Merger mania once again made its way down from the big boys into the small caps this past week as Blue Pearl Mining tabled a $575-million takeover offer for privately held Thompson Creek Metals. The takeover however could not sway the overall market as disappointing drill results took their toll on several junior explorers. At the end of a holiday-shortened week, the TSX Venture Composite Index, reflective of Canada’s most speculative exploration bourse, gave back 1.6% of its recent gains.

The Blue Pearl merger would create the world’s largest publicly traded “moly-only” molybdenum producer. Blue Pearl is currently developing its Davidson moly project near Smithers, B.C., where measured and indicated resources total 75.5 million tonnes grading 0.177% moly, while Thompson Creek Metals is an integrated moly producer with the wholly-owned Thompson Creek open-pit moly mine, a 25,000-tonne-per-day capacity concentrator near Challis, Idaho, and a metallurgical refinery with an annual roasting capacity of 35 million lbs. in Pennsylvania. Another core asset is a 75% interest in the Endako mine near Fraser Lake, B.C. The company’s equity share of production this year is estimated to total about 26 million lbs. at an average cash cost of US$4.12 per lb. Investors liked the deal as shares in Blue Pearl added C$2.09 to close at C$6.01.

The long awaited drill results from Cash Minerals and Twenty-Seven Capital’s Lumina property in the Yukon finally arrived. Highlights included 27.01 metres grading 0.203% U308, including a higher grade portion running 8.1% U308 over 0.3 metre, 16 metres of 0.14% U308 and 2.2 metres of 0.533% U308. Not bad, but the speculation heading into the results was just too much as Cash lost C$0.49 on the week to close at C$1.61 and Twenty-Seven Capital fell C$0.52 to close at C$1.

Facing a similar situation of buying on rumour and selling on news was Mansfield Minerals and Antares Minerals. The partners tabled results from their Rio Grande copper-gold project in Argentina after their shares were halted last Thursday. One hole cut 0.71 gram gold per tonne and 0.47% copper over 128 metres, while another returned 158 metres of 0.51 grams gold per tonne and 0.46% copper. Good, but not good enough as Mansfield’s shares lost C$0.40 to close at C$3 and Antares ended the week flat at C$1.20.

Moving over to eastern Canada, Aurora Energy Resources tabled similar drill results to Cash Minerals only from their property in coastal Labrador. The Jacques Lake find, which lies 30 km northeast from the company’s Michelin deposit, returned 21 metres grading 0.21% U308, 46 metres grading 0.10% U308 and 57.7 metres of 0.11% U308. Investors liked these, with Aurora ending the week up C$0.15 to C$9.90.

News that the work program on the Dios Padre silver mine in Sonora, Mexico has not been definitive in outlining sufficient economic resources to make a positive production decision sent shareholders of First Majestic Resource running for the exists. The company ended the week down C$1.61 at C$3.25.

Less than a week after giving the blessing to Phelps Dodge’s takeover bid, management at nickel giant Inco called off a C$19-billion takeover agreement, paving the way for Brazil’s Companhia Vale do Rio Doce to take the company. “It was very clear from the proxies we received that Inco shareholders were not going to support the Phelps Dodge transaction, so the two companies agreed that it was in our respective best interests to move on,” management noted. Inco added a modest C$0.04 on the week to close at C$85.90.

Bear Creek Mining’s Corani discovery in southern Peru got bigger as the company tabled a 27% jump in the overall contained silver resource. The property now hosts 257 million oz. silver in 140 million tonnes grading 56.9 grams silver per tonne, 0.9% lead and 0.51% zinc in the measured and indicated category. Additional inferred resources total 60 million oz. silver in 37.9 million tonnes averaging 49.3 grams silver, 0.66% lead and 0.28% zinc. Little wonder that Silver Wheaton acquired 2.3 million additional shares in Bear Creek and now holds a 19.1% equity stake in the junior. Bear Creek was the big winner by ending the week up C$1.41 at C$9.50, while Silver Wheaton closed at C$12.27, down C$0.14.

Aber Diamond tallied a record-high profit of $34.3 million for the second quarter, up from $19 million last year as higher production and retailing growth added to its bottom line. Earnings for the quarter ended July 31 amounted to 59 cents a share, up from 33 cents per share a year ago, while sales revenue rose to $140 million from $115.7 million. Aber ended the week up C$0.30 at C$40.10.

An intercept of 0.79 gram gold per tonne and 0.55% copper over 136 metres from its Pinaya project in southern Peru propelled shares of Acero-Martin Exploration higher. The company ended the week up C$0.13 at C$1.05.

On the gold mining side, Kinross Gold dropped C$0.29 to close at C$15.50, while Barrick Gold, which remains locked in legal battles with NovaGold, saw its shares dive C$1.72 to close at C$35.18 and Goldcorp, which is in the midst of a takeover of Glamis Gold, closed at C$30.38, up C$0.12.

The falling price of gold and other commodities put the junior market back on its heels this past week. Will this trend continue? Only time will tell so stay tuned.