The past week saw one junior exploration company implode, another hit some exceptional massive sulphides and more than a few gear up for drilling. Still, nothing could entice investors into the market ahead of the holiday long weekend and the lackluster trading was evident as the TSX Ventures Exchange, home to the most junior exploration issues, dropped almost 2%.
Scott Broughton’s Stikine Gold had a very rough week. Stikine reported the results of its second drill hole at the Sullivan Deeps massive sulphide project in southeastern British Columbia. After drilling to the target depth of 2.4 kilometres, the core came up with a 0.8 metre interval of pyrrhotite. The company is currently evaluating the results of the hole before making a decision regarding further exploration. The market seems to have made the decision for them as investors bailed, driving the stock to C$0.09, down C$0.41.
Moving in the opposite direction, Aurora Platinum hit a new 52-week high earlier in the week before settling down to close at C$2.01, up C$0.32. The company is being acquired by FNX Mining Company in a friendly deal that calls for shareholders to get 1 FNX share for each five Aurora shares held. Using FNX’s share price just prior to the announcement of C$9.17, the offer valued Aurora at C$1.83 per share. For its part, FNX Mining changed the metrics this week after expanding its Footwall Discovery project on its 75%-owned Levack Mine property situated in Sudbury, Ontario. All four boreholes intersected massive sulphide veins with one hole collared 225 ft southwest of the discovery hole returning 102.8 ft grading 11.7% copper, 2.5% nickel and 14.5 grams combined platinum-palladium-gold. FNX ended the week up C$2.13 to C$10.88.
Brazauro Resources saw some trading action after announcing that the first hole of an eight-hole diamond drilling program is underway on its TZ Project in the Tapajos region of Brazil. The program is aimed at expanding the width and the extensions of a 600-by-110 meter mineralized zone hit in 2004. With previous results of 1.84 grams gold per tonne over 170.2 meters, this program will be watched closely. Brazauro ended the week at C$1.28, up C$0.08.
A big mover last week, Augusta Resource, was halted from trading on Monday pending news and remained halted by the end of trade on Friday. The junior surged C$0.59 and closed out Monday at C$3.30 on heavy volume. The company recently closed two non-brokered private placements pocketing just over $5 million. The proceeds are earmarked for the Mount Hamilton moly, tungsten, gold project and the Shell molybdenum, gold deposit in Nevada as well as the Lone Mountains copper-zinc project in New Mexico. Maybe next week we’ll find out what some other investors already know, or at least think they do.
Mongolian explorer QGX rebounded ever so slightly from its 52-week low. Despite having a 3.3 million ounce gold equivalent deposit and a new coal find on its Baruun Naran project, investors remain unconvinced. The company recently twinned three historic Russian holes on the coal project and the results generally confirm the Russian drill-hole intersections. The third hole also discovered an additional 21.8 metres of net coal below the bottom of one of the Russian holes before the hole was lost. QGX ended the week at C$1.60, up C$0.15.
Another Mongolian explorer, Entree Gold, continued to trade heavily for the second straight week following news that partner Ivanhoe Mines extended high-grade copper mineralization 450 metres into the Copper Flats region of Entree’s Lookout Hill property. Copper Flats is contiguous with, and directly north of, Ivanhoe’s monstrous Oyu Tolgoi project, in an area that is being jointly explored by Entree and Ivanhoe. Recently-completed hole EGD006, collared on Entree’s Lookout Hill five meters north of the Oyu Tolgoi boundary, intersected 258 meters grading 2.56% copper and 1.17 grams gold from 1,008 meters down. Entrée ended the week up C$0.06 to C$1.53.
The spot price of uranium stayed at a multi-decade high of $29 per pound but the uranium explorers continue to be stuck in a rut with Energy Metals dropping C$0.19 to close at C$2.10, Standard Uranium gaining C$0.07 to close at C$1.08, International Uranium Corp tacking on C$0.05 to close at C$4.65, Uranium Power dropping C$0.08 to C$0.50, while Strathmore Minerals added C$0.04 to C$1.69 and Twenty Seven Capital dropped C$0.07 to C$0.82.
Despite the drop in the price of bullion on Friday the big board gold miners managed to end the week in the black with Placer Dome closing at C$15.91, up C$0.31, while Barrick Gold added C$0.05 to close at C$27.30. But leading the pack was Goldcorp. After its recent sell off, the company gained C$0.67 on the week to close at C$16.24. Goldcorp reported a 70% increase in earnings to $29.5 million and a 73% jump in gold production to 275,400 ounces in the first quarter thanks to its completed merger with Wheaton River Minerals.
As we head into the last week of May, the market is acting the same way it did last year when very quiet trading prevailed through August. The drill rigs in Canada should be turning full out this summer on gold/copper/uranium/tungsten/coal projects, so a discovery may well wake the bear from its summer siesta. But only time will tell…. so stay tuned.
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