TSX Venture soldiers on, Oct. 29-Nov. 2

VANCOUVER — The S&P TSX Venture Composite Index jumped 19 points or 1.44% during the Oct. 29 – Nov. 2  trading period before closing the week at 1,310.03 points.

The Canadian dollar finished the week at 100.45¢ U.S., while the economy added 1,800 jobs in October to maintain a 7.4% unemployment rate. The price for gold declined US$37 to US$1,675 per oz., while copper fell 3¢ to close the week at US$3.48 per lb.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) released its Junior Mine 2012 report, which features a round-up of the top 100 junior mining companies on the Venture exchange. The report was highlighted by a decreased availability of debt and equity financing, as well as an industry-wide fall in market capitalization.

According to PwC, aggregate equity financing decreased by 41% to $1.6 billion year-on-year, while the total market cap for the companies in the top 100 dropped by 43%. PwC also noted the lack of initial public offerings (IPOs), with only four mining IPOs closing on the Venture during the third quarter.

Besieged B.C.-based outfit Pacific Booker Minerals gained 22¢ to close the week at $3.84 per share. On Oct. 31, the company released a statement in response to a provincial government decision to deny permits for its Morrison Lake copper-gold project outside of Smithers.

Pacific Booker notes it has been working on Morrison Lake since 1998, and outlined a series of points from an Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) report, cited by Minister of Environment Terry Lake in his decision. Specific concerns addressed in Pacific Booker’s response include: impacts on a genetically unique sockeye salmon population in the Skeena River; potential for long-term environmental liabilities for the province; and insufficient data surrounding the behavior of nearby lakes.

Gold explorer Maudore Minerals fell 26¢ or 9% during the period, following the release of an updated resource at its Osbell deposit located 150 km north of Val-d’Or, Quebec. The company closed the week at $2.80 per share.

Maudore released an open-pit indicated resource for its Osborne zone that totalled 8.4 million tonnes grading 2 grams gold per tonne for 544,250 contained oz. at a 0.5 gram gold cut-off. The Osbell project holds an additional 5 million inferred tonnes grading 2.7 grams gold for 428,000 contained oz. in ground at its Osborne, Bell, and Envelope zones.

Maudore noted that its open-pit shell encompasses 99.7% of its total indicated resources and intends to use its geological model as a foundation for a preliminary economic assessment. The company has proposed 44,000 metres of regional exploration drilling in 2013 at its Comtois property, which includes the Osbell deposit.

Aggregate producer Athabasca Minerals gained 36¢ or 20% en route to a $2.21 weekly close. The company received a boost from third quarter results that included net income totalling US$2 million and a 32.5% jump in total aggregate tonnage sold during the quarter. Athabasca has seen its total sales jump 61% so far in 2012, as aggregate demand at the company’s Susan Lake pit has “significantly exceeded” last year’s volumes.

Athabasca also reported that its Kearl pit has now been outfitted with on-site aggregate crushing equipment and operating crews. The company expects Kearl to produce inventory for sale during the fourth quarter. Athabasca operates both the Susan Lake and Kearl pits north of Fort McMurray, Alberta.


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