Western markets coast on previous gains

The venture markets took a breather during the report period Nov. 5-11, with the S&P-TSX Venture Exchange composite index rising a modest 11.13 points to finish at 1,602.48.

Probe Mines made the biggest percentage gain during the period, rising 18 to close at 25. A private placement of 2 million shares at 6 was arranged, and the company says it is looking for new projects. The Harry Hodge-led junior announced it had intersected semi-massive and massive sulphide zones on its Serpent Creek property, near Thunder Bay, Ont., but that copper and zinc values were not significant and it planned no further work.

Another big mover was American Gold Capital, which jumped $1.35 to $2.50. The company has agreed to buy the Metates gold-silver exploration property in Durango state, Mexico, for 12 million shares, from Wheaton River Minerals and Glamis Gold. Metates, a large low-grade disseminated gold-silver deposit, was most recently worked by Cambior, which concluded a mine was uneconomic at 1997 metal prices. American Gold Capital is lining up financing to re-evaluate the economics of the project, and to evaluate possible metallurgical technologies.

Metco Resources rose 6 to 13 on a volume of 3.5 million shares. The company announced positive geochemical results from its Lac La Touche gold-silver exploration project in the Labrador Trough region of Quebec.

Phosphate developer MCK Mining doubled to 20. It has taken new management on board and plans to acquire a portfolio of new projects.

Majestic Gold rose 48 to $1.34. It started drilling its Ceske Brezovo gold prospect in Slovakia in October but has not yet released any results. However, a brokered private placement of 2.5 million units priced at 60 per unit has just closed. Those shares are subject to a 4-month hold period.

Another company with a financing was St. Jude Resources, which tacked on 46 to close at $2.40. St. Jude will sell 7.5 million units at $2, with each unit consisting of a share and half of a purchase warrant; a full warrant is exercisable at $3 for five years.

Among the most active stocks was Sparton Resources, which fell back 13 to close at $1.12 on a volume of 6.3 million shares. Sparton had touched $1.70 during the week on speculation about its recent acquisition, the Luxi gold project in China’s Yunnan province.

Another Chinese explorer was on the most-active list: AFCAN Mining was up 22 to close at 60 with 6.1 million shares moving. The company recently concluded a $10-million private placement and a separate, $3-million placement with two investment funds and a private individual.

Axmin was another heavily traded stock, with 5.1 million shares changing hands. The African explorer rose 33 to $1.39. High River Gold has made a positive decision on development of the Taparko and Bouroum gold projects in Burkina Faso, in which Axmin is a joint-venture partner.

Pacific Minerals, which had been riding high on its Chinese gold and platinum-group-element projects, as well as its association with Ivanhoe Minerals, hit a new high of $5.19 on its way to a loss of $1.66 on the week. Pacific closed at $3.14 on a volume of 4.3 million shares, and the public troubles of Ivanhoe can’t have helped.


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