Shares in Panther Metals PLC (LON:PALM) have almost doubled in value since they were listed in London in January this year. What’s more, allowing that there was a bit of a bit of post-IPO selling, they’ve more than tripled in value since February, the last point in time at which we can say the market was unaffected by coronavirus.
Because, allowing for the coronavirus then trashing the value of everything in March, and Panther’s shares have risen almost sixfold.
This may seem like a rollercoaster ride, but it isn’t. Because following the coronavirus nadir, the 1.85p hit in mid-March, there’s been only one clear direction of travel for shares in Panther Metals: up.
The shares are currently trading at 11p, supported by three key factors.
The first is the market’s awareness of the quality of Panther’s team. Darren Hazelwood, the driving force behind the company, is the major shareholder and a man with huge experience in natural resources. Chief operating officer Mitchell Smith runs Global Energy Metals (CVE:GEMC) over in Canada and has extensive capital markets experience. Non-executive director Kerim Sener is well known in the UK for having built up and made an unarguable success of Ariana Resources (LON:AAU), while the company’s other non-executive and competent person Nick O’Reilly cut his teeth amongst other places at SRK Consulting.
So, that’s one tick.
The second is the positioning of the portfolio of assets.
The company has gold properties in Canada, and gold properties in Australia. With the possible exception of certain US states, it’s hard to imagine any better jurisdictions anywhere in which to be advancing gold projects. And gold itself looks like just about the best asset for any junior company to be in at the moment, having proved once again this year, that in time of crisis it’s the place to be.
The current gold price is just shy of US$1,900, as investors have sold down below key supports amidst a general coronavirus-related market rout this week. But remember what happened last time there was a major stampede for the exits back in March? – the gold price initially fell in line with equities, as investors looked to cover losses incurred elsewhere. But once that initial wave of selling was over, the bulls returned in considerable force. Will it be the same pattern this time round?
That’s hard to know, but what is clear is that if you’d asked most new Panther Metals investors back in January whether they’d be happy with US$1,870 gold, they’d have bitten your arm off.
So it’s a propitious time to be in gold, and especially gold in safe and workable jurisdictions.
Which brings us to the third key reason why the market has been supporting Panther in recent months: the assets themselves.
Here, both in Canada and in Australia, there has been much progress in recent months, in spite of certain difficulties involved with creating coronavirus workarounds.
“If I had had targets in mind, we would have succeeded this year,” says Darren Hazelwood.
“We’ve got good numbers at Big Bear in Canada, and the magnetic survey there has thrown up 38 or 39 high priority targets. But all the properties this year have thrown up interesting information. On Annaburroo in Australia we’ve got four individual exploration areas under one licence and we were never expecting that.”
It all means that Panther is likely to close out 2020 in far better shape than anyone might have predicted when the coronavirus chaos was at its height and, more importantly, very well positioned to start creating real value in 2021.
The company is funded through to the spring of next year, according to Hazelwood, and will be able to afford all currently planned work programmes.
And, after this year’s gathering of target data, that ought to amount to significant drilling, both in Australia and Canada. The company will prepare the way in opening months of 2021 with significant aeromagnetic surveys, and after that the rigs will start to turn.
And at that point, with news flowing on a regular basis and hard data on grades and widths becoming readily available, it seems highly likely that the market will deliver yet another positive verdict on Panther.