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As this long-term secular bull market for gold and silver continues to march onward, truly major moves from the sector's hottest growth stocks are simply bound to characterize the trend.
Fronteer Gold (AMEX: FRG ) shares have certainly been on the move lately, including a 40% surge in just the past three months. Because it's a stock I've held steadfastly for several years now -- including through a gut-wrenching price collapse in 2008 -- I may be in a position to offer some Foolish context.
Although this company has yet to reach the profitability promised land represented by the key transition from explorer to producer, as a proven locator of substantial gold deposits, Fronteer blazes a trail all its own. Whereas comparably successful explorers like Rubicon Minerals (AMEX: RBY ) might feature one cornerstone development prospect, Fronteer gives Fools a golden ticket to potentially ride several compelling properties into production.
My Foolish colleague Toby Shute has called Fronteer's Long Canyon project "America's Next Top Mine," which is some title for a deposit with only 672,000 ounces in indicated gold resources. Rather than the project's scale, however, Toby correctly honed in on the project's uncommonly robust economics. Even back when $800 was considered a reasonable gold price assumption, Fronteer targeted a payback period of just 1.3 years. At $800 gold, the project's internal rate of return (IRR) was already estimated at a slam-dunk 64%!
Meanwhile, the notional scale of the Long Canyon asset continues to expand, thanks to phenomenal exploration results like the 12.3 grams of gold per ton encountered across a massive 50.4-meter interval in one recent drill hole. Fronteer expects to release an updated mineral resource for Long Canyon early in 2011, and an updated preliminary economic assessment (PEA) thereafter. I expect Long Canyon to grow -- well -- longer still.
Also in the mining-friendly state of Nevada, Fronteer's Northumberland project boasts a 2.44 million-ounce indicated gold resource in its own right, and here again recent drilling results continue to impress. At its Sandman project, Fronteer brought Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM ) in as a joint venture partner, incentivizing Newmont to earn an initial 51% stake in the project by producing a bankable feasibility study that supports a positive construction decision.
In Turkey, Fronteer holds a 40% interest in a joint venture with Teck Resources (NYSE: TCK ) for the Halilgaga project. Exploration drilling there recently returned an incredible 646.5 meters of continuous gold and copper mineralization. That's more than two-thirds the thickness of mineralization touted recently by Ivanhoe Mines (NYSE: IVN ) at its Mongolian mother lode. In the wild-card category, Fronteer is working patiently to cultivate local acceptance of a proposed uranium mine in Labrador, Canada.
I remain long-term bullish on multiple gold explorers within the new Global X Gold Explorers ETF (NYSE: GLDX ) , but Fronteer Gold is a distinct favorite. I encourage Fools to keep Fronteer firmly within their sights (click here). Additionally, bookmarking this link will provide easy, ongoing access to all my musings on the sector.