Alan Greenspan’s hints of higher interest rates, strong Canadian job numbers and even a nice jump in the price of bullion at the end of the week failed to rally Canadian junior resource issues. After two weeks of positive gains, the TSX Ventures Exchange, home to the most junior exploration issues, gave back 1% over the past week.
Virginia Gold Mines came up with more of the goods at its wholly-owned Eleonore property in Ontario and investors rewarded the company by bidding up its share price C$0.95 to C$6.25. Sparking the excitement was hole 113 into the Roberto zone. This hole confirmed the depth continuity to 550 metres down by returning 20.66 grams gold per tonne over 12 metres. Some people are saying if it looks like Hemlo, smells like Hemlo, maybe it is just like Hemlo. So far so good.
These days it seems like the best thing to do to increase your share price is to acquire uranium assets. A case in point is Irish-Eastern European gold-base metal explorer Tournigan Gold, which was granted three uranium exploration licenses in eastern Slovakia. Two of the licenses have a history of past production and a total of four historic deposits totaling 40 million pounds of uranium have been picked up. Tournigan soared on the news adding C$0.13 to close at C$0.49 on heavy volume.
Yet another uranium player to jump to life was newly minted Titan Uranium Exploration. On June 2, the company began trading after completing a C$3 million financing with units priced at C$0.50 each. Titan is riding the uranium wave on the back of its Thelon project, which is located 150km north of Baker Lake in Nunavut Territory. Titan ended the week at C$0.70, up C$0.16.
The historic uranium players – that is those that have been around for longer than six months – had a more muted week. Energy Metals lost C$0.18 to close at C$2.32, Standard Uranium lost C$0.06 to close at C$1.17, International Uranium Corp fell back C$0.03 to close at C$5.52, Uranium Power drifted down C$0.02 to C$0.51, while Strathmore Minerals lost C$0.14 to C$1.81.
North American Tungsten surged to a new 52-week high of C$1.59 before settling out at C$1.46, up C$0.26 on the week. The junior owns 15 per cent of the world’s known high-grade tungsten reserves/resources through its 100 percent ownership of the CanTung mine and the MacTung deposits in Canada’s Northwest Territories.
St. Elias Mines once again attracted bidders after shareholders faced a two week roller coaster ride. The recently heavily traded stock surged to C$0.41 on news that their latest hole drilled on the Jales-Gralheira gold property in Portugal intercepted a vein 529 metres down and that the company inked a deal allowing Hi Ho Silver Resources to earn a 70% interest in the Carmi molybdenum property in British Columbia. A third rig is now being mobilized to the Portugal property. St. Elias ended the week up C$0.12 to C$0.38.
Augusta Resources wasted little time in going to the market, hat in hand following the acquisition of the Rosemont Ranch copper deposits in Pima County, Arizona. Rosemont hosts 340.5 million tonnes grading 0.64% copper and 0.02% molybdenum. Augusta can buy the property by paying US$20.8 million over three years. So far, Augusta has paid US$6.66 million. The company announced that Northern Securities has been made co-lead agent with Salman partners in a minimum 2 million unit financing priced at C$2.50 each. That’s C$5 million, plus there is an over-subscription provision for up to an additional $5 million. Augusta ended the week down C$0.30 to C$2.75.
The rising price of bullion helped the larger gold producers end the week with strong gains. Placer Dome closed at C$18.13, up C$0.53, while Barrick Gold added C$0.37 to close at C$29.20 and Goldcorp tacked on C$0.42 to close at C$18.26.
Looking ahead all eyes will be on the price of bullion as a move above $430 per ounce could propel investor interest back into the junior market even during the traditionally slow summer trading season…so stay tuned.