See our full introductory course on investing in mining stocks: www.informedtrades.com/f434/
Here are the basic points covered in the video:
1. Economic geology is complex. This video is just to give you a taste, and to cover some of the key elements. Studying geology in depth and having a mastery of the subject is what can really help investors pick the big winners in this area. It's worth noting that many big investment firms that focus on single stock selection in the mining space employ geologists.
2. Be skeptical. Everyone says they have a great mine with the most valuable stuff in the world that can be extracted at very low prices. Most of them do not. When doing number crunching in valuing mines, conservative estimates can help. Accordingly, it's worth remembering that trying to pick explorers, while that's where the big money is, is a tough game. Most fail. Those that already have production established, earnings to prove it, and the possibility of issuing dividends are the much safer bet, especially for the casual investor/trader.
3. Check the NI 43-101. The NI 43-101 is a report issued by mining companies listed on Canadian exchanges (the vast majority of mining firms) that is an attempt at quantifying the amount of minerals the mining company has access to for their given mines. I recommend focusing on conservative numbers in the report, as it remains to be seen if the geologist who conducted the report got it correct and what the final price of extraction ends up being.
4. Cost Per Ounce. In investor presentations, many mining firms will state their cost per ounce. The simple formula for assessing the value of a mine is
(market price per ounce of mineral - cost per ounce) * number of ounces
When you have the NI 43-101 and the cost per ounce, you can do some number crunching to give you an idea of what the company's potential profit is. Then you can compare this with its market capitalization to get an idea of whether it is undervalued or not, as well as its earning potential based on how you think the mineral it mines will fare in the future.
Related to cost per ounce is the quality of the ore in the mine. This is most simply observed by looking at what the grams per ton the company is reporting. Lower grams per ton means it will take moving around a lot of rocks to get the minerals, which means a higher cost of production. Conversely, higher grams per ton means cost of production are likely lower. These days, it is common to see 1 gram per ton or less with respect to gold, although there are of course exceptions that can yield much more.
5. History. Mines with minerals that are most easily extracted tend to form around fault lines. This is one of the reasons why the same geographic regions tend to continually yield worthwhile mines. In the United States, for instance, Nevada, Colorado, and California have historically been mineral-rich regions -- and so many companies today tend to focus on those regions as well. Canada, of course, has built much of its economy on mineral extraction. In addition to having favorable mines, these regions are also accustomed to dealing with the mining industry and are often inclined to view it as an economic boon and capable of dealing with the myriad of permitting and environmental issues mining brings.
6. Resources. For serious data crunching on the value of mines relative to the market capitalization of stocks, try the following links: