The gold-related issues had a good week as the price of bullion hit 17-year highs. But in the end it was a takeover offer for a junior nickel company that sparked excitement in Canada’s resource sector this past week. The junior exploration stocks also continued to rally with the TSX Venture Exchange hitting its highest level of the year gaining almost 2.3 per cent on the week.
Brazilian company Companhia Vale do Rio Doce, CVRD, dropped a bombshell by offering $725-million for Canico Resources. The Michael Kenyon-led company, which has been advancing the Onca Puma nickel laterite project in Brazil’s Para State, soared on the news to close at C$20.15, up C$5.59 on the week. Most interesting is the fact that the closing price is much higher than the C$17.50 currently being offered by CVRD. Inco is the largest shareholder in Canico, so speculation is that this take over play is far from over. For its part, Canico says that it is reviewing the offer.
It took little time for investors to move downstream and try to find the next Canico. This proved beneficial to Skye Resources. Inco is also a major shareholder in Skye and Skye has a similar nickel deposit to Canico, only this one is in Guatemala. Skye Resources ended the week at C$2.85, up C$0.53 on heavy volume.
Laramide Resources was handsomely rewarded by shareholders for acquiring Homestake’s uranium portfolio in the western United States and for adding Michael Connor and John Cook to its advisory board. Shares in the junior added C$1.42 on the week to close at C$4.05.
East Asia Minerals climbed C$0.40 to C$1.40 following news that the second round of drilling over the Khok Adar copper oxide property in Mongolia returned 56 metres grading 7.4% copper.
On the gold front, Gabriel Resources hit a new 52-week high of C$2.58 up C$0.24 on the week. A new resource estimate is expected shortly from its plus 14 million ounce Rosia Montana gold project in Romania.
Not to be outdone the major gold producers all had a stellar week with Barrick Gold and Goldcorp hitting new yearly highs. Barrick reported that gold production has started ahead of schedule from its Veladero mine in Argentina. Gold production for 2005 is slated to be 50,000 to 55,000 ounces, and is expected to average about 700,000 ounces per year during the first three full years of operation. Barrick ended the week at C$34.24, up C$1.39.
Cash-rich Goldcorp added C$0.97 to close at C$24.02, while shares in Placer Dome surged after the company gave the green light to the Cortez Hills gold project in Nevada and the Wallaby underground project at the Granny Smith mine in Australia. Placer closed at C$20.20 up C$1.87.
The junior uranium players joined the parade of winners, at least for the most part. Western Prospector, which has one of the more advanced uranium properties in Mongolia, hit a new 52-week high closing at C$5 even, up C$0.50, while US-based explorer Energy Metals added C$0.40 to C$3.90, Cash Minerals added C$0.10 to close at C$0.40 on heavy volume, Twenty Seven Capital gained C$0.10 to close at C$0.50, while JNR Resources added C$0.02 to close at C$1.27 and International Uranium lost C$0.20 to C$7.90. Most of the others in this ever-growing sector also managed to post modest gains.
With gold, uranium and even the occasional base metal stock rallying this week many soothsayers are calling for a slight pause before these stocks move higher. However, given the rapid acceleration of trading volume on the Venture market there is every indication that these stocks want to move higher. Time will tell.