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Kopernik Global Investors Is Betting Big On Its Top Mining Picks

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David Iben‘s Kopernik Global Investors recently filed its 13F for the reporting period of June 30. Kopernik Global Investors is a Tampa, Florida-based equity management firm founded by Iben in July 2013. Prior to founding Kopernik, Iben served as a director and head of the Global Value team at Vinik Asset Management. Before joining Vinik Asset Management in July 2012, Iben co-founded and served as the lead portfolio manager and CIO of the firm Tradewinds Global Investors, LLC, which boasted assets under management of $38 billion until the time Iben left. According to Kopernik’s latest 13F filing, its U.S. public equity portfolio at the end of June was worth $504.20 million, with 48% of it invested in stocks from the materials sector. Kopernik runs a highly concentrated portfolio by average hedge fund standards, with positions in only 24 stocks and its top ten holdings accounting for 81.11% of its equity portfolio. Mr. Iben is famous on the Street for investing primarily in the natural resources space, so it isn’t really a surprise that Kopernik’s top three holdings at the end of second quarter were all mining stocks: Cameco Corporation (USA)(NYSE:CCJ), Barrick Gold Corporation (USA)(NYSE:ABX), and Kinross Gold Corporation (USA)(NYSE:KGC). Since Kopernik increased its stake substantially in all three of these stocks, we are going to look at them closely and try to understand what makes Mr. Iben so bullish on these companies.


We don’t just track the latest moves of hedge funds. We are, in fact, more interested in their 13F filings, which we use to determine the top 15 small-cap stocks held by the funds we track. We gather and share this information based on 16 years of research which showed that these 15 most popular small-cap picks have a great potential to outperform the market, beating the S&P 500 Total Return Index by nearly one percentage point per month in backtests, and easily beating the most popular large-cap picks of funds, which nonetheless get the majority of their collective capital. Why pay fees to invest in both the best and worst ideas of a particular hedge fund when you can simply mimic only the very best ideas of the best fund managers on your own? Since the beginning of forward testing in August 2012, the Insider Monkey small-cap strategy has outperformed the market every year, returning 123%, 65 percentage points more than the returns of S&P 500 during the same period (see more details).

David Iben
David Iben
Kopernik Global Investors

After increasing its stake by 58% during the first quarter, Kopernik Global Investors again increased its stake in its top pick Cameco Corporation (USA)(NYSE:CCJ), by 24% during the second quarter. As of June 30, Kopernik owned over 6.09 million shares of the company, valued at almost $87 million. Cameco Corporation (USA)(NYSE:CCJ) is a Canada-based miner and refiner of uranium, which it supplies to nuclear power plants in Canada and other nations. The move by the Japanese government on August 11 to reopen its first nuclear power plant since the Fukushima disaster in March 2011 is seen by analysts and industry experts as a hugely favorable development for Cameco Corporation (USA)(NYSE:CCJ). The same feeling was conveyed by the company’s CEO, Timothy S. Gitzel, recently. On July 30, the company reported its second quarter results, which came in well below analysts’ estimates. While analysts were expecting EPS of $0.21 on revenue of $581.04 million, the company reported EPS of $0.12 on revenue of $565 million. Apart from Kopernik, another large shareholder of Cameco Corporation (USA)(NYSE:CCJ) which increased its holding in the company during the second quarter was Thomas E. Claugus‘ GMT Capital. The fund increased its stake by 50% during the quarter to over 1.6 million shares.

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