Legally Raid China’s Pantry: Opportunity in Mongolia?

This article was originally published in February, it has been “lightly updated” in honor of the teaser ad’s resurgence in my email box.

This teaser ad looks like it’s the launch of a new service from Christian DeHaemer, who has blessed us with a great many “Indiana Jones” teasers over the years, talking about the tiny companies he’s been ferreting out in frontier markets and war zones for the newsletters he used to edit at Taipan — now he’s apparently moved over to Angel Publishing, yet another arm of the Agora octopus, and started a new letter called Crisis and Opportunity. Time will tell if it brings as many enticing teaser stories as his old Crisis Trader letter (I had a particular soft spot for his many teasers for Dragon Oil), but it’s certainly worth taking a look …

The teaser today is all about Mongolia:

“How to legally* raid ‘China’s Pantry’

“Insiders feed us the 24 resource deals that will make one obscure nation Beijing’s top growth partner…

“And hand you a chance at 57 times your money

“*(This info falls into a legal “gray area” and may soon be subject to an injunction. Your chance to profit from it could end by February 10, 2010.)”

The “gray area” stuff is a little silly — but Brian Hicks, the publisher, goes into a little more detail on that a bit later:

“Technically, I don’t think I’ve broken any laws by printing the inside ‘intel’ that The Hammer learned in his meetings with Mongolian banking bigwigs and government dignitaries…

“But then again, I don’t know what he told them to GET those meetings.

“I don’t know whether they were perfectly clear on who The Hammer was — or why he was there. Perhaps they were under the impression that he was an oil or energy man. Or maybe a liaison to some U.S. government committee…

“Again, I don’t know.

“But I’m sure of this much: They probably didn’t know he was a ‘spy’ for an investment research service.

“Bottom line: If they get ticked at me for revealing something sensitive (like that fact that their stock market’s a Wild West show right now), they could probably find legal justification for slapping an injunction me.

“That’s why I’ve taken some steps to protect myself here — like redacting the names of Mongolian officials, and code-naming my “spy” The Hammer… ”

Sounds pretty silly to me, and DeHaemer has certainly talked openly about his Mongolian trip before, in pre-teaser articles before this newsletter was launched, but we can forgive them for trying to make the shroud of mystery around their stock tips a bit more opaque … after all, everyone loves to be part of a sneaky, top-secret operation. And it also gives them a nice urgency to the ad, since Hicks implies that the Mongolians might somehow serve him with an “injunction” within two weeks and somehow stop the publication of this material. That’s so far-fetched as to be a bit ridiculous, but perhaps the Mongolians have a stronger influence on our court system than I think they do.

The ad is a very long one, as all of them are — but it essentially just builds the argument that Mongolia is going to be the next hot market because they are opening up to foreign investment, because Ivanhoe and Rio Tinto managed to move the massive Oyu Tolgoi project forward and get punitive mining taxes rolled back last year, which opens the door for other explorers, and because the massive demand for raw materials from China, their neighbor to the South, will create huge investment in infrastructure to move Mongolian raw materials to China’s factories.

They sum it up nicely here:


They compare the opportunities they’re looking at now to some of the others that DeHaemer has touted in frontier economies before, including the aforementioned Dragon Oil in Turkmenistan, Tullow Oil in Uganda, and a few others, in building a case for investments now becoming 57X gainers.

So they don’t try to tease the one major Mongolia-focused investment, Ivanhoe Mines, because they say this stock has already advanced quite a bit in the wake of last year’s poliitcal agreements, but they do tease three others that DeHaemer is looking at now as having big leverage to Mongolia’s coming explosive growth. So who are they?

Clues, please!

“THE METALS PLAY is a secondary beneficiary of the Oyu Tolgoi gold/copper deal between the Mongolian government and Ivanhoe/Rio Tinto. They license all the territory surrounding the OT deposit itself — and also hold mining/exploration rights in China and other hot zones…

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“This firm has exploded in price exponentially compared to gold. The company leveraged a 35% up-tick in gold over calendar year 2009 into more than 316% growth: A ratio of more than nine times over. If gold goes to $1,500 per ounce (as The Hammer predicts), this company could easily multiply in value another 900%…”

This one must be, according to the cogitations of the mighty Thinkolator, Entree Gold (ETG in Toronto, EGI in New York). Entree Gold does own mining and exploration licenses surrounding Oyu Tolgoi, including joint ventures with Ivanhoe, and they do believe that the agreements with the government and the new mining law will be to their benefit as they continue to explore their license areas and define resources. The stock has roughly tripled over the past year, with much of that gain coming as the good news about Mongolian legal and policy changes came in late in 2009. This is how they describe themselves on their website:

“Entrée Gold Inc., as a junior resource company, is trying to meet global demand for products such as gold, copper, molybdenum and coal through concerted exploration efforts. With operations in emerging markets such as Mongolia and China and proven jurisdictions such as Arizona and New Mexico in the United States, Entrée has assembled a portfolio of gold and copper exploration projects balanced between grass roots and advanced exploration.

“Most notably, Entree is a large landholder in Mongolia, where it holds three exploration licenses that comprise the 179,590-hectare Lookout Hill property. Lookout Hill completely surrounds the Oyu Tolgoi project of Ivanhoe Mines, and hosts the Hugo North Extension of the Hugo Dummett deposit and the newly discovered Heruga deposit.”

This is the first I’ve ever heard of Entree — they appear to be in pretty reasonable shape, with a market cap of a bit over $250 million, cash of about $40 million and no debt to speak of, but I don’t know what their joint venture operations with Ivanhoe will require of them in terms of investment, or what their capital investment plans are for the year as they continue to explore. They are still a junior exploration company, with no revenue to speak of, so the stock will move based on estimates of their reserves, new discoveries, and any further political developments — they do have some interests in China and in the US, but it does appear that the Mongolian properties are where the big potential lies.

But there’s more … let’s move on …

“THE COAL PLAY is a company that currently manages to extract coal and coke from some of the highest-quality deposits on Earth for around 17.5% of its market value. They also have exclusive licenses to explore over 800,000 hectares of prime Mongolian coal land…

“Located less than 30 miles from the Mongolia/China border — and ramping up to increase coal production 600% in the next 2 years — this company is strategically positioned for the lion’s share of Chinese coal demand. But you’d better get in now. The way China’s been buying up prime hydrocarbon assets around the world at premium prices lately, you could be passing up a fast 200 – 300% payday on a buyout.”

This sounds as though it must be SouthGobi, yet another company that’s closely related to Ivanhoe Mines — SouthGobi is listed in Canada at SGQ (recently moved from the Venture exchange to the Toronto exchange) and newly listed in Hong Kong at 1178, with pink sheets trading also available at SGQRF (very low volume, so be careful about bidding based on the fair price in Canada if you’re interested). SouithGobi’s major holding is the Ovoot Tolgoi coal mine that is already producing tonnes of coal for China, with production expected to quadruple this year and then double again by 2012, and they have been raising plenty of money, most prominently with the new Hong Kong listing. And yes, the mine is about 40 km (which is less than 30 miles) from the Chinese border and sends its coal across to China via truck right now while stronger infrastructure links are built. Ivanhoe currently owns 65% of SouthGobi, according to the company’s website, so it’s starting to look like more cautious investors might still rea