“This stock made us 1,400% before – and is now on sale again” (sez Casey International Speculator)

Sniffing out a gold producer teased by Louis James -- he says "it's rare to see a small gold producer these days with this much going for it"

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, March 29, 2012

It’s been close to two months since I looked at a teaser for the International Speculator from Doug Casey’s folks, and today they’re circulating another interesting little slew of hints about a promising gold stock … one that apparently made them 1,400% returns 15 years ago and has now again become a bargain.

So what is it?

Well, that’s the age-old question, no? For the answer, we dig through the teaser ad and see what clues Louis James (he edits that newsletter) provides for our hungry Thinkolator. Here’s a taste to get you interested:

“Last month, I spent several days in what was once one of the darkest corners of Africa – the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

“And I’ve brought back a new gold stock recommendation that I think has so much potential that I want to make sure you know about it.

“This company was recommended by Doug Casey in the International Speculator way back in December 1998 – and brought us more than 1,400% within three and a half years.

“They’re still around today, and from recent developments, I’m convinced that they’re now poised to repeat their former success.”

The info about this stock and the ticker will, as you expect, be delivered to you just as soon as you pitch in a thousand smackers (OK, $995) for a subscription. But, as is our wont, we expect that we can do some figgerin’ and thinkolatin’ and get you an answer for much less. Like, free-ish (though we adore our Irregulars, too).

So here are a few more clues from the ad for us, ready for feeding into the Thinkolator’s gaping maw:

“Their flagship project is truly world class, currently tallying 5.6 million ounces of gold measured and indicated (M&I)….

“The ore they are mining now is basically gold-rich dirt that they don’t even have to blast or crush – they just scoop up the dirt and run it through the plant. That means the company will likely maintain very low-cost production for years….

“… first mine is now up and running, and on track to produce 120,000 ounces of gold per year ….

“… four major gold projects, with a total gold resource of 11.62 million ounces – so far.”

And the company’s mines, or at least one of them, are in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) — which is one of those countries where fear of government confiscation or plain old war are very real, with examples from very recent memory and a security situation that most of the world considers quite unstable (though James said that he thinks things are looking up, with the government “respecting the rule of law,” and he thinks the company, though risky, is trading at too much of a “DRC Discount”).

So who is our little miner that Casey first pegged as an early exploration play back in 1998 and is now a “medium cap gold explorer?”

All those hints and clues go into the Thinkolator, process on “cud chew” for a while, and our answer comes out nice and clean and sparkly: This is Banro Corp (BAA in both Canada and NY)

Banro is indeed a miner and explorer in the DRC, with one mine (Twangiza) that has started up and should just be hitting its 10,000 ounces/month stride now, and a second mine that they think can almost double that 120,000 ounces per year rate of production by the end of 2013, along with two other exploration projects that aren’t as far along. Here’s how they describe themselves on their website:

“Banro is a Canadian gold company with production from its first gold project, Twangiza, which is located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Banro is also focused on the development of its second open pit project Namoya and is undertaking exploration on two further fully permitted and licensed projects, Kamituga and Lugushwa. All Banro’s current projects lie along the 210 km long Twangiza-Namoya gold belt in the South Kivu and Maniema provinces of the DRC.

“Banro’s Twangiza oxide mine began production in October 2011 and is projected to produce some 120,000 ounces of gold during its first full year of operation. Led by a proven management team with extensive gold and African experience, Banro’s business model is to focus on the substantial and open pit-able oxide resources it has delineated to date. Banro has identified 6.74 million ounces of Measured and Indicated Resources, plus Inferred Resources of 4.59 million ounces along this highly-prospective gold belt.”

They did some debt financing earlier this month around the time that they filed their latest technical report, which to me usually indicates more confidence than equity financing (bankers tend to be more demanding than gold stock speculators) … as a result, perhaps, the stock is a bit off of it’s highs of earlier in the year (though that dip has also coincided with a bit of weakness for a few weeks in the gold price).

And yes, Twangiza does have measured and indicated resources of 5.6 million ounces (only a million ounces, roughly, are proven and probable reserves), and the total resource, including inferred resource, of all of their assets does come in at exactly 11.62 million ounces … so that’s a lovely confirmation that this is the exact pick being teased.

Which doesn’t mean it’s a good stock, of course, or that it will make you money — just that Louis James likes this speculation for his Casey subscribers. I have proven again and again my inability to pick junior gold miners (though this one is reaching “mid size”, with a market cap of nearly a billion dollars), so I’ll just say that the resources sound promising, existing production is a good sign, the costs look low, and the DRC is, indeed, probably still scaring investors away.

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I know there are many, many more gold mining speculators out there in the great Gumshoe Universe, so if you’ve got an opinion on Banro feel free to let it out with a comment below.

And if you’ve ever subscribed to Casey’s International Speculator and have an opinion on Louis James and his picks, please click here to review the newsletter for your fellow investors — thanks!

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