Venture declines in March 12-16 period

Vancouver – The S&P TSX Venture Composite Index was down 43.64 points in the March 12-16 period, ending at 1,606.17 points after dipping to as low as 1,585 points. Volume ranged widely, from roughly 77 million shares traded early in the week to as many as 122 million shares at the end for an average of 100 million shares traded daily.

The Sandstorm royalty companies were the most traded companies as both reported annual financial statements. Sandstorm Gold had 31.5 million shares traded as it climbed to an all-time high of $1.85 following a fairly steady climb since late January. Sandstorm Gold earned US$4.9 million in the fourth quarter, compared with US$1.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2010, while gold sales for 2011 totalled 18,500 oz., an almost 700% increase from 2010. For 2012 the company expects attributable production to be between 25,000 and 35,000 from five operating mines.

Sandstorm Metals and Energy, meanwhile, had 16.8 million shares traded as it ended even at 47¢. The company had a US$13.1-million net loss in the fourth quarter, including a non-cash impairment charge of US$14.6-million related to Royal Coal’s severe financial and operational difficulties. Royal Coal represents roughly 10% of the company’s capital base, while Sandstorm Metals has US$40-million in cash on hand and US$80-million in cash flow guarantees. The two Sandstorm royalty companies are closely related with overlapping management teams, including Nolan Watson as president and CEO of both companies.

The period had no runaway value gainers, with Atacama Pacific Gold taking the top spot with a 39¢ gain to end at $4. The company announced an option agreement with a Chilean company to look for water-use rights on a 2,670-sq.-km land package sitting about 100 km north of its Cerro Maricunga oxide gold project. If Atacama finds and applies to use a suitable water source it will pay the Chilean company US$30,000 per litre per second for the water under application and then US$10,000 more per litre per second if granted the right to use it. The company estimates it needs between 75 and 100 litres per second for its project. Atacama has been trading between roughly $3.50 and $4 on light volume since October.

Little-traded Stratabound Minerals was the biggest percentage gainer, doubling to 10¢ after announcing a $600,000 private placement. The financing includes 4 million shares at 5¢ for $200,000 and 5 million flow-through shares at 8¢ for $400,000. Insiders are funding 50% of the 5¢ placement and 30% of the flow-through. The company will be using the funds to apply for permits to move its Captain North Extension lead-zinc-silver deposit in New Brunswick towards production, and to explore on its claims next to the CNE mining lease.

Brookemont Capital saw its share price drop from 13¢ to 4.5¢ on almost 8 million shares traded for the biggest percentage drop after announcing weak drill results from its gold property in Tanzania’s Handeni region. Of the four holes drilled hole 2 had the best intercept with 177 metres grading 0.034 gram gold per tonne while the second best intercept was 137 metres averaging 0.022 gram gold. The property sits to the north of Canaco Resources’ sizable Magambazi property.  


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