Vancouver – Canada’s birthday celebrations did little to lift the dark cloud hanging over the S&P-TSX Venture Composite Index over the June 28-July 2 trading period: the board lingered in positive territory for just one day, losing significant ground during the other three days of the shortened week. By the end of the week the Index was down 73.77 points at 1384.95, marking the first time in seven months that the Venture has finished below 1400.
The market’s fall pushed 190 Venture-listed companies to new 52-week share price lows, while just nine managed to climb to new highs. Daily trading volumes were reasonable, averaging 88.4 million.
The battle for Spider Resources sparked a rush of trading for the junior, which moved 31.6 million shares over the week to rise 2.5¢ to 18.5¢. Its new price is just below the 19¢ Cliffs Natural Resources will now be paying for each share in a takeover. Spider shares a 53% stake in the Big Daddy chromite project in northwest Ontario with KWG Resources and the two agreed merge in response to a hostile takeover bid for Spider from the third Big Daddy stakeholder, Cliffs. But then Cliffs upped its offer from 13¢ to 16.5¢ to 19¢, eventually trumping KWG’s merger offer.
Two significant announcements kept Coltstar Ventures on positive ground all week, climbing 24.5¢ or 60% to reach 65¢. First the company inked a deal to acquire Ridge Exploration, an Australian company majority owned by D’Aguilar Gold. Coltstar will issue 10 million shares, with a nominal value of 35¢ a piece, to get its hands on Ridge’s 3,200 sq. km of iron ore and titanium prospective lands in Queensland. Then the junior staked 958 sq. km of ground in the Northwest Territories, contiguous with Chevron Canada‘s Crest huge iron deposit.
Another set of drill results from the Montauban property in Quebec returned promising mineralization for Excel Gold Mining, such as 8 metres of 3.13 grams gold per tonne and 13.7 grams silver per tonne, starting 5.5 metres down hole 38 and including 3 metres carrying 3.8% zinc and 2.16% copper, and 9 metres of 4.1 grams gold and 16.49 grams silver, starting 10.5 metres down hole 40 and including 3 metres of 2.56% copper. The property is home to the historic Montauban mine.
An updated feasibility study on the AK6 diamond project in Botswana defined a 36.2-million tonne probable reserve containing 6.3 million carats of diamonds within an open-pit shell extending to 32 metres depth. Lucara Diamond, which owns 60% of AK6, and partner African Diamonds will have to spend US$120 million to build the mine; the operation is expected to generate a 29% internal rate of return. The partners plan to commence production at AK6 in 2012.
And a new outcropping vein discovery 4 km north of the construction-stage mill at the Casposo project in San Juan province, Argentina, failed to help Troy Resources’ share price, which fell 15¢ to $2.20. Troy reprocessed existing magnetics data to identify an anomaly; follow-up groundwork unveiled outcropping veins over 400 metres of strike that produced chip samples as high as 7.5 grams gold and 41 grams silver. At present Troy will remain focused on completing the Casposo mine and mill, where it expects to pour its first gold in September; after that the company plans to kick off a A$7-million exploration program aimed at increasing Casposo’s resources.