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.

Natural stone – Portuguese emerges as leader

Natural Stone per capita imports and exports 2013
Natural Stone per capita imports and exports 2013

According to 2013 provisional data from the international trade UN database, with close to 45 USD/person, Portugal is the per capita world leader in natural stone exports.

A traditional stone loving country, Portugal is a producer of natural stone with a mix that includes marble, limestone and granite blocks, slabs and, particularly, end-products and projects. The country is currently (2013 data) the seventh largest natural stone world exporter (457 M USD).

Sínese has been involved in natural stone projects for a quarter of a century, in Portugal but also elsewhere. Luís Caetano, our expert, worked for the major Portuguese stone exporters, with projects all over the world. For further information or advice on natural stone projects, contact us at ljcaetano@sinese.pt or use the contact form.