Jaguar Ready to Pounce?

The traditional name for a jaguar in Brazil translates to painted ounce, and one miner operating there is busy painting those ounces yellow.

Junior gold producer Jaguar Mining (NYSE: JAG  ) reported record revenue and adjusted net earnings for the second quarter, giving investors a golden reason to take a second look at a company that's 30% cheaper today than it was at the end of July.

Revenue for the first half of 2008 rose to $40 million, for a 122% improvement over the comparable 2007 period. Pretax income reversed course from a $2.7 million loss a year earlier to a $7.2 million gain in the latest quarter.

Gold production increased 21% to more than 20,000 ounces at a cash cost of $455 per ounce. Cash costs rose substantially from $328 per ounce a year earlier, though more than half of the rise is attributable to the weakening of the U.S. dollar relative to the Brazilian real. The remaining cost pressure came from lower-grade ores encountered at the Sabara and Turmalina mines, but the cost basis remains comfortably in the ballpark of those that  major producers, including Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM  ) and Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX  ) , recently reported.

Investors appear displeased with the development delays, lower ore grades, and higher production costs that the company reported for the quarter. Still, Jaguar anticipates full-year gold production of about 118,000 to 130,000 ounces and continues to target 700,000 ounces by 2014. The company also broke ground on the next gold mine. But what caught this Fool's eye was that Jaguar doubled its gold reserves to more than 2 million ounces with the completion of two important feasibility studies.

With all of these advances and a swing to profit, how is it that Jaguar shares are languishing at around $7? For his part, President and CEO Daniel Titcomb believes that the market "has not accurately measured the underlying value of Jaguar by discounting [its] relatively low-cost investment and cost profile and tremendous growth program." Indeed, I believe bargains abound throughout the gold patch after a major sell-off, and those bargains include better-known producers such as Agnico-Eagle (NYSE: AEM  ) and Yamana Gold (NYSE: AUY  ) .

Like beleaguered silver miner Coeur d'Alene Mines (NYSE: CDE  ) , Jaguar appears to be trading at a reasonable price relative to reserves. Downtrodden junior miners are inherently risky investments, so please tread carefully. But also don't forget that jaguars in the jungle can be quite stealthy.

Further Foolishness:

The "Gold" tag at Motley Fool CAPS lists 85 companies. Join the CAPS community to separate the Fools' picks from fool's gold. CAPS is free and fun!

Fool contributor Christopher Barker captains yachts and writes about stocks. He can also be found blogging actively and acting Foolishly within the CAPS community under the username TMFSinchiruna. He owns shares of Agnico Eagle, Yamana Gold, and Coeur d'Alene. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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