U.S. equities lost ground after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting published on Apr. 3 suggested that the central bank will not introduce more monetary stimulus. Markets were also dragged lower on renewed concerns about economic recovery in Europe after a poorly received bond auction in Spain. U.S. markets were closed on Apr. 6 for Good Friday—the same day weak U.S. payroll data showed that only 120,000 jobs were added in March, below market expectations and the smallest increase since October. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the abbreviated trading week down 151.9 points or 1.15% at 13,060.14 while the S&P 500 index lost 10.39 points or 0.74% to close at 1,398.08. The Philadelphia Gold and Silver index was off 10.16 points or 5.79% at 165.30.
High-grade assay results from drilling at the Don Ese North deposit in Mexico sent the shares of Paramount Gold and Silver up 21¢ or 9.2% to US$2.47. Highlights included 23.1 metres of 5.83 grams gold per tonne and 245.95 grams silver per tonne, including 7.3 metres of 13.6 grams gold and 926.1 grams silver, and 26.1 metres of 3.88 grams gold and 275 grams silver. The Don Ese North deposit, part of the company’s San Miguel project, is less than 1 km east of the Guadalupe underground mine operated by Coeur d’Alene Mines. Paramount expects to release a new resource estimate for the entire San Miguel project that incorporates 2011 and early 2012 drill results in the second quarter of this year.
Shares of Aluminum Corporation of China or Chalco rose 10¢ to US$11.97 on news it will make a proportional takeover bid for up to 60% of Mongolian coal producer SouthGobi Resources’ issued and outstanding shares. Chalco also signed a co-operative agreement with SouthGobi that includes an off-take clause. SouthGobi will have the right to offer up to 100% of its saleable coal to Chalco, and Chalco will be obligated to buy the coal at market prices for a 24-month period. Chalco will help SouthGobi procure electricity for its Mongolian operations through a direct connection to grid power, or by developing a power plant. Chalco will also support SouthGobi’s coal-haul highway project.
Santa Fe Gold gained 3¢ to 92¢ after becoming the first company in recent years to launch commercial-scale operations for a precious metals mine in New Mexico. The junior announced the start of commercial production at its Summit silver-gold mine on Apr. 4. At full production levels, direct operating costs are forecast to average $364 per oz. of gold-equivalent produced over the life of the mine.