Pretium was the first stock I bought when I became The Independent Speculator. My thesis was simple: the critics of this controversial, super-high-grade gold story were wrong. Once the company proved its point, shares would soar. That would have been true even if gold prices went nowhere, or even declined. Ten months later, the company has proved it has a real gold mine and can make money, but the grades have not lived up to expectations—and they are now projected to be significantly lower this year. That's not what I signed up for.
To be clear, I am not saying that the critics are right. This was no Bre-X. The gold is there. It's just turned out to be much tougher to mine it at anywhere near the grades originally envisioned. I think Pretium will succeed as a miner and deliver for shareholders, in time. But this story has now become one of a larger company struggling to improve operations while still delivering to the bottom line. More specifically, the company’s guidance is for lower grades this year—with the best performance in the second half of the year. This means that the worst results will be this quarter and next. There is near-term risk I don't want to be exposed to. So I’ve recovered my investment and stepped out of potential harm’s way for now.
I will have a fresh look at Pretium when it’s clear it has sorted out operations and will deliver consistently for shareholders. I believe it will, and wish management all the best in their efforts going forward. But for now, I’m out.