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DAILY NEWS Jan 2, 2013 3:52 PM - 0 comments

Venture climbs over Christmas week

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VANCOUVER - Christmas kept things fairly quiet on the S&P TSX Venture Composite Index over the Dec. 24-28 trading period, though the board did notch small gains each day to end the session up 24.1 points at 1,201.84. Trading volumes were subdued, averaging 49 million trades per day.

One of the most actively-traded stocks during the session was Copper Fox Minerals, which saw its share price tumble almost 24% in three days to $0.81. A feasibility study for the company's Schaft Creek copper project in northwestern British Columbia pegged capital costs at $3.26 billion, an investment that would build a 130,000-tonne-per-day mine producing 4.9 billion lbs. copper, 4.2 million oz. gold, 214.9 million lbs. of molybdenum, and 25.1 million oz. silver over a 21-year mine life.

The holidays were much better for Kaminak Gold. In mid-December the junior announced a 3.2-million ounce inferred gold resource at its Coffee project in the Yukon but investors remained nonplussed, leaving KAM shares trading sideways for the next week. Then, on the last two days of the year, Kaminak got the reward it sought for its hard work: its share price bumped up 21% to reach C$1.62.

Orefinders Resources found its feet over the shortened holiday week after debuting on the exchange just a few days before. The junior raised $5 million in its initial public offering, funds it will spend exploring the Mirado gold project near Kirkland Lake, Ontario. Mirado saw more than 40,000 metres of surface and underground drilling from 1938 to 1987, though mineralization remains completely untested below 150 metres depth. Orefinders' share price spiked to 90¢ before settling back to 60¢.

Farther east, Slam Exploration drilled nine new holes at its Menneval gold project in New Brunswick and each one hit into a mineralized quartz vein six to 29 metres below surface. Assay results are still pending but Slam reported visible gold in one intercept. Hesitant investors are awaiting numbers and left Slam's share price unchanged.

In Colombia, Bellhaven Copper & Gold expanded the limits of mineralization at its La Mina gold project with eight new holes. Five holes tested geochemical targets north of known resource, returning such intercepts at 79 metres grading 0.31 gram gold per tonne, 0.1% copper, and 2.1 grams silver per tonne, while two other holes undercut historic mine workings to the west and returned only short mineralized hits. The market was neither impressed nor dismayed, keeping Bellhaven even at 14¢.

Finally, a battle is brewing within Auro Resources. Concerned shareholder and well-known Haywood broker David Elliot is promoting a dissent slate of nominees for Auro's board, arguing the nominees proposed by current management "are not in shareholders' best interests" but would only further entrench a management team that has all but driven the company into the ground. He has just cause for concern: Auro's share price is down 90% in two years and now management wants to raise $700,000 through a financing at 1.5¢ with a two-cent full warrant for five years. Auro's management responded to Elliot with a strongly-worded press release pointing the finger back at him, saying Elliot played a role in determining the previous board and that his proposed slate of dissident nominees bears a worse record then theirs. There are also several lawsuits underway between the parties. 

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