Juniors beaten down in thin trading


Junior mining stocks showed weakness, with daily volume averaging only 33.5 million shares on the TSX Venture Exchange, during the period May 3-9. However, metal prices held steady and the S&P-TSX Venture Exchange Index was up 1% as it eked out a 20-point gain to finish the week at 1697.47.

Aurora Platinum was the volume leader, rising 93%, or 84, to close at $1.80 on 3.5 million shares. FNX Mining‘s all-share bid for the junior propelled its stock higher, so that it was the top percentage gainer and value leader. The offer valued Aurora at $39 million, or $1.83 per share, while FNX rose to a 52-week high of $9.70. Aurora has several nickel-copper and platinum group metal projects in Ontario and Quebec, plus a 60% stake in the Falconbridge mine.

Freewest Resources gained a nickel to finish at 33 on a volume of 2.8 million shares. The company raised $1.1 million for projects in central Canada, including the Sungold base metal project near Thunder Bay, Ont.

Vancouver-based Anooraq Resources lost 11 to close at $1.01 on 2.2 million shares. The company is advancing its platinum group metals projects in South Africa’s Bushveld complex and recently made changes to its board of directors to comply with black empowerment requirements.

The biggest percentage loser was Eaglecrest Explorations, which slid 36%, or 13.5, to close at 23.5 on 1.7 million shares. The company has trucked all the major components of the gold recovery plant to its San Simon property in Bolivia, with additional items due to arrive in mid-May. The 150-tonne-per-day recovery plant should be finished by mid-June.

Entre Gold, which has optioned ground to Ivanhoe Mines in Mongolia, tacked on a dime to close at $1.25 as 1.7 million shares changed hands. Results from Ivanhoe’s drilling near the edge of its colossal Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold deposit suggest that mineralization continues unabated beyond a major fault.

Reaching a 52-week high was Maple Minerals, which gained 28 to close at $1.63 on 1.5 million shares. Maple and partner East West Resource have found that several untested strong electromagnetic conductors occur near copper mineralization in outcrops on the Hamlin and Deaty Creek properties near Thunder Bay. The eastern portion of Hamlin and Deaty Creek covers a felsic-mafic contact that appears to extend southwest toward a copper-zinc find on Freewest’s claims. The company believes the contact is similar to the Vanguard horizon, 15 km to the northeast, where two volcanogenic massive sulphide deposits occur.

Victoria-based diamond explorer Kensington Resources tacked on 30 to close at $2.19 on a volume of 1.5 million shares. Results from De Beers’ bulk-sample testing for microdiamonds returned 658 microdiamonds from 496 kg of kimberlite core and included one macrodiamond. The sample contained three core holes that targeted Kimberlite Body 140-141 at Fort la Corne, Sask. The main target was the higher-grade breccia zone, identified in 2002.


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