This CEO interview took place on May 13, 2021.
Aris Gold reached out and told me that this is “the only gold stock I need to own”. I usually don’t like claims that are thus ridiculous so I decided to have their CEO (Neil Woodyer) over for a conversation about his new venture, to figure out whether those are just ridiculous claims or a truly unique company.
The main selling point of Aris Gold, or at least the one they reached out with, was their management. So, the majority of my questions to Neil Woodyer were around the management, their ties to Gran Colombia, Frank Giustra, etc. Given that Aris Gold’s current producing projects is rather small (25K oz AU annual, expected) I was interested in figuring out why they’re priced almost as high as already mid-tier companies like Jaguar Mining (TSE: JAG).
Neil Woodyer told me that they expect to get their total Columbian gold production close to 200K oz AU per annum rather soon. I’m not a geologist but that doesn’t seem like an easy task. I hope to be pleasantly surprised.
Aris Gold also has an extensive marketing campaign with Gold Standard Media LLC and/or affiliates. So, first of all, know that this may cause irregularities in the stock price, and also pay close attention to other YouTube channels, bloggers, Twitter accounts, etc, who mention Aris Gold. It is likely they are being paid.
Aris Gold has also offered to pay for my time. If you watch the video, however, you’ll notice that this never has (and it never will have) influence on the questions that I asked. I’m still very much here to grill the CEO. I am not being compensated on a performance base but I do know that some other people may be compensated that way, which could cause them to inflate the facts or their significance.
I asked Neil Woodyer why, if the story behind Aris Gold is so good, he doesn’t just let it write itself and he told me they’re mostly doing this for liquidity. I’m not sure I agree with that, but I’ve also never ran a publicly traded company so I guess I’ll have to take his word for it. Neil told me that their main project is already fully funded so I shouldn’t worry about it, and that the money that went into marketing, was well spent on marketing. Again, not sure that’s how I would do it, but I’ll probably never run a gold company so I should probably shut up. I raise the question to Neil wether he’s concerned about hypothetical skeletons in some of his team members’ closets but he told me that I should see a psychiatrist. Just kidding, he said that’s not possible.
I did find some information about a rather large settlement and Neil and his team went through in 2004, where a company in which Frank Giustra was involved got into trouble, together with Endeavour Financial (Neil’s company at the time) because of alleged double-dealing. I found that information on “the Daily Caller”, so I cannot confirm its 100% quality. You can read a little more about it here: https://dailycaller.com/2015/05/06/the-clintons-canadian-mining-pal-has-been-accused-of-double-dealing-before/
So, I tried talking to Neil about it, but I must have been unclear because we didn’t manage to cover that whole story. I’m not alleging anything. I’m not saying this is good or bad. It’s an interesting story and I would’ve loved to talk about it, that’s all.
About Aris Gold’s second project, in Canada, Neil told me he’s not yet sure what they want to make of it. He wanted to drill a couple of holes first and see what comes out the ground before he knows whether this will be a mine or an overtake target. I thought this would be expensive so I tried talking about share dilution or other ways in which Neil plans on financing it all, but he told me that “as long the shares are going up, it’s all good”.
Further on, we talked about Neil’s paycheck (or rather, we didn’t, I did try) and the cost of production of the mine (AISC), the risk of investing in Aris and a couple of other thing.
00:00 IMPORTANT NOTICE
03:30 Aris Gold Introduction
04:20 Why is Aris paying for marketing?
07:40 Is the money well spent?
09:25 The past of Aris’ team a problem?
12:30 Why Gran Colombia?
15:20 Mid-tier producer by 2024?
16:40 Why is Aris price so high?
18:40 Mine or overtake target?
20:30 How much more money does Aris need?
21:00 Where will Airs get the money from?
23:00 When will I make money?
25:00 $1400 AISC?
27:30 Share dilution to come?
30:50 How much did Neil pay for his shares?
33:45 Neil Woodyer’s paycheck
37:00 $55M Non-operating expense, what’s that about?
38:00 The risks of Aris Gold
40:45 Closing thoughts
Yes, I took Aris Gold’s money, I’m evil.
This CEO interview took place on May 13, 2021.