Happy Memorial Day to all NIA members in the U.S. and for our Canadian members you guys are extremely lucky because countless American investors have been learning about Clean Air Metals (TSXV: AIR) this holiday weekend but most of them won't be able to take advantage of it until tomorrow. Based on AIR's Friday closing price of $0.36 per share we have decided to give it a confidence rating of 99, which will actually now make it our #2 overall mid-year 2020 pick. Only Benton Resources (TSXV: BEX) are we giving a perfect confidence rating of 100 because it is the largest AIR shareholder and also owns a 0.50% NSR royalty in AIR's Thunder Bay North/Escape Lake project. Currently, BEX is receiving zero value for its 0.50% NSR royalty when we believe it deserves to be worth 5% of AIR's market cap. In fact, in recent years BEX has quietly accumulated an entire portfolio of royalties that it is receiving zero value for.
With AIR's Phase 1 drilling at Escape Lake already underway we won't have to wait long for what NIA believes could potentially become one of the most impressive sets of drilling results that any company releases in 2020.
Less than one year ago we made Fiore Gold (TSXV: F) our #1 overall mid-year 2019 pick with a perfect confidence rating of 100 at a price of $0.375 per share. Fiore has unquestionably been our #1 favorite producing gold miner for the past 18 months ever since we announced it as our #1 overall stock suggestion for 2019 on November 22, 2018 at $0.23 per share. On Friday, Fiore Gold hit a new 2 1/2 year high of $1.02 per share for a gain of 172% since we announced it as our #1 overall mid-year 2019 pick and a gain of 343.48% since we originally announced it as our #1 overall stock suggestion for 2019.
Although producing gold miners initially outperformed the rest of the mining industry throughout 2019 we knew that gold exploration stocks would begin to outperform in 2020. After researching nearly every gold exploration stock in existence during the months of February and March, NIA on April 2nd announced Idaho Champion Gold Mines (CSE: ITKO) as its #1 favorite gold exploration stock suggestion at $0.085 per share. This past Tuesday after ITKO hit a new high of $0.35 per share but then dipped to close at $0.30 per share, we sent out an important ITKO update that evening. On Wednesday, ITKO rallied 10% to close at its high of day of $0.33 per share on nearly double the previous day's volume. On Thursday morning at 10:27AMEDT with ITKO still at $0.33 per share, NIA sent out another important ITKO update about how the company's newly obtained historical drilling data for its past producing Champagne gold project in Idaho contained high grade silver intercepts that we never expected to see including 1,099 g/t silver in addition to 2.22 g/t gold over 6.1m beginning only 4.6m below surface. With silver making a major breakout last week, as soon as investors saw this news on Thursday morning, ITKO rallied by 33.33% to close at a new all-time high of $0.44 per share for a gain of 417.65% from NIA's April 2nd suggestion price of $0.085 per share.
On August 1, 2019, NIA showed how gold royalty stocks had outperformed the rest of the industry over the previous decade and announced Ely Gold Royalties (TSXV: ELY) as its #1 favorite gold royalty stock suggestion and new #3 overall 2019 mid-year pick at $0.30 per share with a confidence rating of 95. On Friday, ELY closed at a new all-time high of $1.27 per share for a gain of 323.33% in less than ten months! Since NIA's suggestion of ELY it has been the world's #1 best performing gold royalty stock.
Past performance is not an indicator of future returns. NIA is not an investment advisor and does not provide investment advice. Always do your own research and make your own investment decisions. This message is not a solicitation or recommendation to buy, sell, or hold securities. NIA's President has purchased 1.14 million shares of BEX in the open market. He intends to sell in the future for a profit but could also add additional shares at any time. NIA has received compensation from ITKO of USD$30,000 cash for a six-month marketing contract. NIA was previously compensated by ELY USD$30,000 cash for a six-month marketing contract which has since expired. This message is meant for informational and educational purposes only and does not provide investment advice.