Despite stellar gains in copper and gold during the week investors elected to stay on the sidelines when it came to buying junior exploration issues. The TSX Venture Exchange, Canada’s bourse for most junior exploration stocks, tacked on 0.41% for the week.

Rather than step into the Barrick Gold-Placer Dome takeover, the world’s largest gold miner elected to take a 9.9% equity stake in junior Miramar Mining. Newmont Mining will take down 18.5 million units of Miramar at a price of C$2.35 each. A unit holds one share and one warrant, which is exercisable at a price of C$2.75 for 48 months. The C$43.5 million proceeds are ear marked for the Hope Bay gold belt in Nunavut where Miramar aims to start with mining the small scale, high-grade Doris North mine before ramping up to other deposits in the area. Miramar closed the week up C$0.57 to C$2.18.

Uranium stocks in general got a lift as Uranium Participation Corp. raised C$45 million by issuing 7.5 million shares at C$6 a piece. At least 85% of the gross proceeds will go to buying uranium oxide concentrates. This will build on its 2.55 million pounds of U308 already in the vault. Uranium Participation lost C$0.23 to close at C$6.04.

The gobbling up of the U308 supply proved to be good news for Energy Metals as it continued its acquisition frenzy by offering to take over Quincy Energy in an all-share, 5-Quincy-for-1-Energy Metals transaction. This move comes on the heels of Energy Metals’ plan to enter into a business combination with Standard Uranium that calls for Energy Metals to acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Standard on the basis of 0.64 shares of Energy Metals for every Standard share. Investors took the consolidation as good news as Energy Metals added C$0.15 to close at C$3.30, Standard climbed C$0.27 to close at C$1.95, and Quincy added C$0.12 to C$0.65.

Traders took a fancy to Dynatec after the company reported the completion of its sale of 88 million shares at C$1.35 a piece. The C$118.8 million will help fund Dynatec’s equity requirements related to the Ambatovy nickel laterite project, in which Dynatec has a 37.5% interest. Dynatec ended the week at C$1.42, up C$0.06.

The legal battle over the promising Navidad silver project in Argentina continued. IMA exploration and Aquiline Resources are battling over rights to the deposit and with no new developments or rumors, both companies ended the week essentially flat. IMA added C$0.01 to C$3.01 and Aquiline gained C$0.02 to close at C$1.73.

Brazauro Resources gained C$0.05 to close at C$1.40 after releasing results from the final seven holes on its TZ gold project in Brazil’s Para State. More long intervals of low-grade mineralization sprinkled with several zones of higher-grade material running 26.82 to 374.40 grams gold per tonne over widths of 2.5 to 0.85 metres.

The rising gold price sparked trading interest in the biggest producers with Barrick Gold ending the week up C$0.66 at C$31.70, Goldcorp adding C$0.58 to close at C$24.03, Placer Dome adding C$0.11 to C$24.82 and Kinross closing out the week up C$0.67 to C$8.87.

Will $500 per ounce gold be hit in 2005? Many are betting that it will but based on the languishing price of gold equities there is still skepticism in the market place. Time will tell whether the gold bulls or the gold bears are correct….so stay tuned.