Making it to the Top: Listing Requirements From Junior Explorer to Global Mining Company
Only a few companies ever meet the listing requirements of global stock exchanges, but the effort to list can be worth it.
In 2019, Newmont produced 6.3 million ounces of gold and earned a net income of $2.9B and returned $1.4B to shareholders in dividends.
This infographic from Corvus Gold looks at the requirements and stages a mining company could face along its journey from a mineral prospect to a global mining company.
The Odds of Discovery
Mineral exploration companies use drill bits that range in diameter from 76-320 millimeters to explore the subsurface. The deepest drill hole is the Kola Superdeep Borehole which measured 12.2 kilometers (7.6 miles). However, most mineral exploration companies rarely drill longer than a kilometer.
Finding a gold deposit, let alone an economic one is akin to using a hair to find a needle in the proverbial haystack. To mitigate this, a typical junior mining company improves its odds by building a portfolio of properties that show potential through hints of gold and other minerals revealed from surface sampling, aerial magnetic surveys, and historic data.
Then, to dig even deeper, a company can raise capital privately for the properties that show potential. Valuations of these mineral properties are largely subjective and difficult to establish. But if the company would like to raise further capital for more expensive exploration, it can tap into stock exchanges.
Canada’s Toronto (TSX) and Venture Stock Exchanges (TSXV) sit at the center of global mining finance. Over the past five years, companies listed on TSX and TSXV completed 53% of all global mining financings, amounting to $44 billion through 6,500 transactions.
Even an idiot can make a great discovery and drive a stock from three cents to three bucks, and those guys wouldn’t get funded privately. It has to be public.
– Ross Beaty, Founder, Chairman Equinox Gold
Risk Capital: TSX-V Listing Requirements
In 2020, there were 606 companies on the TSXV that have a gold property, or a property that showed potential to host a gold deposit. These companies met a minimum set of requirements to access public markets for further funding.
At this stage, a listed mining company will deploy capital to conduct geological sampling and drilling to produce technical studies that could improve the confidence of the presence of a mineable gold deposit.
If this round of work results in an improved understanding of a gold property, a company can move from Tier 2 to Tier 1 on the TSXV, allowing it to raise further capital to increase the scope of technical and economic studies.
TSX Venture Listing Requirements:
|TSXV Tier 1||TSXV Tier 2|
|Recommended Work Program||
|Net Tangible Assets||
|Management and Board||
At this point, a company should have a good understanding of the costs and methods to produce a profitable operation or the value of a resource. However, early investors take their profits and new ones are needed to take a mineral property to a mining operation.
One drill hole changes the game. It’s very hard to decide who gets to make it and who doesn’t. It’s a big gate, and yet very few make it through. But you have to let them try.
– Lukas Lundin, Chairman, Lundin Group
Financing Growth: TSX Listing Requirements
To develop and construct a mine, mining companies require larger amounts for development and construction, which requires a different class of investor and stricter requirements.
In 2020, there were 133 gold companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, whose primary metal production is gold and/or own a gold property. These companies meet or exceed a set of listing requirements set out by the exchange.
The TSX has three categories of listing for mining issuers: TSX Exempt Issuers, TSX Non-Exempt Producer and TSX Non-Exempt Exploration and Development Stage. These requirements of these categories reflect the stage of development of the issuer at the time of listing. Exempt issuers are more advanced and so subject to less stringent reporting requirements.
TSX Listing Requirements:
|TSX non-exempt (Exploration & Development)||TSX non-exempt (Producer)||TSX exempt|
|Recommended Work Program||
|Working Capital and Financial Resources||
|Net Tangible Assets||
|Management and Boards||
|Distribution, Market Capitalization and Public Float||
At this stage, bankers and lawyers set up the financing of a project based on geological and economic studies. Good financing terms can enhance the potential value of a mineral deposit and attract investors.
But sometimes, just this one listing is not enough to allow a company or project to meet its full potential.
Expanding Shareholders: NASDAQ and NYSE Listing Requirements
Companies that require more capital or to meet corporate governance rules in the countries they work in can seek a listing on additional stock exchange markets outside of their home countries. There are several benefits of additional listings:
- Gain exposure and access to more capital
- Help in improving a company’s structure of corporate governance
- Attract more and better talent
- Improves the reputation of a company
The NASDAQ and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) can improve access to the American market. There are only 76 gold mining companies listed on the NASDAQ and NYSE exchanges.
|Pre-tax income||$0 to $750,000||$2,000,000|
|Market Capitalization||$0 to $75,000,000||$2,000,000|
|Total Assets and Revenue||$0 to $75,000,000||n/a|
|Market Value of Public Float||$3,000,000 to $20,000,000||$100,000,000 or $40,000,000 (if IPO)|
|Stockholders Equity||$4,000,000||No more than $60,000,000|
|Minimum Share Price||$2 to $3||$4|
|Operating History||0 to 2 years||n/a|
Increased trading, world-class investors, and a well-run operation can deliver a mining company a lot of prestige and generate significant returns.
Ultimately, the continued success of the company will rely on its ability to maintain production and continue to deliver gold to the market. This all comes back to a company’s ability to find, develop, and exploit new gold deposits.
I just want to remind you that the real wealth in the mining industry is generated by FINDING something.
– Robert Friedland, Executive Chairman, Ivanhoe Mines
Building Mineral Wealth to Last
The project development timeline and mine lifecycle is a very long one. It can take decades to move from discovery to production. Each stage requires different amounts of capital and investors.
The odds of building a mine are stacked against a junior mining company—but for the few that grow through the listing process requirements, they can become the next great investment.
A mineral discovery is rare, but a successful gold mining company is even rarer.
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Mapped: The 10 Largest Gold Mines in the World, by Production
Gold mining companies produced over 3,500 tonnes of gold in 2021. Where in the world are the largest gold mines?
The 10 Largest Gold Mines in the World, by Production
Gold mining is a global business, with hundreds of mining companies digging for the precious metal in dozens of countries.
But where exactly are the largest gold mines in the world?
The above infographic uses data compiled from S&P Global Market Intelligence and company reports to map the top 10 gold-producing mines in 2021.
Editor’s Note: The article uses publicly available global production data from the World Gold Council to calculate the production share of each mine. The percentages slightly differ from those calculated by S&P.
The Top Gold Mines in 2021
The 10 largest gold mines are located across nine different countries in North America, Oceania, Africa, and Asia.
Together, they accounted for around 13 million ounces or 12% of global gold production in 2021.
|Rank||Mine||Location||Production (ounces)||% of global production|
|#1||Nevada Gold Mines||🇺🇸 U.S.||3,311,000||2.9%|
|#5||Pueblo Viejo||🇩🇴 Dominican Republic||814,000||0.7%|
|#6||Kibali||🇨🇩 Democratic Republic of the Congo||812,000||0.7%|
|#8||Lihir||🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea||737,082||0.6%|
|#9||Canadian Malartic||🇨🇦 Canada||714,784||0.6%|
Share of global gold production is based on 3,561 tonnes (114.5 million troy ounces) of 2021 production as per the World Gold Council.
In 2019, the world’s two largest gold miners—Barrick Gold and Newmont Corporation—announced a historic joint venture combining their operations in Nevada. The resulting joint corporation, Nevada Gold Mines, is now the world’s largest gold mining complex with six mines churning out over 3.3 million ounces annually.
Uzbekistan’s state-owned Muruntau mine, one of the world’s deepest open-pit operations, produced just under 3 million ounces, making it the second-largest gold mine. Muruntau represents over 80% of Uzbekistan’s overall gold production.
Only two other mines—Grasberg and Olimpiada—produced more than 1 million ounces of gold in 2021. Grasberg is not only the third-largest gold mine but also one of the largest copper mines in the world. Olimpiada, owned by Russian gold mining giant Polyus, holds around 26 million ounces of gold reserves.
Polyus was also recently crowned the biggest miner in terms of gold reserves globally, holding over 104 million ounces of proven and probable gold between all deposits.
How Profitable is Gold Mining?
The price of gold is up by around 50% since 2016, and it’s hovering near the all-time high of $2,000/oz.
That’s good news for gold miners, who achieved record-high profit margins in 2020. For every ounce of gold produced in 2020, gold miners pocketed $828 on average, significantly higher than the previous high of $666/oz set in 2011.
With inflation rates hitting decade-highs in several countries, gold mining could be a sector to watch, especially given gold’s status as a traditional inflation hedge.
The 50 Minerals Critical to U.S. Security
This graphic lists all minerals that are deemed critical to both the economic and national security of the United States.
The 50 Minerals Critical to U.S. Security
The U.S. aims to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 as part of its commitment to tackling climate change, but might be lacking the critical minerals needed to achieve its goals.
The American green economy will rely on renewable sources of energy like wind and solar, along with the electrification of transportation. However, local production of the raw materials necessary to produce these technologies, including solar panels, wind turbines, and electric vehicles, is lacking. Understandably, this has raised concerns in Washington.
In this graphic, based on data from the U.S. Geological Survey, we list all of the minerals that the government has deemed critical to both the economic and national security of the United States.
What are Critical Minerals?
A critical mineral is defined as a non-fuel material considered vital for the economic well-being of the world’s major and emerging economies, whose supply may be at risk. This can be due to geological scarcity, geopolitical issues, trade policy, or other factors.
In 2018, the U.S. Department of the Interior released a list of 35 critical minerals. The new list, released in February 2022, contains 15 more commodities.
Much of the increase in the new list is the result of splitting the rare earth elements and platinum group elements into individual entries rather than including them as “mineral groups.” In addition, the 2022 list of critical minerals adds nickel and zinc to the list while removing helium, potash, rhenium, and strontium.
|Mineral||Example Uses||Net Import Reliance|
|Beryllium||Alloying agent in aerospace, defense industries||11%|
|Aluminum||Power lines, construction, electronics||13%|
|Zirconium||High-temparature ceramics production||25%|
|Germanium||Fiber optics, night vision applications||50%|
|Nickel||Stainless steel, rechargeable batteries||50%|
|Tin||Coatings, alloys for steel||75%|
|Cobalt||Rechargeable batteries, superalloys||76%|
|Antimony||Lead-acid batteries, flame retardants||81%|
|Zinc||Metallurgy to produce galvanized steel||83%|
|Titanium||White pigment, metal alloys||88%|
|Bismuth||Medical, atomic research||94%|
|Tellurium||Solar cells, thermoelectric devices||95%|
|Vanadium||Alloying agent for iron and steel||96%|
|Arsenic||Semi-conductors, lumber preservatives, pesticides||100%|
|Cerium||Catalytic converters, ceramics, glass, metallurgy||100%|
|Dysprosium||Data storage devices, lasers||100%|
|Erbium||Fiber optics, optical amplifiers, lasers||100%|
|Europium||Phosphors, nuclear control rods||100%|
|Fluorspar||Manufacture of aluminum, cement, steel, gasoline||100%|
|Gadolinium||Medical imaging, steelmaking||100%|
|Gallium||Integrated circuits, LEDs||100%|
|Holmium||Permanent magnets, nuclear control rods||100%|
|Indium||Liquid crystal display screens||100%|
|Lanthanum||Catalysts, ceramics, glass, polishing compounds||100%|
|Lutetium||Scintillators for medical imaging, cancer therapies||100%|
|Neodymium||Rubber catalysts, medical, industrial lasers||100%|
|Praseodymium||Permanent magnets, batteries, aerospace alloys||100%|
|Rubidium||Research, development in electronics||100%|
|Samarium||Cancer treatment, absorber in nuclear reactors||100%|
|Scandium||Alloys, ceramics, fuel cells||100%|
|Tantalum||Electronic components, superalloys||100%|
|Terbium||Permanent magnets, fiber optics, lasers||100%|
|Thulium||Metal alloys, lasers||100%|
|Ytterbium||Catalysts, scintillometers, lasers, metallurgy||100%|
|Yttrium||Ceramic, catalysts, lasers, metallurgy, phosphors||100%|
|Iridium||Coating of anodes for electrochemical processes||No data available|
|Rhodium||Catalytic converters, electrical components||No data available|
|Ruthenium||Electrical contacts, chip resistors in computers||No data available|
|Hafnium||Nuclear control rods, alloys||Net exporter|
The challenge for the U.S. is that the local production of these raw materials is extremely limited.
For instance, in 2021 there was only one operating nickel mine in the country, the Eagle mine in Michigan. The facility ships its concentrates abroad for refining and is scheduled to close in 2025. Likewise, the country only hosted one lithium mine, the Silver Peak Mine in Nevada.
At the same time, most of the country’s supply of critical minerals depends on countries that have historically competed with America.
China’s Dominance in Minerals
Perhaps unsurprisingly, China is the single largest supply source of mineral commodities for the United States.
Cesium, a critical metal used in a wide range of manufacturing, is one example. There are only three pegmatite mines in the world that can produce cesium, and all were controlled by Chinese companies in 2021.
Furthermore, China refines nearly 90% of the world’s rare earths. Despite the name, these elements are abundant on the Earth’s crust and make up the majority of listed critical minerals. They are essential for a variety of products like EVs, advanced ceramics, computers, smartphones, wind turbines, monitors, and fiber optics.
After China, the next largest source of mineral commodities to the United States has been Canada, which provided the United States with 16 different elements in 2021.
The Rising Demand for Critical Minerals
As the world’s clean energy transitions gather pace, demand for critical minerals is expected to grow quickly.
According to the International Energy Association, the rise of low-carbon power generation is projected to triple mineral demand from this sector by 2040.
The shift to a sustainable economy is important, and consequently, securing the critical minerals necessary for it is just as vital.
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