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Fix your gaze upon any segment of the global mining industry, and you're bound to find a long-term growth story that is expected to play out even if economic projections drift downward. I have devoted much effort to bringing an array of quality mining stocks to the attention of my readers, and I continue to perceive significant investment opportunities in the space; but today I wish to draw your attention to an entirely different way to approach the mining industry.
Miners can't mine a thing before they locate and quantify economic reserves, and that's where drilling services provider Major Drilling (OTC: MJDLF) comes into play. Operating worldwide with 547 drill teams in 22 different countries, Major Drilling is ideally positioned to grow alongside global demand for exploration drilling.
We have a powerful global supercycle for coal in the works, as major miner Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU ) has repeatedly stated. Epic trailing performances by precious standouts like Eldorado Gold (NYSE: EGO ) and Silver Wheaton (NYSE: SLW ) underscore an incredible secular bull market for gold and silver that shows no signs of losing strength. Gold exploration alone currently accounts for some 48% of Major Drilling's revenue. And a copper market that's struggling to identify sufficient sources of future supply continues to bode well for small-cap marvel Taseko Mines (AMEX: TGB ) . With all of those bullish factors in place, exploration budgets have been ramping up dramatically across multiple segments of the mining industry, and I view Major Drilling as a clear, long-term beneficiary.
Every great and sustained investment trend reveals enticing ancillary opportunities as it unfolds, and the ongoing commodity boom is no exception. Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) understood that well when the company dug deeper into the mining space with its acquisition of Bucyrus, while remaining competitor Joy Global's (Nasdaq: JOYG ) stock has already grown about 1,000% over the past decade! Meanwhile, over a similar time frame, Major Drilling's shares have appreciated more than 3,000%, but even after that remarkable rise I perceive some strong upside potential in the stock.
Major Drilling unearthed some seriously high-grade earnings in its recent quarterly report for its fiscal first quarter of 2012. The company enjoyed a 50% revenue surge, which combined with a monster gross profit margin of 31.4% to yield a 250% increase in net earnings. The company increased its dividend, and now yields about 1.25%. Following a noteworthy retreat since April 2011 alongside many resource-related stocks, I view Major Drilling shares as an attractive opportunity that warrants Foolish consideration. I initiated a small position within my own portfolio last month, and I look forward to tracking this enticing ancillary story to the strong trends in global demand for metals and energy.