OK, so the secret is out: Gold is a hot commodity and an even hotter investment among everyone from day traders to Wall Street gurus. The premise behind the gold trade is twofold: One, that economic uncertainty is enough to drive investors out of stocks and into a commodity often seen as a safe haven in uncertain times, and secondly, as an inflationary hedge against a significantly inflated money supply because of the Federal Reserve's direct market interventions over the past few years.
With dozens of possible investment choices in the gold sector, you might think just throwing a dart blindly might net a positive return, but this isn't always the case. Over the past year, gold has risen 25% while Gammon Gold (NYSE: GRS ) panned investors for a 15% loss. Investing in mining companies actually requires you to still do your homework and dig out hidden opportunities -- and yes, those puns are totally intended.
I've done some personal digging and unearthed a gold company that might be poised to outperform if this bull-run in gold continues. Its name is Aurizon Mines (AMEX: AZK ) , and it should be on your radar.
Aurizon is a Canadian miner in the Abitibi region of northwestern Quebec. Its primary mine, Casa Berardi, produced 141,000 ounces of gold in 2010. In December, the company announced plans to expand the build-out of this mine as well as an expected jump in production in 2011 up to 165,000 to 170,000 ounces. Margins should see a significant boost in part because the average spot price of gold has been higher and as the company announced, costs should remain relatively flat year-over-year.
The company has seven other exploration projects under development of which I find two as particularly intriguing. The first, the Joanna mine, has been highlighted extensively by the Fool's resident mining guru, Christopher Barker. Exploration so far indicates that Joanna could provide up to a 60% increase in production by 2013. Also, because of its mines' proximity to those of rival Agnico-Eagle Mines (NYSE: AEM ) , the possibility of a takeover could make sense.
The other area of interest is the Patris property, which the company purchased an interest in in December. Although Aurizon is teasing us with only $600,000 in expenditures planned on Patris in 2011, the chances for a sizable find seem good as other nearby mines have already yielded strong gold deposits.
Aurizon's expansion looks promising with a newly set up credit line and $132 million in net cash. The company has turned a profit every year since 2007 and based on the projected jump in production, is trading at just 16 times forward earnings with the possibility of a significant jump in revenue in the next few years. Only time will tell if Aurizon will glitter, but this should be the basis for continued research into this potential gem.
What's your take on Aurizon Mines? Is the company as good as gold or is it a potential money pit? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!