Vancouver – The S&P TSX Venture Composite Index remained relatively flat during the February 27 to March 2 trading period. The index fell 10.62 points to close the week at 1,678.90 on average trade volumes of 120 million shares per day. Values fluctuated midweek on volumes in excess of 130 million shares per session as gold suffered its largest weekly loss since December, dropping in excess of US$96 per oz. before closing at US$1,712.40 to end the week. Oil prices declined to US$106.70 per barrel.
Batero Gold fell 53% on 19.6-million share volume, after a disappointing initial resource estimate at its Batero-Quinchia project in Risaralda, Colombia under-whelmed investors. Company shares dropped from a high of $2.56 down to a close of $1.15 and eliminated over 50% of a $120-million market cap, which now stands at $59.2 million.
La Ronge Gold powered its way to a 46¢ gain, closing at 80¢ to end the week on the back of 11-million share trade volume. The company enjoyed market enthusiasm fueled by preliminary assays from their Preview SW property in north-eastern Saskatchewan. Result highlights include: 214 metres carrying 1.63 grams gold starting from 11 metres depth; and 3.4 metres averaging 21.7 grams gold from 46 metres.
Woulfe Mining jumped 8¢ following a $35-million investment by Iscar Metalworks (IMC) in its Sandong tungsten mine in South Korea. Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway owns an 80% stake in IMC, fueling investor speculation that the major fund player may be optimistic about the venture. The news heightened trader interest in Vancouver-based Woulfe, with 11.4 million shares changing hands through the week.
Avino Silver and Gold jumped 8.9% to a close of $2.28 on 3.8-million share trade volumes following positive news on its Avino silver mine in Mexico’s Sierra Madres. The company was forced to shut-down operations at the mine in 2001 due to weak silver prices. Avino announced an agreement last week with the privately held Minerales de Avino. The company is in the process of applying for necessary licenses to expand production, and upgrade existing mill infrastructure in order to get the mine back to its full capacity of 1,250 tonnes per day.
Trelawney Mining and Exploration saw share prices plummet roughly 21% on trade volume of 1.2-million shares. The company closed at $2.35 to end the week. A Feb.24 resource estimate at the Côté Lake gold deposit on the Chester property near Gogama, Ont. reported a 10% drop in grade, triggering a decline in market enthusiasm.
Verde Potash shares increased 36¢ this week on trade volume of 5.2 million shares following an updated preliminary economic assessment for the production of conventional potash on its Cerrado Verde project in Brazil. Total capital expenditures are projected at US$2.3 billion. The mine would carry a 27% internal rate of return, and an after-tax net present value of US$3.4 billion with a 10 percent discount rate.
Luna Gold was up 24¢ on 7.8-million share volumes to a $3.30 close after narrowing year-by-year fourth quarter losses by nearly 98%. Luna operates the Aurizona mine in north-east Brazil, and recorded a net loss of US$109,100, compared to US$4.9 million over the same period in 2010. The company anticipates completion of the first two phases of an expansion program in 2012 aimed at increasing gold recovery and stream-lining project operations.