Junior backed by legendary founder of Gold Corp GG Robert McEwen and by Lukas Lundin is on fire sale at its recent low of 0.4CAD. Cash call in the amount of 11 mln dollars from its J/V partner on its operating mine distracted the market from developing story of Los Azules in Argentina. Value of this deposit even at recent level of Copper prices is estimated by Canaccord to be above 600 mln dollars. Xstrata is a provider of the Northern part of the deposit with highest Copper grade so far. TNR Gold TNR.v has moved into the picture with its claim on 25% back in rights for the property provided by Xtrata. Going further junior asked the court to reconfirm its rights on Escorpio IV adjacent to Los Azules. Xtrata according to Canaccord report has discounted claims from TNR Gold as without merit. Junior seems to be not discouraged and hired QC to fight the case in Vancouver according to latest public filing. Xstrata's dealing with stubborn Junior could put brakes on project development, they are discouraged to produce Feasibility Study by April 2010, when TNR Gold could claim 25%. With active law suit you can not really finance with any bank development of Los Azules on the part of Xtrata. It could be playing in favor of Xstrata, but can not keep McEwen and Lukas happy. With falling Copper prices and diversified operations Xtrata could be not the fastest developer of this asset. It will be interesting to see this year if another players more devoted to South Americas could move into the picture. Among others we like Yamana Gold AUY and their low cost Gold operations with credits from Copper production could be a perfect mix for Los Azules development. Should Gold move up as we expecting Yamana could have necessary leverage to crab promising Copper assets in Americas and play a nice recovery in 2-3 years time developing them into production. This is from recent corporate update of Yamana Gold:
"We will remain focused on demonstrating growth on all measures," continued Mr. Marrone. "We will continue with cost control and containment, with our precious metals and our Americas focus. We would look at add-on acquisitions that show better returns than our current development and exploration portfolio if they also meet the other criteria of stable mining jurisdictions and good infrastructure."
Developments to watch for Minera Andes MAI.to:
1. Cash call situation.
2. Scoping study for Los Azules.
3. Extension of the mineralised trend to the North.