Friday, September 19, 2008

Update on Sterling Mining (SRLM)

If you have read here before then you know that I own shares of Sterling Mining Company (SRLM). I paid more than $3.00 per share for the shares I own. I purchased SRLM as a long term investment as I believed (and still do) in the core property that they operate which is the famous Sunshine Mine in the Silver Valley, Idaho.

Since the time I wrote my last post on Sterling Mining, alot has happened. While the price of silver was steadily climbing, the price of Sterling common shares were continually heading lower. While I poised the question, "Sterling Mining: What is Wrong With This Picture?", I didn't know how prophetic that would be.

I guess that the charts really do tell us what is about to happen sometimes. Since then, SRLM has basically had a collapse in its share price. The company struck a deal to merge with Minco Silver in Canada, but that plan ultimately ended with no deal being struck.

Sterling Mining share price has gone from over $3.00 per share to under 20 cents. Unfortunately for me and many other investors in SRLM commong stock, the company seems to have taken on more that it can handle and hasn't been able to effectively raise capital in this environment to keep its operations ongoing.

I read that they were able to borrow $5 million from Minco before the transaction was dissolved. Since then, Sterling Mining has stated that they are going to pare back operations and reduce the mining staff.

I can only imagine that they are trying to conserve cash at this time and that they are continuing to explore financing options to keep the company on track to return the Sunshine Mine to its full operating capacity.

Further speculating, could there be some naked short selling in this stock? Certainly it is possible as I have read that many of the junior mining shares have been under extreme downward price pressure due to naked short selling. I don't know if this is the case with SRLM or not but I would venture to say it is possible and the timing along with the financial difficulties of the company would have been complimentary.

I don't know if Sterling Mining is fairly valued right now or not. I wonder if the property has lost all of its value. I don't know how it could of since the metal is still in the ground. This would mean that as long as Sterling Mining can stay in business and control this prolific silver property, it is still a long term call option on the silver in the ground.

If Sterling management is prudent and finds a way to achieve continued financing without completely and irresponsibly diluting the existing shareholders, there is still a chance that this company will come out of this ok and be able to return value to the shareholders.

But if the stock price alone is any indication of how the future of this company will end up, then things surely look bleak indeed.

See my previous post on Sterling Mining Here.