This past week was another good one for investors in Canadian junior resource stocks as the TSX Venture Exchange, Canada’s largest mineral exploration bourse, hit a record high, climbing 2.75% for the week.
Uranium continued to be a central theme amongst traders and leading the charge higher was Mega Uranium. Shares in the company topped C$9 before settling out at C$8.80 for a C$2.10 gain. The company inked a deal to earn a 75% interest in the uranium-molybdenum content of 16 exploration concessions in Bolivia. Under the Agreement, Mega must spend $500,000 within three years, plus issue 10,000 shares on signing.
Namibian uranium explorer Forsys Metals closed out the week at a new 52-week high of C$1.96, up C$0.60 after it cancelled its option to earn a 51% interest in the Albert Creek property in British Columbia to focus on advancing its more advanced uranium projects in Namibia.
Hathor Exploration continued to move up following last week’s announcement to acquire privately held Roughrider Uranium in a share deal. The transaction would give Hathor one of the larger landholdings in northern Saskatchewan’s prolific uranium-bearing Athabasca basin. The company added C$0.44 to close at C$1.43 on good volume.
Fury Explorations got a boost on news that it inked a deal to acquire the Taylor silver mine and mill complex located 15 miles south of Ely, Nevada. Armed with a historical measured resource of 5.92 million tons grading 2.7 ounce silver per ton for 16 million ounces of silver, a 1,320 ton per day mill with flotation and cyanide leach plants, and approximately 900 acres of mining claims, the project deal was well received. Fury closed out the week at C$0.88, up C$0.28 on heavy volume.
On the earnings front, Hudbay Minerals rewarded investors by posting earnings of $85.2 million or $1.04 per share in 2005. Operating cash flow tallied $144.8 million or $1.77 per share on zinc production from its Manitoba operations of 115,000 tonnes; copper output hit 86,000 tonnes; silver was up to 1.41 million ounces; and gold came in at 102,000 ounces. The good news sent Hudbay shares up C$1.52 to end the week at C$9.52.
On the other side of the coin, Yamana Gold and Bema Gold both saw red in 2005. Yamana recorded a net loss of $73,000 for the fourth quarter of 2005 and $4.11 million for the year. The loss was driven by non-cash items that included stock option expenses, foreign currency exchanges, unrealized losses on commodity contracts and a future income tax recovery. On the bright side, mine operating earnings hit $4.81 million in the fourth quarter, up from $2.92 million a year earlier. Annual gold production came in at 115,572 ounces. Shares in Yamana dropped C$0.20 on the week to close at C$10.30.
Bema Gold faired little better as the company reported a loss of $81 million or $0.20 per share in 2005. Dragging down the company was an unrealized non-hedge derivative loss of $30.2 million and the write-down of the carrying values of its interest in the Monument Bay property in Manitoba. Consolidated gold production for the year was 256,668 ounces with an operating cash cost of $327 per ounce and total cash cost of $347 per ounce. Bema ended the week at C$5.12, for a very modest C$0.02 gain.
It was another good week to be a shareholder of Greystar Resources as the Colombian explorer hit yet another new 52-week high following news that drilling 100 metres west of a previously reported 250 metre eastern step-out hole in the Veta de Barro area (1.35 grams gold per tonne over 74 metres) intersected 11 metres grading 1.18 grams gold per tonne, 1.5 metres grading 21.7 grams gold per tonne, 12 metres averaging 9.29 grams gold per tonne and 25 metres averaging 1.02 grams gold per tonne. This hole is part of the company’s eastern expansion program on its wholly-owned 10 million ounce Angostura gold deposit in Colombia. Greystar ended the week up C$1.15, to C$11.
Canada’s biggest gold miners had a mixed week with Goldcorp finally taking a breather. The Ian Telfer-led company dropped C$0.37 to close at C$32.01. Kinross Gold proved to be the big winner gaining C$0.88 to close out the week at C$11.80. And the world’s number one gold miner, Barrick Gold, closed out the week at C$30.60, down C$0.21.
While nothing goes straight up, Canadian resource stocks look incredibly strong as we head into the last week of March. Will the trend continue? Only time will tell so stay tuned.