Following on from our recent update on Adriatic Metals Serbian acquisition, we share some thoughts on the short term outlook for Adriatic.
Adriatic aim to complete a Pre-feasibility study ('PFS') on the Vares Project by September 2020 and a Definitive Feasibility Study ('DFS') by January 2021; having previously completed a Scoping Study on the project in late 2019. The Scoping Study had highlighted the world-class economics of the Vares project with the key metrics being:
Post Tax NPV8 of USD$916
Post Tax IRR of 107%
Capex payback period of 8 months
LOM Capex of US$178 million (inc. 30% contingency)
Since the completion of the Scoping Study, we note that Adriatic have made material progress on a number of fronts. The company have successfully discovered mineralisation outside the maiden Mineral Resource Estimate ('MRE') area on which the Scoping Study was based on. Phase 2 metallurgical testwork has led to materially better outcomes than those assumed in the Scoping Study itself with the new copper concentrate proposed being 95% payable vs only 30% assumed in the study. We estimate that a revised MRE has the potential to increase ore tonnage by at least 25% at a similar grade as the initial MRE. We estimate the combination of the increased MRE and payable metal may lead to a larger NPV8 figure in the PFS relative to the previous Scoping Study. We estimate that an NPV8 of circa USD$1.2 billion (AUD$1.85 billion, 0.65 FX) using similar metal price assumptions as assumed in the Scoping Study, may be achieved in the PFS.
As such we consider Adriatic to be extremely undervalued trading at a fully diluted value of around AUD$250 million which is only circa 14% of our estimated NPV8 figure for the PFS. We have noted in the past that high-quality projects generally trade or transact at small discounts to NPV - HERE.
Adriatic's management team are directly aligned with shareholders via their substantial shareholdings in Adriatic. They have a track record of obtaining maximum value from funds spent and being cost-conscious evidenced by the recent disclosure that they are running $2 million under budget for the PFS works. There is a strong incentive to reduce dilution for the existing shareholders and preserve the value of their own holdings. Adriatic have disclosed that they are funded until the completion of the BFS and may require additional capital at some stage next year.
We believe that it may be prudent to sell a royalty over the Vares project after the completion of the BFS. This would minimise dilution for existing shareholders given the present large value differential, provide a large capital injection and cover a large portion of the project's CAPEX requirement.
A net smelter royalty ('NSR') is a very common form of royalty in the mineral space. Usually, it is calculated as gross revenue less transport, insurance, and refining costs. A rough rule of thumb we like to use is that a 1% NSR is equivalent to a 4-5% working interest in the royalty property.
An NSR owner benefits in a number of ways:
Some factors that determine the value of an NSR are:
A recent NSR transaction was where the market-leading royalty company, Franco-Nevada, created a 1% NSR over Solgold's Alpala project in exchange for US$100 million. This project is at a similar stage to Adriatic with a PEA/scoping study having been completed in 2019. The NSR was sold over this project to fund DFS study costs vs Adriatic that would require capital to bring the Vares project into production. An NSR created over the Vares project would be highly sought after and highly valued given the world-class nature of the orebody, project financial metrics and near-production status; and we believe may attract a similar valuation as the Solgold royalty.
Once the Vares project is producing, surplus cash flows could be invested in the development and exploration of its numerous brownfield and greenfield prospects across Bosnia and Serbia. We feel there is clear potential for Adriatic to evolve into a mid-tier miner once Vares is developed. The recently acquired Serbian assets provide another valuable expansion opportunity in addition to the clear exploration potential remaining in Bosnia
We believe the key Catalysts over the short term remain:
Disclaimer: This article does not take into account your investment objectives, particular needs or financial situation; and should not be construed as advice in any way. The author holds shares in Adriatic Metals (ADT).