The Canadian markets continued to run higher with retail investors bidding speculative exploration issues up to rather lofty levels. When all was said and done, the TSX Venture Exchange, Canada’s largest junior exploration bourse, closed out the week with a gain of nearly 4.4%.

Crystallex International rallied for the second straight week following a mention on Jim Cramer’s Mad Money television show. The junior is awaiting environmental approvals for the Las Cristinas gold project in Venezuela. Crystallex ended the week at C$6.92, up C$2.15.

Shareholders of Aurelian Resources had a good week after the company reported that drilling on its wholly-owned Condor Project in southeastern Ecuador returned 237.25 metres grading 4.14 grams gold per tonne. The nice interval was carried by a series of high grade intercepts including 175 grams gold per tonne over 1.45 metres and 80 grams gold per tonne over 1 metre begging the question: can it be repeated along strike? The market seemed to think so as Aurelian ended the week with a stellar gain of C$2.37 to close at C$3.09.

Then there was Golden Peaks Resources, which reported the discovery of new high-grade gold mineralization on the A Structure, on the La Fortuna project in Patagonia, Argentina. The best hole yielded 5.72 grams gold per tonne over 65.4 metres. However, the section was essentially made up of a 1.9 metre interval running 172.63 grams gold per tonne. The market caught on as Golden Peaks added just C$0.33 to close at C$2.83.

Trade Winds Ventures also had a good week following news that drilling cut 64.38 grams gold per tonne over 8 metres at its 50% owned Block A project in the Detour Lake are of northern Ontario. Trade Winds added C$0.14 higher to close at C$0.64, while project partner Pelangio Mines added C$0.15 to close at C$1.03.

Shares in Red Lake Resources gave back some recent gains following news that it has inked an option to earn 100% of the Bolshoi silver property in the Zacatecas region of central Mexico as well as signing a deal to option a silver property in Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene district. Red Lake closed out the week at C$0.21, down C$0.02.

Atna Resources also lost ground on news that Barrick Gold will back into its interest in the Pinson property in Nevada to the tune of 70% by agreeing to spend $30 million on further exploration and development. On completion Atna will hold a 30% stake. Sounds good to me but the market did not like the news as shares of Atna fell C$0.40 to close at C$1.90.

On the uranium front, Cameco Corp., the world’s largest uranium producer, reported that water leaked into a shaft at its Cigar Lake uranium project in Saskatchewan, which may delay production by six months and add some $100 million to the project costs. The project, partly owned by Areva SA’s Cogema unit, is now due to start production in late 2007 at a cost of C$520 million. Cameco ended the week at C$43, up $1 even.

Meanwhile, Canada’s Ekati mine in the Northwest Territories is facing its own issues now that workers have walked off the job in a dispute over seniority and contracting. Mine operator BHP Billiton has warned it will keep operating the mine but Yellowknife has seen violence erupt over replacement workers entering a mine site before, so this could well be one to watch closely. Ekati produces nearly four per cent of current world diamond production by weight and six per cent by value.

Onto the Gold miners, which had another good week despite a modest sell off on Friday. Barrick Gold was the big winner gaining C$1.87 to close at C$33.64, followed by Goldcorp, which added C$0.71 to close at C$34.88. The laggard was Kinross Gold, which closed out the week down C$0.28 at C$12.45.

Friday proved to be a rare down day on the junior market and a pull back is well overdue after three months of excellent gains. Will selling continue into the Easter holidays or will the march higher continue? Only time will tell, so stay tuned.