Tough week for markets in Australia
Many things are not unexpected, what with fears that China will soon be slamming the brakes on the economy during the heating company through a sharp increase in interest rates. The major indices all fell by around two per cent. Having said that, though, it’s also worth noting that there were plenty of positive movers among smaller gold companies, some of which might not have attracted close attention in London.

That sounds interesting.

It is, because a call of the usual suspects produces a few interesting movers, but nothing spectacular. To find the companies that caught the eye of Australian speculators you need to dig a little deeper. And then you discover quite an assortment of gold, iron ore and rare earth companies that performed exceptionally well in a down week.

Let’s start with the new names and good news before switching to a roll call of the fallen.

Three new, or relatively new, iron ore explorers did well last week, all reaching fresh 12-month share price highs. Amex Resources (AXZ), which was mentioned last week as the company which won a West Australian iron ore tenement in a raffle, continued its upward run, adding another A14 cents to close the week at A71 cents, although it did hit a high of A73 cents during Friday trade. Indo Mines (IDO), which is exploring for iron sands in Indonesia, added A8 cents to A45 cents. And South American Iron (SAY), which is looking for the same sort of material in Chile and Ecuador, reached a fresh high of A14 cents during the week, finally closing out at A13.5 cents for a rise of A3 cents.

The notable gold risers included some relatively new players. They were led by Bailey Minerals (BAA), which is perhaps more of a platinum story thanks to a deal recently completed in Colombia, but which also has gold assets in Australia. It rose to a fresh high of A$1.15, before closing at A$1.10 for a gain on the week of A21 cents. Worth recalling that the company was trading at a mere A40 cents as recently as February. Shares in Azimuth (AZH), which is exploring for gold in Guyana, rose A2.5 cents to a closing price of A34 cents, although that was well short of its new peak of A37 cents reached in early Friday trade. YTC Resources (YTC), which is exploring the Hera gold project discovered by CBH Resources some years ago, traded up to a new high of A79 cents, before closing at A75.5 cents for a gain on the week of A6.5 cents. Meanwhile, Gold Road (GOR), one of our long-term favourites rocketed up on Friday to a fresh peak of A81.5 cents before tumbling back to close at A68.5 cents, a closing price which still left it with a gain of A17.5 cents for the week.

Outside of precious metals, Northern Minerals (NTU), the old Northern Uranium, was the pick of the rare earth companies after a well received presentation at an investment conference in Sydney. It added A21.5 cents to end the week at A$1.00, but did get as high as A$1.07 on Friday. Alkane (ALK) one of our long-term favourites also continued its rapid rise, hitting a fresh all-time high of A$2.73, before ending the week at A$2.63 for a week’s rise of A38 cents. In mid-March Alkane was trading around A$1.20, and a year ago it was A23 cents.

Is that the end of the good news?

Close, though it is worth mentioning the continued recovery among uranium companies. Among the interesting news this week, Callabona Uranium (CUU) reported visible secondary uranium mineralisation at its Oak River project in Queensland. Despite a uranium mining ban in Queensland, the shares traded up to a fresh high of A14 cents, double what it was a week earlier, before closing at A13.5 cents for a gain of A5 cents. Two other uranium exploration newcomers were Legacy Minerals (LML) and FYI Resources (FYI) which both attracted attention. Legacy rose 3.5 cents to A19 cents and FYI rose 3.4 cents to A11 cents, but both in very, very, light turnover. To spell out just how light, FYI added A1.8 cents on Friday thanks to a trade of 3,465 shares valued at A$362 which is probably less than the Friday night bar tab of the buyer.

Thanks. A timely warning on the importance of volume for investors working in the ultra-small end of the market. Time now to call the card, starting with gold, please.

Gold was mixed, trending down, although there were also a few solid risers. Among the best performers was Ausgold (AUC), which continues to impress with its Katanning project, and added another A17 cents to close at A$1.62. Northern Star (NST) also continues to attract attention in the wake of impressive production and discovery news from its Paulsens mine. The shares added A4.5 cents to A41 cents, and might perhaps be worth a closer look soon. A third strong company last week was the soon-to-be silver producer, Alcyone (AYN) which rose by A2.5 cents to A13 cents, but did reach a fresh 12 month high of A14.5 cents at one stage during the week. There was a more modest rise from Cortona (CRC), which awarded a contract for the mining of its Dargues Reef project in New South Wales. Cortona’s shares rise A1 cent to A18.5 cents. Shareholders in Alacer Gold (AQG), which incorporates the old Avoca, were also better off, as the shares rose by an impressive A$1.20 to A$10.43.

After the good news comes the bad. Kingsgate (KCN) led the way down, with a heavy fall of A$1.44 to A$7.50 after it issued a production downgrade. Catalpa (CAH) reported something similar and was hit with a sell-off which knocked A16 cents off the shares to A$1.62. Other fallers included Perseus (PRU), down A14 cents to A$3.15, Allied Gold (ALD), down A6 cents to A63 cents, Beadell (BDR), down A3 cents to A87.5 cents, Troy (TRY), down A15 cents to A$3.79, and Medusa (MML) down A28 cents to A$7.72. Integra (IGR) was also weaker, down A5.5 cents to A49.5 cents, but is set to release what is expected to be a rather impressive quarterly early next week with costs said to be attractively low.

Thanks to that Integra heads-up, we’ll keep an eye out. Moving on, let’s take a look at some of our regulars in the uranium sector.

The regulars in uranium were less impressive than the stars we mentioned earlier. Paladin (PDN) continues to struggle with profitability, and dropped another A10 cents last week to A$3.64. Extract (EXT) slipped A8 cents lower to A$8.47. Berkeley (BKY) fell A4.5 cents to A98.5 cents. Manhattan (MHC) was A10 cents weaker at A70 cents, and Bannerman (BMN) lost half a cent to A41.5 cents.

Iron ore and base metals next.

It was mainly down among the iron ore companies, although there were one or two risers. BC Iron (BCI) has forced Regent Pacific to reinstate finance for its proposed takeover bid, and that news was enough to lift BC by A12 cents to A$2.96. Mindax (MDX) upgraded the resource at its Mt Forrest project, and its shares rose to A39 cents, up A3 cents as a result. Crusader (CAS) was also better off, up by A6 cents to A$1.27 as Crusader’s Rob Smakman toured London on an itinerary that included a well received presentation at our very own Minesite forum. After that, though, it was downhill. Fortescue (FMG) fell A16 cents to A$6.48. Brockman (BRM) fell A49 cents to A$5.55. Iron Ore Holdings (IOH) fell A6 cents to A$1.76. And Murchison fell A8 cents to A$1.09.

There was an easing off in the base metal space too. Syndicated (SMD) and Sumatra were the two copper companies that gained ground, but only just. Syndicated added half a cent to close at A20 cents, and Sumatra added A1 cent to A31 cents. Falls came from OZ Minerals (OZL), down A12 cents to A$1.52, Sandfire (SFR), down A33 cents to A$6.97, Hot Chili (HCH), down A6 cents to A73.5 cents, and Rex (RXM), down A26 cents to A$2.70.

Poseidon (POS) was the single nickel company that rose, posting a gain of A1 cent to A28 cents. Falls were recorded by Western Areas (WSA), down A8 cents to A$7.08, Mincor (MCR), down A17 cents to A$1.31, Panoramic (PAN), down A23 cents to A$2.10 and Mirabela (MBN), down A5 cents to A$2.05.

It was more of the same in zinc - one rise and the rest down. Terramin (TZN) was the sole company to gain, adding half-a-cent to A37 cents. Then came the fallers: Kagara (KZL), down A1 cent to A62.5 cents, Blackthorn (BTR), down A7 cents to A65 cents, Perilya (PEM), down A1 cent to A64 cents, and Meridian (MII), down half a cent to A12.5 cents.

Coal and minor metals to finish, please.

There was one strong coal performer, and it was a newcomer as well. Metro Coal (MTE), an emerging thermal coal producer, added A10 cents to A41 cents. Then comes a long list of declines, including: Carabella (CLR), down A27 cents to A$2.29, Coalspur (CPL), down A14 cents to A$1.93, Hunnu (HUN), down A11 cents to A$1.66 and Coal of Africa (CZA), down A13 cents to 1.21.

Rare earths were mixed despite the strong performances from Alkane and Northern. Lynas (LYC) lost A2 cents to A$2.53 and Arafura (ARU) was off by A3 cents to A$1.32. Titanium and zircon companies were mixed, although there was one stand out performer, and that was a newcomer too. Diatreme (DRX), one of the merging Eucla Basin zircon companies, added A2.7 cents to A11 cents. Tin companies eased, as did manganese and lithium explorers.


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