It was another big week in the markets with positive gains across most of the world’s major exchanges. The TSX and TSX-V were no exception up 4.1% and 3.7% respectively. But we’re not interested in single digit returns, we’re taking a look at the top three mining companies that posted the biggest percentage gains this week on both exchanges.
1. Minco Gold Corp. (TSX: MMM) up 40%
On absolutely no news to speak of, Minco Gold posted this week’s top percentage gain on the TSX for mining companies closing the week at $1.26. Evidently, speculation alone may be sufficient to move the stock. Back on July 7th, 2011, Minco Gold announced the commencement of an initial diamond drill program of the Shajinba zone on its 100-per-cent-owned Yejiaba property, part of the Longnan project, located in Gansu province in China. The drill program consists of 2,000 metres of core drilling, and is designed to test the zone of gold mineralization discovered by the company in 2010. Minco Gold owns 13 million shares (approximately 22.25%) of sister company Minco Silver (TSX: MSV) which, like Minco Gold, was also quiet on the news front this week.
2. Uranerz Energy Corp. (TSX: URZ) up 33.8%
No news is also good news for the TSX mining sector’s second biggest gainer this week. Uranerz Energy is a near-term uranium producer based in Wyoming. The company’s first in-situ recovery mine is under construction and production is projected to start by mid 2012. The company has already entered into long-term uranium sales contracts with two of the largest nuclear utilities in the U.S., including Exelon. So what can we attribute this price move to? Two weeks ago it was announced that, as of Sept. 26, 2011, Robert Disbrow indirectly owns 2.6 million common shares and exercises control or direction over an aggregate 5,186,800 common shares of Uranerz Energy (for a total of 7,786,800 common shares). This equates to approximately 10.1% of the issuer’s issued and outstanding common shares and may have been the catalyst behind the recent upswing.
Robert (“Bob”) Disbrow is a well know Vancouver-based venture capital professional and made his mark on the markets as part of a group of brokers at First Marathon Securities that were under scrutiny from the Cartaway Resources scandal in the mid-1990s. The First Marathon brokers acquired roughly 7 million shares of Cartaway for around $0.10 in 1994 and rose to a high of $26 per share in early 1996. But on May 17, 1996, Cartaway announced that new assay results from its Voisey’s Bay property did not support earlier tests. Heavy trading in Cartaway shares ensued, crashing the Alberta Stock Exchange system. When trading in Cartaway resumed on May 21, the stock opened at $2.78 and ultimately collapsed. In July, 1998, Robert Disbrow, then First Marathon vice-chair and former Vancouver branch manager, agreed to a $110,000 fine and three-month suspension for his role in the Cartaway affair.
3. Champion Minerals Inc. (TSX: CHM) up 32.7%
In what appears to be a delayed response to drill results and a new resource estimate released last week, Champion Minerals was the third biggest mining-mover last week with a gain of just over 30%. Champion Minerals is a Canadian-based iron ore exploration and development company with properties located in Quebec and Labrador. Last week, the company announced drilling results from its Lake Moire property in Labrador which included 503.4 metres grading 31.2% total iron (FeT). Champion also provided a NI-43-101 updated resource estimate on its Fire Lake North project in Fermont, Quebec. The company reported measured and indicated resources total 400.1 million tonnes grading 30.6% total iron and inferred resources total 661.2 million tonnes grading 27.7% total iron. Tom Larsen, Champion’s president and chief executive officer, commented, “The updated resources at Fire Lake North have resulted in a substantial improvement over the initial estimate and far exceeded our expectations. These results will have a major impact on the updated preliminary economic assessment on the Fire Lake North project which is expected to be released next month.”
Not to be outdone, mining companies on the TSX-V Exchange actually posted the biggest gains on the week. We look at the top three widely-traded juniors and take a look at the factors that may have influenced their respective gains.
1. PMI Gold Corp. (TSX-V: PMV) up 87.3%
The stock that posted the biggest overall gain in the week ended October 14th, 2011, was PMI Gold. This move was in direct response to news issued on Thursday in which PMI Gold announced a 270% increase in the NI 43-101 gold resources estimates from its flagship Obotan gold project in Ghana, West Africa, to measured 1.22 million ounces, indicated 2.00 million ounces and inferred 1.29 million ounces. The Obotan gold project was previously operated by Resolute Mining (ASX: RSG) and closed in 2002 after producing a total of 730,000 ounces at an average grade of 2.2 grams per tonne gold when the price of gold was averaging US$350 per ounce. Shares of PMI Gold closed on Friday at $1.03, up $0.45 on the day, on volume of 13.9 million shares.
2. Leven Resources Ltd. (TSX-V: LVN) up 53.4%
Number two this week on the Venture board was North American exploration company Leven Resources. Last week, the company’s shares were trading at $0.88 when the company announced the grant of stock options for the purchase of up to 425,000 common shares at a price of $1.50 per share to directors, employees and consultants of the company. That’s right, $1.50 a share which translated into a 70% premium to the market. Evidently the market may have liked the confident approach of management and the company’s stock rallied this week closing on Friday at $1.35 per share.
3. Coral Gold (TSX-V: CLH) up 48.5%
Last but not least is Coral Gold. Coral posted a 48.5% gain on the week on no news. Perhaps the move might be attributed to a “sell” recommendation from newsletter writer Jay Taylor in late September issued when the stock was trading at $0.49. After the recommendation, the company’s shares traded down sharply to $0.30 on above-average volume but this week rebounded to previous levels closing the week at $0.49.
Coral Gold Resources is exploring a portfolio of claim blocks along the Cortez gold trend in north-central Nevada, collectively known as the Robertson Project. The company’s project is near Barrick Gold’s Cortez Mine, a low cost gold mine with reported proven and probable reserves of 13.4 million ounces of gold.