By Gold Mining Bull | for Seeking Alpha,
Nevsun Resources (NYSEMKT:NSU) is one of my largest holdings but I continue to add more shares here as I feel the stock is undervalued and not getting the respect it deserves by the market. These feelings have only grown stronger as the stock trades at a low valuation and just released positive operational results for 2016. With a 5% dividend yield, strong earnings and the potential to more than triple copper production in the future with its newly acquired Timok project, I think it’s time to buy shares.
Recently, Nevsun reported its operating results for 2016 and I think investors should be pleased with these results despite some short-term challenges with the copper flotation circuit at the Bisha mine. For the full-year 2016, Nevsun says it produced 55.8 million pound of supergene copper, exceeding guidance, with cash costs of just $1.03 per pound sold. The company also achieved its zinc guidance of 90 million pounds produced from primary ore and its gold guidance of 90,000 gold equivalent ounces monetized from stockpiles.
Of course, Nevsun also had other achievements to take note of in 2016. Mainly, the company completed its $365 million acquisition of Reservoir Minerals, obtaining the high-grade gold and copper Timok project in the deal. The move will allow Nevsun to diversify its asset base and expand low-cost production.
As a reminder, at $1,250 an ounce gold and $2.6 per pound copper, this project carries a net present value (post-tax) of $1.28 billion and this does not include an expanded resource and results from a new study that will be coming shortly. Nevsun is now advancing Timok as fast as it can and previously released some outstanding drill results at the Upper-Zone of the project, with these results not included in the current resource base.
And then more recently, Nevsun reported new drill results, which included one massive intersection of 182.3 meters of 4.17% copper and 4.8 g/t gold, among other impressive results. Other high-grade intersections included 46.5 meters of 15.61% copper and 11.29 g/t gold. Investors should look out for a positive new resource and pre-feasibility study, which is expected to come out later this year.
Nevsun is also a good income stock as the company pays a $0.16 annual dividend with shares yielding 5% as of writing. This dividend is covered by Nevsun’s positive cash flow and strong balance sheet, with $200 million in cash and no debt as of last quarter. So, Nevsun is completely debt-free and has plenty of cash.
Still, the key to the Nevsun story is the new Timok project, mainly the Upper Zone, which is 100% owned by Timok, as the lower zone is a 54% JV with Freeport McMoRan (NYSE:FCX). It gives the company huge upside potential as it’s expected to more than triple copper production by 2021. The keys for this year is completion of the aforementioned prefeasibility study, as well as ongoing drilling and development. If all goes as planned, the project could be online by 2020. Positive share-price catalysts this year could be better than expected drill results at Timok, a positive pre-feasibility study with lower projected costs and higher production, as well as higher copper and zinc prices.
In conclusion, Nevsun is a debt-free, profitable copper-zinc producer paying a sustainable 5% dividend, and the company has the potential to triple its production in just a few years. Based on these factors and the positive economics of Timok, shares look very discounted here, so I plan on adding to my already large position.