Strong earnings reports and relief after the parliament in Greece voted for austerity measures lifted all three major indexes in the U.S. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.8% to finish at 18,086.45, the S&P 500 Index rose 2.4% to 2,126.64 and the Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 4.3% to 5,210.14. Plunging precious metal prices drove down the Philadelphia Gold & Silver Index by 8.2% to 54.20. The gold price dropped for the fifth week, finishing at a five-year low of US$1,133.30 per oz., while platinum slid below US$1,000 per oz. for the first time in six years, and palladium fell to its lowest level since November 2012.
Shares of Energy Fuels jumped US44¢, or 11%, to US$4.43, after the State of Wyoming approved a major revision to the mining permit for the company’s Sheep Mountain project, including surface and underground mining expansion. The conventional uranium project was formerly operated by Western Nuclear from the 1950s to the 1980s, but was shut down due to low uranium prices. With an indicated resource of 30.3 million lb. uranium (from 12.9 million tons [11.7 million tonnes] averaging 0.1% U3O8), Sheep Mountain is one of the largest uranium development projects in the U.S. The company is awaiting an environmental impact statement (EIS) from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM issued a draft EIS in January 2015, and Energy Fuels expects operational approval by mid-2016. Now it is evaluating processing options, such as permitting and building a heap-leach facility, or using a third-party milling facility.
Rio Tinto’s shares rose to US$40.35 from US$39.14. The miner reported that its global iron ore production rose 9% in the year’s second quarter from the same quarter in 2014; bauxite production, 5%; and hard coking coal, 15%. Mined copper, however, was down 19%; semi-soft and thermal coal, 5%; and titanium dioxide slag, 19%.
Fortuna Silver Mines fell 11.7% to US$3.01 per share, despite outperformance at its San Jose mine in Mexico making up for lower silver production at its Caylloma mine in Peru. The company reiterated its annual production guidance of 6.5 million oz. silver and 35,300 oz. gold.