Optimism that politicians south of the border would come to a resolution regarding the impending fiscal cliff helped hold up equities north of the border. The TSX Composite Index was up 107 points for the Dec. 17-20 period, closing at 12,388.71 points, although fresh concerns that an agreement wouldn't be reached in time was putting pressure on equities at press time.
Gold continued to trend downward as the yellow metal was off US$53 to US$1,645.90 per oz., while the Global Gold Index fell 8 points to 290.6 points
The diversified miners fared slightly better thanks to positive economic signs out of China and the Capped Metals & Mining Index was up 8 points to 996.62. That move came in spite of the price for copper being 14¢ lower at US$3.54 per lb.
A big win for the pro-nuclear Liberal Democratic Party in Japan helped push uranium stocks higher. The party ran on a platform that argued for the partial reversal of the anti-nuclear energy policy implemented by the Democratic Party of Japan after the Fukushima disaster in March of 2011. Uranium companies large and small took part in the rally, as Cameco shares were up $1.32 to $20.60, Bannerman Resources' share price climbed 36% to 10¢ and Paladin Energy was up 20% to $1.13.
Mercator Minerals secured debt financing and saw its market cap climb. The company executed an agreement with RMB Australia Holdings Limited for $30 million and immediately drew down $27.3 million. Full payment is due at the end of 2015 and interest on the loan is LIBOR plus 7.0%. The financing is the first step in its attempt at restructuring of its debt connected to the development of its El Pilar deposit in Mexico's Sonora state. Mercator currently produces copper, molybdenum and silver at the Mineral Park Mine in Arizona and its shares finished the period 21% higher at 49 cents.
It has been a turbulent time for Centamin and its Sukari mine in Egypt, but things are finally starting to normalize for the company. After being forced to halt operations at the mine due to a lack of diesel and export issues, both of which were connected to disputes with the new political regime in the country, things are back on track. Production at the mine has now been restarted and the company's shares were up 20% to 66 cents as a result.
The news wasn't so good for Cline Mining. The company's share price was off 51% to 9 cents after announcing that it couldn't make a scheduled semi-annual interest payment. The situation left the affected bondholders to scramble for some reclamation of their investment as the payment was for $2.5-million and was connected to a $50-million senior secured bond. Cline has metallurgical coal interests in Colorado and is suing the B.C. government for loss of rights under coal licences in the province.
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