VANCOUVER — The S&P TSX Venture Composite Index dropped 3.5% or 40.97 points during the shortened Feb. 19-22 trading period before closing out the week at 1,144.68 points. Declining commodity prices continue to put downward pressure on Canadian markets, even as Italy's pending elections stirred renewed uncertainty around the European debt crisis.
Statistics Canada reported that the Canadian consumer price index registered a 0.5% year-on-year increase in January, marking a second monthly decline in inflation and the lowest rate since late 2009. Meanwhile the Canadian dollar fell to a seven-month low at US97.82¢ as concerns mount that the economy will continue to lose momentum in 2013.
Metal prices continued to struggle through the week, with April contracts for copper dropping 15¢ before closing at US$3.54 per lbs. Gold also lost ground despite a late-week rally, with April contracts dropping 2% or US$33 per oz. en route to a US$1580.70 weekly close, while contracts for crude oil dropped $2.60 per barrel before closing at US$93.33.
Calgary-based precious metal explorer Teras Resources was a mover on the value-added side this week, jumping 14¢ per share en route to an 85¢ close. On Feb. 19 the company released results from a geochemical program at its wholly-owned Cahuilla gold-silver project in Imperial County, California.
Teras was targeting an area roughly one km northeast of its current indicated resource of 63.6 million tonnes grading 0.43 gram gold per tonne and 4.8 grams silver per tonne for 1.02 million oz. contained gold and 11.86 million oz. contained silver.
The company collected 130 surface geochemical samples along the northeast extension of the Modoc Fault in a bid to identify new drill targets and increase Cahuilla’s resource potential. All samples were anomalous in precious metal mineralization, with highlights including surface values of 1.8 gram gold and 37 grams silver.
Montreal-based junior TomaGold gained some momentum on the back of exploration results at its Monster Lake gold property 44km southwest of Chibougamau, Quebec. The company traded 7.2 million shares during the week and jumped 96% or 11¢ before closing at a yearly high of 23¢ per share.
TomaGold released the first three holes of a 2,500-metre drill program at Monster Lake aimed at establishing gold potential at depth in its 325 Zone. The company is off to a promising start with hole M-13-93 cutting 5.85 metres grading 33.6 grams gold from 217 metres vertical depth, hole M-13-94 intersecting 5.3 metres averaging 11.5 grams gold from 187 metres vertical depth, and hole M-13-95 cutting 7.2 metres of 42 grams gold from 278 metres vertical depth.
The company also notes the presence of trace chalcopyrite and sphalerite, as well as semi-massive pyrrhotite accompanied by intense black chlorite alteration, which could indicate proximity to a volcanogenic-massive-sulfide type setting.
On the energy front, Kelowna-based Fission Energy enjoyed a 10¢ per share jump after releasing result froms hole PLS-13-038 collared at its Patterson Lake South joint venture in Saskatchewan. The company ended the week at 94¢ per share.
The drill hole location was based on anomalous results of a recently completed radon in water anomaly, and returned a 57-metre wide zone characterized by variable radioactivity from weak to very strong throughout. PLS-13-038 was located 385 metres east of hole PLS12-022, which cut 8.5 metres grading 1.07% U308, and represents a new discovery for Fission on trend with strike from known mineralization.
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