STOCK MARKETS — VSE composite index continues its downward trend — Indonesian explorers bear brunt of change in investor sentiment

To say this has not been a good year for junior companies exploring mineral prospects in Indonesia would be the ultimate understatement. The onset of spring saw the Busang gold deposit dissolve into the jungle, which left juniors working nearby with little chance of raising money to finance ongoing work programs.

To add insult to injury, the Indonesian government in effect pulled the rug out from under the feet of foreign mining companies seeking to explore and develop mineral projects in the country. New rules make it possible for the Indonesian governnment to expropriate at least 10% — or more, depending on size and economic importance — of any discoveries made in the country. (At presstime, reports suggested the government was considering backing down on the controversial requirements.)

Despite the bad news from Indonesia, several juniors working elsewhere in the world managed to post gains over the report period ended June 30. Markets were closed on July 1, a national holiday.

Overall markets remained weak, and the Vancouver Stock Exchange composite index closed the report period at 865.37, off 6.7 points from the previous report period. Moving in the opposite direction, however, was the Alberta Stock Exchange, whose combined value index was up 19.55 points, closing at 2,369.66.

Kenrich Mining posted a modest gain after announcing it had optioned its wholly owned Corey claims near the Eskay Creek gold-silver mine in British Columbia to the mine’s operator, TSE-listed Prime Resources. Kenrich was up 5 cents to close at 0.85 cents.

Diamond explorer Winspear Resources rose 35 cents to $1.75 after releasing results from a drill program on a property being explored by partner Aber Resources in the Camsell Lake region of the Northwest Territories.

Reward Mining took another tumble, owing to the fact that recent assay results from a Bolivian copper project were overstated by a factor of five.

The overstatment was blamed on instrumentation problems experienced at an independent lab. Reward closed at 42 cents for a drop of $1.48 from the previous week. Partner George Resources also suffered from the fiasco, slipping 57 cents to close at 26 cents.

Coromandel Resources slid 27 cents to 38 cents after announcing the latest assays from nine more reverse-Circulation holes drilled at its Wildcat gold project in Nevada. Though a resource figure had been calculated by previous owners, the grade was less then 1 gram gold. One of the owners had postulated a maar diatreme dome complex high-grade feeder model for the property, but so far any such feeder zones have managed to elude Coromandel’s drill program.

Francisco Gold, which is exploring a gold project in Mexico, was up 50 cents at $22. The company recently added a third drill rig to its Sauzal gold project in Mexico, where 15 holes have been completed to date. Results are expected within the coming weeks.

On active trading, Arizona Star was up 15 cents at $8.85. The junior and partner Bema Gold have huge — and growing — gold and copper-gold resources at the Aldebaran property in Chile. A question remains, however: how economic are those resources in light of the current price outlook for gold and copper, and in light of mining and processing costs?


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