THE INVESTMENT COLUMN: Silver find adds sparkle to Minco

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TWO YEARS ago, the mining exploration group Minco was looking for base metals in Ireland. One year ago, it was focused on gold in Russia. Today, it is very excited about silver in Mexico. Should we deplore its flightiness, or applaud its opportunistic pursuit of value?

On balance, the latter - although be careful with speculative mining ventures. While Minco has been refinanced since October (with the end- date of results out yesterday), it could well need to raise more money from shareholders before it gets anything out of the ground.

Gamblers, though, will be attracted by the prospect of a steady stream of news this year. Minco is moving forward with plans to dredge flakes of silver from the bed of a lake in central Mexico (it will shortly begin the search for project finance and production could begin next year), and as the first drilling reports emerge from its newly acquired gold and silver projects nearby. If the news is good, the shares could rise strongly from their current price of 15.25p. Have a punt.