The summer doldrums are definitely taking hold as the trading volume dries up and investors get jittery. The end result had the TSX Venture Composite Index, reflective of Canada’s most speculative exploration bourse, ending the week up 0.4% on lackluster trading.
Mining goliath BHP Billiton initiated some excitement by reporting it bought another 2 million shares in would-be, could-be nickel producer Skye Resources. The major now holds 4.85 million shares for a 16.5% equity stake in Skye. Fellow major Inco has a 12.3% interest in the junior adding to the speculative flavor that a take-over bid is pending. Skye, which is in the midst of a feasibility study on its Fenix laterite nickel project in Guatemala, ended the week up C$2.08 to C$9.24.
Speaking of takeovers, NovaGold Resources offered up C$0.57 per share to take over Pioneer Metals. The two companies have been involved in a legal dispute over NovaGold’s option on Pioneer’s Grace property, adjoining NovaGold’s Galore Creek copper-gold project in British Columbia. Pioneer added C$0.27 to close at C$0.72 suggesting that the bidding may not be done. NovaGold closed out the week up C$1.33 to C$14.28.
Continuing to attract interest was market darling Aurelian Resources. Mind boggling results continue to come in from the company’s Fruta Del Norte epithermal gold-silver target on its Condor property in Ecuador. The latest hole returned a truly impressive 255 metre intercept grading 12.55 g/t of gold and 15.9 g/t silver. However, coming off the previous intercept of 189.2 metre running 24 g/t gold, investors were already expecting the good news as the junior ended the week down C$0.50 to C$21 flat.
Yukon Zinc continued its revolving door of shareholders as some investors are still bailing out after the company announced results of a feasibility study for its Wolverine massive sulphide project in the Yukon. The company closed at C$0.235, essentially flat and well off its high of just over C$1 about a month ago.
Shares in Forsys Metals managed to gain a touch after the company tabled drill results from its Valencia project in Namibia. Re-sampled drill hole VA26-090, located in the central main zone of the site, intersected two separate zones of uranium including 21.48 metres grading 0.029% U3O8. The junior ended the week up a penny at C$1.30.
Sticking with the junior uranium theme, Cash Minerals surged C$0.15 to close at C$0.55 on good volume with no news. The company is earning a stake in a bevy of uranium properties in the Yukon from Twenty-Seven Capital.
On the downside, shares in Nova Uranium fell after the junior reported drill results from its Nova “A” zone in Quebec. The much-touted property yielded 23.38 metres grading 0.098% U308. Investors were not pleased as shares in the company gave back C$0.80 on the week to close at C$1.08, well off its C$4.55 high hit in March.
Back to the plus column, Sabina Silver tallied more significant results from its Hackett River silver-zinc project in Canada’s northern Nunavut Territory. Highlights include an infill hole yielding 56.7 metres grading 303.9 grams silver per tonne, 12.2% zinc, 0.22% copper and 2% lead in the Boot Lake zone. Sabina ended the week up C$0.14 to C$1.14.
Moving to Russia, investors all but ignored the news that a subsidiary of High River Gold picked up a 50% interest in an undeveloped silver project in the Yakutia region of northeastern Russia. Under the deal, High River provides $7.3 million cash and settles another US$14.7 million in liabilities, for the stake in the Prognoz project. Historic resource estimates at Prognoz are 5 million tonnes grading 876 grams silver per tonne. High River closed out the week at C$2.13, up C$0.12.
It was an up week for Canada’s bigger gold miners as Barrick Gold added C$0.49 to close at C$31.71 and Goldcorp closed at C$31.62 for a C$0.62 gain on the week.
While the quality of drill results continue to be good, concerns about rising interest rates on a global basis have left the stock market in a rut. Will this trend continue throughout the summer or will more hot holes drive investment back into the junior market? Only time will tell…..so stay tuned.