U.S. equity markets in the first four days of the week turned positive on optimism lawmakers could avert the fiscal cliff of tax increases and spending cuts. The Dow Jones Industrial Index advanced 176.71 points or 1.35% to 13,311.72 and the S&P 500 climbed 30.11 points or 2.13% to 1,443.69. The Nasdaq was up 79.06 points or 2.66% at 3,050.39. But the buoyant mood shifted suddenly after markets closed on Dec. 20, when House Republican leaders canceled a planned vote on a tax-cut bill because they said they didn’t have enough votes to pass it. By mid-morning on Dec. 21, U.S. equities had started to slide on the news.
For the Dec. 17-20 trading period, shares of Cameco Corp. were up US$1.40 or 7.2% to US$20.83. The Saskatchewan-based uranium producer announced on Dec. 18 that it had completed its acquisition of the Yeelirrie uranium project in Western Australia for US$430 million. Yeelirrie is one of Australia's largest undeveloped uranium deposits and is about 650 kilometres northeast of Perth and about 750 kilometres south of Cameco's Kintyre exploration project. Cameco, one of the world’s largest uranium producers, purchased the Yeelirrie development project from BHP Billiton and has received all the approvals it needs for the acquisition from the government of Western Australia and the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board. Yeelirrie is a near-surface calcrete-style deposit, amenable to open-pit mining.
Shares of Timberline Resources, which is exploring advanced-stage gold properties in the western United States, plunged 43.3% to US$0.20 per share after management announced an equity financing of 5 million shares at US$0.20 apiece. The proceeds of the offering will be used for exploration at its flagship Lookout Mountain project in Nevada and for its pipeline of earlier-stage projects on its South Eureka property and elsewhere. The proceeds will also be used for working capital and acquisitions. The junior also holds a 50% carried interest in the Butte Highlands joint-venture in Montana where gold production is expected to start in mid-2013.
Allied Nevada Corp. announced on Dec. 17 that it had received approval from the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection to build a 130,000-ton-per day mill at Hycroft. The company expects to start pouring concrete for the foundation in the first quarter of 2013, complete the mill in the second half of 2014 and start full milling operations in the first quarter of 2015. The markets appeared unimpressed, however, and the shares fell US$1.20 to US$29.05.
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