Rubicon Minerals (NYSEMKT: RBY) controls over 100 square kilometers of prime exploration land located in Ontario's prolific Red Lake District. This area is world renowned for its high-grade and long lived assets. No company knows this better than Goldcorp (NYSE:GG). Amidst its portfolio of quality gold mines, Red Lake is the top producer, yielding just under 500,000 ounces in 2013. Within the High Grade Zone, Goldcorp is mining at 2 ounces per tonne! Geologists and financiers scour the Earth, spending billions to find gold deposits this rich.
The acquisition would consolidate the Red Lake District
Rubicon's land package surrounds Goldcorp's Red Lake property on the west, north, and eastern boundaries. The next multi-ounce per tonne ore is likely to come from somewhere within the yellow and pink area below.
If Goldcorp is interested in acquiring near-term production and exploration acreage on its home turf, Rubicon would be the obvious choice.
Granted, Phoenix is no Malartic...
But it doesn't come with the same price tag either. Compared to Goldcorp's $3.6 billion offer for Osisko (NASDAQOTH: OSKFF) and its Canadian Malartic Mine complex, Rubicon would be more digestible, at just 1/10th the price.
What attracted Goldcorp to Osisko? A low political risk jurisdiction (Quebec), the potential for operational synergies, a low-cost production profile, immediate cash flow, vast reserves, and exploration upside. Oh yeah, Goldcorp also thought it was paying a price that would be accretive to earnings straight away. On paper, the deal looked like a home run, but it was a big swing. If gold prices continue falling, as many pundits seem to be predicting, Goldcorp might have regretted not maintaining its low debt levels and strong liquidity position. Judging by the upward motion, shareholders seemed to express a collective sigh of relief when Goldcorp announced it would not be raising its offer, refusing to get into a bidding war for Osisko.
Rubicon would be a mere tuck-in for Goldcorp
Minus the production (admittedly a big subtraction), Rubicon's Red Lake assets offer the synergies, low-risk political jurisdiction, exploration upside, and low-cost profile that fit Goldcorp's acquisition mold. For Rubicon's leadership team it would be a homecoming. CEO Mike Lalonde and VP Daniel Labine were previously senior operators for Goldcorp, making things happen at the ground and underground levels. Could the integration process be any smoother?
Consider any financing challenges solved
The Phoenix Gold mine is basically 75% built. Without any hiccups, Rubicon could be pouring gold by mid-2015. With today's resource base, which will undoubtedly expand, over two million ounces will be produced over a 13-year mine life. Upon achieving commercial production, the Phoenix mine is expected to generate 165,300 ounces of gold annually at an all-in sustaining cost of $870 per ounce. Having $3.8 billion liquid, Goldcorp is more than capable of crossing the T's and dotting the I's.
You think Rubicon's shareholders would settle for a 33% premium?
If so, Goldcorp could acquire the Phoenix mine for about what it costs to build, picking up the 100 square kilometer Red Lake package for a pittance of its underlying value. Thanks to the depressed market for gold stocks, this opportunity is available.
As a shareholder, I say Goldcorp should act now.