Six Mining Companies To Watch As M&A Heats Up

Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX:NYSE) was earning a stake in Cerro Las Minitas but walked away, not because Cerro Las Minitas is worthless, but because Freeport was (and still is) searching for large base metals (copper) projects and not for silver-lead-zinc systems, which typically attract a different crowd of companies. With the potential to discover in excess of 200 million silver-equivalent ounces (of which 60–90 million are "real" silver ounces), Cerro Las Minitas has undoubtedly popped up on a lot of radar screens.

But you don't have to go to Latin America to find potential takeover targets, as Canada also has some interesting prospects. Integra Gold Corp. (ICG:TSX.V; ICGQF:OTCQX) is one of the first companies that come to mind as the mineralization at its Sigma-Lamaque project continues to expand. An updated preliminary economic assessment (PEA) should be released after the summer, and the NPV of the project will probably at least triple. The PEA was originally expected to be released before the summer, but after encountering some exceptional drill results just a few hundred meters away from the Triangle Zone, Integra's management decided to postpone the PEA so it could potentially add the ounces from this No. 4 Plug to its resource estimate and incorporate it in a mine plan.

Practically anyone could be a suitor for Integra, as the company offers an excellent combination of high-grade gold mineralization in a mining-friendly region. Eldorado Gold already is an important shareholder, but just any midtier and senior producer could be interested in Integra Gold, as the company is now aiming to become a 200,000 to 250,000 ounce producer.

And, of course, there's more than just precious metals in the world, and the recent uranium discoveries in the Athabasca Basin could definitely be described as world class. NexGen Energy Ltd. (NXE:TSX; NXGEF:OTCQX) blew all expectations out of the water with a maiden resource estimate containing in excess of 200 million pounds (200 Mlb), but neighbor Fission Uranium Corp. (FCU:TSX; FCUUF:OTCQX; 2FU:FSE) is located within wheelbarrowing distance from NexGen, and both companies combined will very likely have in excess of 400 Mlb uranium.

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