In one of the most brutal and volatile trading weeks in recent memory, the S&P/TSX Composite Index fell 571.5 points, or 3.7%, to 15,034.53. The downturn — which started in the U.S. with two 1,000-point drops on the Dow during five trading sessions — ricocheted around the world. The S&P/TSX Global Mining Index dropped 4.8% to 58.27 and the S&P/TSX Global Gold Index plunged 7.2% to 163.86. Spot gold fell US$16.20 per oz., or 1.2%, to finish at US$1,315.70 per ounce.
An update on the permitting process at its Pebble deposit in southwestern Alaska helped drive up the shares of Northern Dynasty Minerals by 28¢ to $1.32, in a 26.9% increase. The company reported on Feb. 5 that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has picked AECOM as the third-party contractor that will support them in completing an environmental impact statement (EIS). AECOM — an integrated engineering, environmental, construction and infrastructure development firm — has a history of providing compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other regulatory support services for developing large mineral and oil and gas resource projects in Alaska, and elsewhere in the United States. AECOM’s recent experience with NEPA EIS permitting reviews include Alaska’s Donlin Gold and Chuitna coal projects, the Midas Gold Stibnite project in Idaho and the Lone Star mine in Arizona.
Gold Standard Ventures, which is advancing its Railroad-Pinion gold project in Nevada, saw its shares climb 17¢ to $2.19. On Feb. 5 the company upsized a previously announced bought-deal financing with a syndicate of underwriters to $25 million, from $20 million. Goldcorp and OceanaGold will also complete a non-brokered private placement on the same terms as the upsized offering. Goldcorp has agreed to increase its ownership in Gold Standard (post offering) to 9.99%. OceanaGold, which previously committed to $4.4 million of the private placement, can increase its participation to keep its 15.7% ownership position.
An investment by Goldcorp sent shares of Mawson Resources up 12¢ to 55¢. Goldcorp is making an $8.1-million strategic investment in the junior, whose flagship assets are the Rajapalot and Rompas gold projects in Finland. Under the private placement, Goldcorp is subscribing for 18 million units at 45¢ per unit. Each unit will consist of a common share and one-half of one common share purchase warrant. Each whole warrant is exercisable to acquire one more common share at 65¢ per common share for two years. When the deal closes, Goldcorp will become an insider with 18 million common shares and 9 million warrants, representing 12.7% of Mawson’s issued and outstanding common shares on a non-diluted basis, and 17.9% on a partly diluted basis, assuming full exercise of the Goldcorp warrants.