VANCOUVER — The S&P TSX Venture Composite fell 52.2 points or 3.9% during the shortened Oct. 9-12 trading period, eventually closing at 1,292.81 points. The week started out on a sombre note, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cutting its growth forecast for the world economy by 0.2% to 3.3% in 2012.
The IMF cited “sluggish growth and uncertainty” amongst advanced economies as a major concern, which in turn has affected developing countries through “trade and financial channels.” The report was critical of Canada’s household debt levels and elevated housing prices.
Falling commodity prices also took a toll on Canadian markets. Gold was off US$37 per oz. and closed the week at US$1,739. Base metals did not fare much better, with copper dropping 4¢ to US$3.69 per lb. Brent crude oil finished the week with a 56¢ decline, closing at $115.16 per barrel. The International Energy Agency (IEA) cut its five-year global oil demand projection by 500,000 barrels per day due to lower consumption from the world’s industrial economies.
Vancouver-based explorer Ascot Resources jumped 25¢ during the week before closing at $1.39 per share. On Oct. 10 the company released drill results from its Premier gold-silver property located north of Stewart, in B.C.’s Cassiar mining district. The historic Premier gold mine produced 2 million oz. of gold and 42.8 million oz. of silver before operations were closed in 1996.
Ascot’s exploration program at premier focuses on three targets, including: the Big Missouri, Martha Ellen, and Sparky zones. Drilling encountered wide-spread gold and silver mineralization in all three areas, with highlights including: 18 metres averaging 1.99 grams gold per tonne from 165 metres depth in hole 12-373; 33 metres grading 1.17 grams gold and 62 grams silver from 302 metres depth in hole 12-381; and 21 metres of 1.15 grams gold and 50 grams silver from 172 metres depth in hole 12-391.
Yukon-focused explorer Goldstrike Resources plunged 46¢ per share or 61% en route to a 29¢ weekly close after releasing results from a 2012 field exploration program at its wholly-owned Plateau gold property in the Yukon Territory. The company continued to release high-grade grab samples — highlighted by 530 grams gold from a rock grab at its Plateau South target — but a scout drilling campaign failed to return significant gold intersections to accompany high grades at surface.
Prospect drilling at the company’s Goldstack zone on its Plateau South property targeted surface mineralization defined by a composite channel cut that carried 14.26 grams gold over 2.5 metres. A scout hole at the site cut 9 metres averaging 0.7 grams gold.
Three additional scout holes at Goldstrike’s Gold Rush zone on its Plateau North property also failed to explain a large surface gold anomaly that returned 26.8 grams gold during soil sampling. The company reports it plans to use additional high-resolution geophysics and further ground programs to identify alternate drill targets for its next campaign.
Comstock Metals also had a tough run following the release of Yukon drill results. The Vancouver-based gold explorer dropped 21¢ or 38% before closing out the week at 34¢ per share. Comstock released two drill holes from a program at its QV project in the Yukon’s White Gold district. Though the initial results confirmed the presence of gold mineralization, markets were not overly enthusiastic, with results including: 82 metres grading 1.02 grams gold from 20 metres depth in hole 12-001; and 56.4 metres averaging 1.28 grams gold from 18 metres depth in hole 12-002. Comstock is finishing up an 8-hole program over 1,334 metres designed to test strong gold enrichment discovered during trenching at its VG zone.