Juniors struggle amid weaker metals

Vancouver — Junior mining stocks showed weakness over the Easter-shortened trading period March 22-28 in the face of weaker prices for precious and base metals. The TSX Venture Exchange lost 76.42 points, or nearly 4%, to finish at 1902.35.

The price slump occurred as the American dollar showed strength against the euro. New York spot gold slipped to US$425.16 per oz., or about $5 per oz., which represents a 1% decline over the period. Silver followed suit, losing nearly 3% to close at US$6.86 per oz., while platinum fell 1% to close at US$859 and palladium slipped 3% to finish at US$192 per oz.

Among base metals, zinc lost nearly 4% to close at US59 per lb., copper slid a few pennies to close at US$1.52, and nickel fell 1% to end at US$7.24.

There were 23 new 52-week highs versus 49 new 52-week lows.

Vancouver-based Tyler Resources was the most active, having traded more than 10 million shares. The junior tacked on 29, or 21%, to close at $1.79 after reporting the discovery of high-grade gold in drill core pulled from the the Bahuerachi property in Mexico. Drilling returned 1.88 metres grading 44.5 grams gold and 49.5 grams silver per tonne, even though the property is being explored mainly for copper.

Second most active was Anooraq Resources, which gained 2 to close at $1.32 on 7.7 million shares. The company recently filed a preliminary economic assessment of the Drenthe-Overysel polymetallic deposits in South Africa, which Anooraq is exploring jointly with Anglo American Platinum.

North American Gem traded in excess of 6.4 million shares. The stock added 5.5, or 42%, to finish at 18.5. Recently, the company agreed to acquire 800 sq. km in southern Alberta that are prospective for uranium. The four targets are Willow Creek, Milk River, St. Mary River and Ravenscrag.

Starfield Resources traded up 5 on a volume of 5.5 million shares. The company raised $3 million through an exercise of warrants after announcing good recoveries for platinum group metals at its Ferguson Lake property in Nunavut.

Freewest Resources closed up a penny to 35 on a volume of 3.7 million shares. The company acquired the Home Lake zinc-copper occurrence, near the Sungold base metal discovery in the Shebandowan greenstone belt of northwestern Ontario.

On a volume of 3 million shares, China Diamond lost 2 to close at an even dime. Surface sampling on the 703 property has returned some diamonds. The company has inked a deal with a Chinese provincial agency, giving China Diamond greater access to gold-copper exploration opportunities in Shandong province.

Vaaldiam Resources was down 20 to 47, a drop of 30% over the trading period. The company announced it had selected nine kimberlite pipes on its Pimenta Bueno diamond property in Rondonia state, Brazil, for drill testing.

Another price mover was GWR Resources, which was up 10 to 40 on relatively light volume. GWR is pursuing surface work on its Lac La Hache property, southeast of Williams Lake, B.C.


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