Canadian Market Roundup—Week of 12/08/06
Phelps Dodge goes ahead fith Fungurume, Barrick Gold admits defeat, Teck Cominco takes a piece of Nautilus, Premier Gold teams up with Goldcorp, Denison eyes Aussie company, Noront tags hot hole and more this week on the Canadian markets.
Canada’s junior market took a well-deserved breather from its recent run up as exploration news started to slow with activities winding down ahead of the Christmas season. When all was said and done, the TSX Venture Composite Index, Canada’s most speculative exploration bourse, last just a tad more than 1% on the week.
Phelps Dodge, which is in the midst of being taken over by Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, has given the green light to begin construction of the $650 million Tenke Fungurume copper-cobalt mine in the Congo. After years of perseverance, the major’s junior partner, Tenke Mining, is looking to reap some rewards. When production begins in late 2008, Tenke Fungrume is expected to produce at least 115,000 tonnes of copper and 8,000 tonnes of cobalt annually, during a projected mine life of 40 years. Tenke, which holds just under 25% of the project as well as assets in Argentina, ended the week at C$17.46 for a C$2.81 gain.
Barrick Gold has finally thrown in the towel regarding its $16-per-share take out bid for NovaGold Resources. Barrick has taken up a paltry 14.8% of NovaGold’s stock after an increased offer and six extensions. The major finally admitted defeat and will now move on. Meanwhile all was not rosy for NovaGold as a permit issued on August 21 for NovaGold's Rock Creek project has been suspended while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completes a review. NovaGold shareholders remained firm and by the end the week were rewarded with a C$0.59 gain as NovaGold closed at C$19.04, while Barrick lost C$0.92 to close at C$34.70.
Joining Barrick Gold and Anglo American, Teck Cominco is investing $25 million into Nautilus Minerals. The seafloor mineral explorer will raise $31.1 million financing priced at $3.30 per share with a $5 warrant exercisable until June 1, 2008. Teck Cominco will end up with a 9.2% stake, Anglo American holds 10.1% and Barrick Gold has a 5.8% interest. The diversified miner also pledges to fund $12 million in a joint venture option with Nautilus. Teck ended the week up C$0.53 at C$86.77.
Premier Gold Mines and Goldcorp inked a deal that would consolidate a strategic land package in the prolific Red Lake area of Ontario. The new property package, dubbed Rahill-Bonanza covers several kilometers of the key geological unconformity that spans from Goldcorp's Red Lake Gold Mines to the formerly producing Cochenour Gold Mine. The project is home to several deposits and mineralized zones including the Follansbee, Bonanza and North Contact Zones, and the Wilmar and Granodiorite gold deposits. Premier ended the week up C$0.34 at C$1.26.
Denison Mines wasted no time in its bid to get bigger by offering up C$154 million for Australian based OmegaCorp (A$1.10 per share). Denison, which just completed its merger with International Uranium, closed out the week at C$11.65.
One of the biggest percentage gainers this past week was Kootenay Gold (V.KTN). The company announced a C$2 million financing comprised on just over 3 million units priced at C$0.65. Each unit holds one share and one warrant, which is exercisable at C$0.80 for 18 months. The funds will be used to explore its newly acquired Promontorio mine properties in northwest Mexico. News of a financing doesn’t normally cause a company like KTN to almost double (the company ended the week up C$0.50 to close at C$1.15), so more might be going on, but that’s pure speculation.
Another big winner was Noront Resources. The junior surged higher after the company reported finding 52.3 ounces per ton of gold over 4.8 meters at its Windfall project in Quebec. Noront wasted little time in cashing in by announcing a $15 million financing. Noront closed at C$0.90, for a C$0.435 gain.
On the down side was Mega Uranium. While better known for its Australian uranium holdings, Mega began a 5,000-meter diamond drilling program over its Mount Kakoulima copper-nickel-PGM project in Guinea, Africa. After posting strong gains throughout the year, the company lost C$0.89 on the week to close at C$5.05.
A stronger than expected job report out of the United States shifted talk from a pronounced slow down in 2007 into one that envisions a soft landing. For junior resource stocks this seemed to have little impact as the market continues its trend of multiple positive weeks followed by a modest one week correction. We will see what next week brings.