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2/12/19

Argonaut Gold (AR.to) tries to keep its permitting process quiet (from IKN507)

Which means of course that IKN will make sure you get to read about it. This from last Sunday's edition of The IKN Weekly, IKN507:



Argonaut Gold (AR.to) puts in a permit application for its San Antonio project
Normally a mining company would consider it a proud moment and make plenty of noise about its reaching a significant milestone in the permitting process of any given project, so at first sight the attitude of Argonaut Gold (AR.to) not advertising or making a big fuss its application to the Mexican authorities for the key “change of use of terrain” (cambio de uso de suelo) permit at its San Antonio mine in Baja California Sur last week (17) looks a little odd.

However, once the history of the project, also known as “La Pitalla” from the name of AR.to’s wholly owned local subsidiary, is recalled it makes more sense. This is the same project AR obtained in its 2009 buyout of Pediment Gold when it paid far too much for a controversial project. Local opposition to the project has always been strong and when in 2012 AR tried to push for permitting (via the same Change of Use permit) it came up against an environmental lobby which pushed back so hard that the company, rather than face the inevitable denial, decided to withdraw its application. There are several aspects of San Antonio that have come under fire over the years, not least the fact that it is located at a important juncture in the underground water table and due to that, so say its detractors, would threaten water supply to the nearby agricultural land and towns if going ahead (and for what it’s worth, although the NGOs and anti-mining lobbies can push their objections to extremes on occasions, at this project they do have a good point and one backed up by several academic level studies as well as Mexico’s environmental authority Semarnat.

On news of the application by AR.to, local opposition to the project hit the media channels and made it known to one and all that the application this time was scarcely different to the one back in 2012, that their opposition hadn’t changed an inch, that the corrupt governments that gave the original concessions were no more, that AMLO and his people would never let this become a mine, that they would fight to their last breath to stop the mine, etc etc (18), (and plenty more examples of news reports where they came from). AR.to may want to keep you people up North from hearing about this process, but it’s going to have a tough time keeping the lid on locally. Also, as San Antonio is carried by AR.to at U$114m (U$0.64/share, approx CAD$0.80, it is hardly insignificant for a company with a share price of CAD$1.82 this weekend. Its overall price/book ratio (which also includes such mediocrity as the Magino project) runs at just over 0.5X, so if we go with that as our guide San Antonio would account for 40c of that $1.82 share price. Frankly, not odds I would play.