Author Topic: ALS.TO - Altius Minerals  (Read 1781577 times)

Ross812

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Re: ALS.TO - Altius Minerals
« Reply #970 on: January 03, 2013, 08:01:53 AM »
In regards to the comparison to other mines, I have read that there are issues with the quality of the iron concentrate at Alderon's upcoming mine.  According to the articles I have read, there are higher levels of Manganese than is standard and as such it has to be sold offshore as North American plants won't process it.  The articles also suggested that there could be a $15 price reduction as a result of the quality.  However, this would seem to contract Hebei's agreement to purchase 60% of the product at a 5% discount to spot.  What is your guys take on this?  Will the remaining 40% go for a lower price?

I would like to read the articles you read about manganese content in the Kami ore. Can you provide a link?

Here is what I came up with earlier:
Smelter deductions as far as I can tell don’t really come into play with respect to iron ore. Smelter credits/deductions are given to compensate the smelter for waste above a certain benchmark. For iron smelting this is usually in the form of credits or deductions above an agreed upon %Fe. The factory has to use the same amount of energy regardless if 58% Fe or 64% Fe ore is used and the recovery from 58% Fe ore is lower and waste higher so a credit/debit is given in the form of $5/%Fe to compensate. Sulfur and Manganese are not smelter deductions because they are actually incorporated into the steel (not a waste product).  Quality deductions may come into play. Most European iron ore contracts I could find state a max allowed sulfur % at 0.05. As far as Manganese goes, 0.4-1.1% is desirable. Alderon ore will have 1.6% Manganese and .053% sulfur which means it will probably be blended with lower manganese/sulfer/fe content ores during sintering. The ore as-is is acceptable to make steel in China, but blending a lower quality 60% Fe Indian ore with Alderon’s 65.5% Fe ore would create a product that could be sold in Europe. Manganese does not start affecting the quality of the steel produced until ~4%. 65.5% Fe 1.6% Mn or can only produce 2.45% Mn steel. Sulfur and the grain size distribution are the two main detractors to this ore’s marketability.

The grain size distribution means the ore would have to be formed pellets before it could be used in North American electric arc furnaces. The quality factors make the Ore unusable in the US without blending sintering then pelleting the ore. There is really no reason to do this because the US already has an ample supply of DSO and acceptable ore pellets from Canada. The grain size distribution is not a problem in China as they sinter and use blast furnaces. China is primarily concerned with the %Fe. Chinese iron plants can buy cheap ore with low sulfur and low manganese from India. The problem with Indian ore is it has a low Fe content 56-60%. This is solved when blending it with hi Fe Canadian ore.

Kami ore is also 65.5% Fe which means it would be priced at a premium to the 62% Platt price. This is about +$5-5.50/%. Which means Kami ore could fetch a price at Platt + $17.5. Hebei was smart when they locked in a price at 95% Platt. Manganese levels do not particularly matter when selling to China. Sulfur levels are just outside the range of what is acceptable in Europe (6% too high), but they are not selling to Europe anyway. Prices for ore are negotiated directly; Hebei gets preferential treatment at 95% Platt. I don’t think other companies are going to get this sweet heart deal. I would look for Platt + $5-17 for everyone else.
Quote
Hebei is not stupid. They would not have negotiated a price of 95% Platt if they could get Platt - $15. The Platt price is based off 62% Fe. Alderon ore is 65.5% which would fetch a premium of Platt + $5/%Fe if pricing gets really competitive. Using Platt for the product price assumption seems pretty reasonable and a little conservative.
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no_free_lunch

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Re: ALS.TO - Altius Minerals
« Reply #971 on: January 03, 2013, 05:38:23 PM »
Quote
I would like to read the articles you read about manganese content in the Kami ore. Can you provide a link?

http://glennchan.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/iron-ore-miners-mainly-in-the-labrador-trough/

The article has a link to a scotiabank analysis of Alderon as well.  Well the link is purportedly from scotia, it's actually hosted on a different site which is kind of strange.  In it, they include the $25/MT transport cost to China so they are assuming the pricing is on a delivered basis.

http://www.grandich.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Iron-Ore-Report-July-2012-ADV-only.pdf

The transport cost is unfortunate but the pricing might actually be higher than spot based on these comments:

Quote
• Hebei will purchase 60% of the annual production

up to a maximum of 4.8Mt of the first 8.0Mt of

iron ore concentrate produced at the monthly

average price per DMT for iron ore sinter feed

fines quoted by Platts Iron Ore Index (including

additional quoted premium for iron content

greater than 62%
) less a 5% discount.

• Hebei will also have the option to purchase

additional tonnage at a price equal to the Platts

Price, without any such discount.

Quote is from page 8 in this document:

http://www.alderonironore.com/_resources/presentations/ADV_PPT.pdf

ItsAValueTrap

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Re: ALS.TO - Altius Minerals
« Reply #972 on: January 03, 2013, 05:52:50 PM »
Quote
Hebei is not stupid. They would not have negotiated a price of 95% Platt if they could get Platt - $15.

I think what will happen is this:

Hebei gets the Platt benchmark price
They may pay extra if the Fe% is high, as specified in the benchmark.
There will likely be quality deductions as outlined in the Kami technical report.  Maybe it's $15/ton... who knows.
In general, deductions are based on the level of unwanted elements in the ore.  Over the life of the mine, the quality of the ore will vary.  By using a variable price, the smelter will pay less for bad one.  Using a fixed price would be stupid... otherwise the mine could sell some really crappy ore to the buyer and they could adjust the processing circuits to output more concentrate at the expense of delivering lower quality concentrate.

2- The other question is whether or not you should trust Alderon's management, BBA, etc.  The mining world is full of people who overpromise and underdeliver.  I would take the Kami technical report with a huge grain of salt considering what happened with BBA's technical report on Bloom Lake.  The economics of the project may not be as good as outlined in the technical report.

There is (a small amount of) metallurgy risk.  The concentrate may have lower than 65% Fe.  Sometimes we don't know how well a processing plant will perform until it is actually built... look at the failure that is Vale's Goro project (e.g. acid spills, environmental damage, etc.).  What happens on a bench or pilot scale doesn't necessarily extrapolate to production scale.  If you want to fudge the economics of a project, you would make minor tweaks to your metallurgy assumptions.  Of course, the Goro project is an extreme example where technological risk was very high because that type of processing is cutting/bleeding edge.

3- You can read skim through this book if you are masochistic:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/23475626/Wills-Mineral-Processing-Technology

Basically...
- What happens on a bench or pilot scale doesn't necessarily extrapolate to production scale.
- Mineral processing engineers have to optimize for getting rid of unwanted elements versus not getting rid of valuable ore.  Mineral processing techniques usually remove a lot of waste and a small amount of wanted ore... you have to find the right balance between getting rid of unwanted waste and throwing away less ore.

Quote
http://glennchan.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/iron-ore-miners-mainly-in-the-labrador-trough/
That's my blog by the way ;)
« Last Edit: January 03, 2013, 05:54:35 PM by ItsAValueTrap »
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ItsAValueTrap

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Re: ALS.TO - Altius Minerals
« Reply #973 on: January 03, 2013, 06:00:58 PM »
Quote
The article has a link to a scotiabank analysis of Alderon as well.  Well the link is purportedly from scotia, it's actually hosted on a different site which is kind of strange.
Technically those analyst reports are the intellectual property of the firm that put it out.  Sometimes there are bootleg copies floating around because there are people who want to pump a stock.  Sometimes you will find copies of analyst reports hosted (presumably with permission) on a junior's website.

Of course the analysts generally suck up to juniors because the analyst's investment bank may raise capital for the junior and collect big underwriting fees.  So I never trust analysts.  There may be academic studies that show that you should do the opposite of analyst recommendations.  Check out this book:
http://www.amazon.com/Confessions-Wall-Street-Analyst-Information/dp/0060747706
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Dazel

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Re: ALS.TO - Altius Minerals
« Reply #974 on: January 04, 2013, 06:18:18 AM »
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/alderon-release-feasibility-study-kami-110000386.html

http://www.metalbulletin.com/Article/3136976/Iron-ore-and-coking-coal/Spot-635-Fe-iron-ore-prices-jump-13-this-week.html


Prices are now above $150....this is extremely positive for all involved in iron ore...Alderon's timing on the feasibility study has worked out very well.

Dazel.

Dazel

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Re: ALS.TO - Altius Minerals
« Reply #975 on: January 04, 2013, 06:40:40 AM »
Its a value Trap,


I enjoy your posts...so please do not take this the wrong way...

To take Cliffs production costs for a mine "bloom lake"  where they have had nothing but operational troubles and a change in strategy for a couple of quarters is "wrong". I looked at your blog...you have asia pacific production costs at half of what they are. Your timing of your report is at the crash point of the iron ore market...your assumptions are on prices that are unsustainable for producers in the market globally not just the Labrador Trough.

Example of the Alderon bash was that they used $115 in their PEA...instead of the market price of $135 at the time of production....
"which may indicate that they think the price of iron ore is coming down over time"....should they use $170 for the feasibility study if they think it will go up from the current $155?

Sounds a bit off does it not?

As for the bloom lake and Alderon bashing you have been doing...I will give you the benefit of the doubt as you and everyone else that joined the crowd in being wrong on iron ore pricing in August to October...

We are talking about nothing when prices are this high...bloom lake production costs will come down and Alderon will be a successful mine.

Sorry have to call a spade a spade...you are wrong on bloom lake and Alderon...

And in your genius you will make a fortune on Altius!!!!
« Last Edit: January 04, 2013, 06:42:26 AM by Dazel »

biaggio

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Re: ALS.TO - Altius Minerals
« Reply #976 on: January 04, 2013, 07:21:15 AM »
Dazel, ItsaValueTrap, love your posts + recent debate- please continue.

This seems to be the case where nobody knows exactly how the mine will turn out i.e unknown & unknowable- it seems like the current valuation gives a lot of room for error.

I can see both your points + ALS still working out well for all of us i.e heads we win, tails we don t lose too much + probably win still -just a smaller amount




Dazel

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Re: ALS.TO - Altius Minerals
« Reply #977 on: January 04, 2013, 08:28:37 AM »

I am a business man.

So I will give you a hypothetical question on your business "bloom lake" mine.

You have made a large sum of earnings last year " 2011" because you are very profitable...

You have some operational trouble in your expansion of the mine "capital cost"....

For your 2012 year where you see that the iron ore price drops precipitously making your expansion plan that has operational issues look pretty bad...how do you book it for tax purposes?

As capital expenditure that depreciate over 25 years or do you book it as operational production cost for the 2012 and incur the full tax expenses of it in 2012?

If you are a business man you know the answer to that question. That would inflate the production cost now even though most of the work went towards expansion or capital cost for future production. It is smart business and tax strategy but it makes short term productions cost look bad...however, future production cost will fall and look stellar...making you look great. Analysts don't understand business because they have models and straightline thinking.

Anyone involved in business knows that quarterly and even yearly numbers can be massaged how you want them...and why everyone happens to hit their numbers..by a penny! That is nonsense...it is the longterm "cash production" that matters.

It's a value Trap.....I agree  with you that 80% of juniors are a ponzi scheme....producers are business people.

Dazel.




Green King

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Re: ALS.TO - Altius Minerals
« Reply #978 on: January 04, 2013, 10:47:04 AM »

I am a business man.

So I will give you a hypothetical question on your business "bloom lake" mine.

You have made a large sum of earnings last year " 2011" because you are very profitable...

You have some operational trouble in your expansion of the mine "capital cost"....

For your 2012 year where you see that the iron ore price drops precipitously making your expansion plan that has operational issues look pretty bad...how do you book it for tax purposes?

As capital expenditure that depreciate over 25 years or do you book it as operational production cost for the 2012 and incur the full tax expenses of it in 2012?

If you are a business man you know the answer to that question. That would inflate the production cost now even though most of the work went towards expansion or capital cost for future production. It is smart business and tax strategy but it makes short term productions cost look bad...however, future production cost will fall and look stellar...making you look great. Analysts don't understand business because they have models and straightline thinking.

Anyone involved in business knows that quarterly and even yearly numbers can be massaged how you want them...and why everyone happens to hit their numbers..by a penny! That is nonsense...it is the longterm "cash production" that matters.

It's a value Trap.....I agree  with you that 80% of juniors are a ponzi scheme....producers are business people.

Dazel.
Great hypothesis and all.
How do you prove that is what happened ?
GK

Dazel

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Re: ALS.TO - Altius Minerals
« Reply #979 on: January 04, 2013, 11:37:24 AM »

GK,

Its not a hypothesis...it's what I would do if it was my business...they would be idiots if I could prove it! Cliffs shuttered production in the U.S where production costs are much lower....only time will tell at bloom lake what the production cost will look like...but a couple of quarters is ridiculous to speculate over production costs in a mine or any business. My bet is costs drop significantly for a number of reasons...this being one of them...and when that happens and they get too low...they will also be wrong! It is what they average out to be over time that matters.

I have no interest in Cliffs...

Dazel.