options and warrants are exercised, which are NOT all "in the money")
x 1.75 CAN (x .74 US/CAN) = 1.30
$36.6 mil MC
Proven & Probable: NONE! (explorer).
Speculated reserves ~ 100 - 250 or more mil oz.?????
$36.6 mil MC / (.30/oz. "good value" factor) = 122 mil oz. that they had better find to justify the current Market cap.

Additional comments: *** I wrote an article on Cardero in January, 2003.

Their first drilling results came back less than expected, and the stock took over a 50% drop. Part of the problem was the type of drilling. The geologist said the water from the drill was washing away too much of the silver in the sample. And so, the stock has climbed back substantially with better drilling results since then.

Cardero is in Argentina. Their property was an active mine, but only a few tons/day. They are trying to prove up the property to see if they can make a huge open pit operation out of it. And they have lots of property in the area, and the area may have several large silver deposits that need proving up.

I own shares of CDU.V

number of tips: 7
28 mil fully diluted shares
@ share price $1.45 CAN x .74 = $1.07 US
$30 mil MC / (.30/oz. "good value" factor) = 100 mil oz. that they had better find to justify the current Market cap.

Esperanza Silver Corp
number of tips: 3
fully diluted 20 million shares
@ share price
$1.08 CAN x .74 = $.80 US
$16 mil MC / (.30/oz. "good value" factor) = 53 mil oz. that they had better find to justify the current Market cap.  "Esperanza Silver Corporation is solely dedicated to the identification, acquisition and exploration of new silver projects." 

Additional notes:  Please note this number is totally arbitrary.  Just like number of shares is an arbitrary number, and share price is an arbitrary number.  You need to have something to correlate it with in order to make sense.  I have no idea whether this company is a good value or not.  I have no way to know, or tell without calling the company and getting a feel for what they are doing.  I have not done that yet.  Sometimes, people say you should judge a company by the management, and whether they were successful in the past.  But mining is still risky.

30 mil shares
@ share price .68 CAN x .74 = .50 US
$15 mil MC
historic: 15 mil oz. silver
238,600 oz. gold x 10 = 2.3 mil. 15 + 2.3 = 17
but they may "have more" as they explore, those are historic numbers.
Stephen Coates IR ext 6305
416 368 4525
$15 million. / 17 mil oz. = $.88 /oz.
(should be cheaper. The number is due to "historic" values of silver-they are exploring for more oz.)

number of tips: 1
33 mil shares fully diluted
@ share price .52 CAN x .74 = .36 US
$12 mil MC
Amador Canyon Silver Project: 50-250 tonnes
silver grades average 4 oz. ton in the deposit
= 200 to 1000 mil oz. silver????? --very speculative at this point. Drilling needs to be done, scheduled $13.2 mil MC / (.30/oz. "good value" factor) = 44 mil oz. is all they need to find to justify the current Market cap.
$12 mil MC / 200 mil oz. = $.06/oz.
$12 mil MC / 1000 mil oz. = $.012/oz.
At $.06/oz.,
1.1% of an ounce, for 1 oz. in the ground.
The inverse: you "might" get 85 ounces in the ground for 1 oz. silver.
At $.012/oz.,
0.2% of an ounce, for 1 oz. in the ground.
The inverse: you "might" get 428 ounces in the ground for 1 oz. silver.

NPG.V Notes: Explorer in Nevada. They do not really know how much silver they might they have in the Amador Canyon project. They are doing drilling this fall, 2003, as they just did a $2.5 million private placement. The Chariman, David Hottman, says that 90% of the value of the company is in gold, NOT silver, and yet, I'm buying this company for the silver value only, and as if the gold componant was worth nothing. (The gold projects are a free bonus, in my book, and help to alleviate the risk of this explorer.) He has 10 gold projects, and one silver-but it may be big. On the website, for David Hottman's bio, it says he was a founding member of Eldorado gold. "During his tenure, Eldorado's market capitalization grew from Cdn $7 million in 1992 to a peak of Cdn $781 million in 1996."  Please note, exploration is risky, and costly.  Call the company before investing your hard earned money.
I bought shares of NPG.V last week.

property next to IMR, another explorer
Shares Issued: 7,434,106 .95/share.
$5.2 mil MC

12 mil shares @.34 =
$4 mil MC

Reports such as this usually cost an annual subscription such as $300 or so, and usually, the information you get can be outdated by the time you get it in the mail. This information is believed to be accurate as of Friday, September 19 to Sept. 25, 2003.

Articles like this one, that present opportunities as good as these, can tend to move the markets in these stocks. So, be careful when buying. Don't place any market orders at the open for any of these small stocks.  Place limit orders.  You might end up buying at prices that are 30% higher than you intended.  But bid / ask spreads such as 15% on small cap silver stocks are normal.  Markets can especially be moved given the wide readership of I've seen markets moved even by small private newsletters such as and, which reach much smaller numbers of people than Some of these stocks can move up 15%, 30%, 50% or even over 100% in a single day. Thus, valuations can change very, very quickly. So, be careful, and re-check the numbers if the prices move up. Do your own math.

Also note, the majority of these companies have an emphasis on silver only.  Most silver is produced as a by product of other mining, like lead or zinc or copper mining.  Those companies that primarily produce other minerals are not featured in this report.  This also helps to explain and prove, that silver is undervalued.  If silver miners cannot mine silver profitably, and this report shows that to be true, then something is wrong with the silver price.  It must go higher.

One more cautionary note. This is NOT an exhaustive list of all the silver company opportunities in the world. There are others. I'm lazy. I have not scoured the earth for everything available. I know this list is incomplete. And this brings me to why I'm sharing this information with all of you for free.

So, why am I writing up this information for free, and not trying to charge money for this information? As I said, I own what I consider to be some of the best of these stocks, based on my method of valuing silver stocks. If people buy them, and the stocks go up, I will profit.

The final and main reason why I'm writing this is that I expect that if people know of better silver property opportunities, they will contact me. So if you know of silver properties that are cheaper, please contact me. Please try to include the same type of information I need for this list such as: outstanding shares, share price, market cap, and silver reserves & resources.

Final tip: Book recommendations:
"Silver Bulls" by Paul Sarnoff. Details the 1980 rise and fall of silver. Written in 1980.

"Silver Bonanza" by James Blanchard. 1993. Outlines the case for silver.

"The definitive guide to North American mining stocks" by Doug Casey & Jerry Pogue available thru & Jerry Pogue is a director of Mines Management. Doug Casey has been #1 booster of mining shares since 1978 publication of "Crisis Investing " and 1982 "Strategic Investing" and 1992 "Crisis Investing for 90's"

Final Table Summary of silver stocks

This shows how they compare, on price, to the investor.  The single number listed is the number of ounces of silver in the ground you get for giving up, or spending, the equivalent of one ounce of silver ($5.14) to buy shares in the silver stock company which gives you a percentage of the company and "ownership" to silver in the ground when buying the company at the prices at the close on Friday.  This is NOT the cost to mine.  It is your cost (in silver) for acquiring the number of silver ounces in the ground.   This number changes when new shares are issued, or if the price of the share changes, or if the company finds and explores for more silver.  If there is a range listed, it means the ounces are an estimate, and are yet in the "reserves & resources" category, and it reflects that the company is exploring (drilling) to prove up those ounces to be able to put them in the "inferred resources" category.

HL  you get .52 ounces in the ground for 1 oz. silver.
CDE 2.1
MFN / MFL.TO  3.95
FSR.TO 4.33
WTZ / WTC.TO 4.5
SIL 4.5
EXN.V 5.5
PAAS 8.59
SSRI 13.29
* CZN.TO / CZICF.PK 23.86
SVL.V 21-39  --range due to exploration.
TM.V 25.7
MAI.V 32.8 * --silver "equiv."  real silver unknown
ECU.V 34.6
* SRLM.PK 42.8
* MNMM.OB 61
* ASM.V / ASGMF.PK 64 --company owns 49% of a Mexican company.

* NPG.V / NVPGF.PK 85-428

* = I own shares

Final Category: Silver stocks FOR YOU and I TO RESEARCH  (and me, which may appear in the next report next week)

People tipped me to the above 21 silver stocks, but I just did not have time to research and evaluate them all this week.

Final Disclaimer:  I have not received any compensation from any company for writing up my weekly report on "silver stocks--comparative valuations," neither cash, nor shares, nor options, nor any other sort of compensation. Within the report, I declared my ownership of each company that I own. To repeat, I own shares of the following: MNMM.OB, SRLM.PK, CZN.TO, CDU.V, NPG.V & ASM.V.  I am not short any companies, and I hold no short positions, no puts, and no calls.

Jason Hommel --my webmaster says, "My goal is to have this thing up in a week."

-- Posted Sunday, 28 September 2003 | Digg This Article


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