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OPINION

How to Buy Gold for $86 an Ounce

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

The past decade has been great to gold investors...

At $1,640 an ounce, gold is trading roughly 460% higher than its spot price just 10 years ago. The incredible run makes gold the best-performing asset in the past 10 years -- and this run may not be over yet.

Government spending still remains out of control, geopolitical turbulence is sending jitters through the market and inflation hasn't even begun to heat up. It's not a stretch to say gold could touch $2,000 an ounce later this year.

Still, that's only an 21% upside from today's price. That's a good deal, but it's by no means a great one.

But there is one investment that still offers investors the potential to double, triple, maybe even quadruple their gains from investing in gold today -- junior mining stocks.

Junior miners are the smaller, less-developed counterparts of the multibillion-dollar senior miners like Goldcorp (NYSE: GC) and Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX).

Junior miners provide leverage over larger miners because they're smaller. Unlike the "big boys", new mining activities tend to have a much more profound effect on their bottom line. As a result, it's not uncommon for these stocks to deliver jaw dropping gains.

We've seen this play out first hand during the past 10 years. For example, Alamos Gold (TSX: AGI.TO), a junior miner out of Toronto has raced ahead 1,546% since 2003. Keegan Resources (AMEX: KGN), another Canadian-based junior, has surged 1,700% during the same time.

As an investor, betting on these small companies can be just like hunting for gold -- they don't always pan out. But when they do, get ready for a big payday.

Right now, one of my favorite junior miners is NovaGold Resources (AMEX: NG). NovaGold is a $2 billion Canadian mining stock with an ownership in Alaska's Donlin mine -- the creme de la creme of gold mines containing one of the largest known undeveloped gold deposits in the world.

All told, NovaGold is sitting on roughly 19.7 million ounces of proven gold reserves. With a market cap of $1.7 billion, this means the market is pricing that gold at just $86 per ounce (1.7 billion/19.7 million).

For perspective, the average development stage gold company trades at $125 per ounce, the average junior producer sells for $355 per ounce, and intermediate producers typically garner $390 per ounce.

Of course, that discount only exists because NovaGold is still a few years away from production and a lot can happen between now and then. But gold isn't going to lose its luster -- and if anything, NovaGold deserves a premium price because of its low costs, high grade, and stable mining jurisdictions.

Early investors willing to wait for the mines to open could see a huge gain.

Once NovaGold graduates from developer to producer, there's no reason it shouldn't fetch the same $355 per ounce as the rest of the group. If so, NovaGold's 19.7 million ounces of gold would be worth roughly $6.9 billion -- versus a current market cap of $1.7 billion.

That implies a potential 305% gain in the stock -- even if gold prices don't gain another penny.

Action to Take -- > Patient investors who buy the stock and then file it away for the next few years could easily double or triple their money, even without any increase in the price of gold.

If you're a gold or silver bull, then you might want at least a small degree of exposure. When the time is right, junior miners like NovaGold can give you a decade's worth of returns in just a few months.

-- Nathan Slaughter

Nathan Slaughter does not personally hold positions in any securities mentioned in this article. 
StreetAuthority LLC does not hold positions in any securities mentioned in this article. 
This article originally appeared at www.streetauthority.com.

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