The slide in share prices we’ve seen over May and June has been more like a slow melting process, as each week has produced slightly lower numbers. The outlook for next week is not much better, given that the Dow Jones index on Wall Street closed below 12,000 points for the first time since March.

All of the key indices on the ASX lost ground last week, but not substantially. The all ordinaries index had four modestly down days and one up, to shed a relatively painless 0.7 per cent overall. The metals and mining index did even better, losing just 0.5 per cent, while the gold index suffered the biggest decline, at 2.3 per cent, though that didn’t tell the whole story because a reasonable number of gold companies also rose.

Shall we start with gold, then? Because while the world worries, gold often performs at its best.

There two things that are more certain than gold: death and taxes, and the issue of taxes was again in the news this week. The Australian Government seems to have two tax surprises in store. The resource rent, or super-tax, has reached the draft legislation phase with the release of a review which, surprise-surprise, further complicates an already complex proposal. What the government wants to do is force miners to value individual mining leases inside their projects. Naturally, some of those leases will be of lesser value because they contain less ore. The upshot is expected to be a decline in allowable depreciation and an increase in tax.

How horribly convoluted.

Couldn’t agree more, but it’s an indication of the determination of the government to tax anything that moves, or burns, because the new carbon tax is also moving down the legislation runway, speeding up to catch the coal miners. Until now, the coal companies thought they would get a reprieve for being exporters. Not so. So from next year, or the year after, coal companies will have two new taxes to contend with, the resources super tax and a carbon tax.

Enough boring tax talk. Let’s have some prices.

We’ll start with gold, but also toss in a few of the outperformers in other sectors to provide our readers with a few fresh names. Best of the gold explorers was one we’ve never heard of before, Alloy Resources (AYR). It doubled in price last week, rising from A3.2 cents to a peak on Thursday of A7.6 cents in massive turnover. More than 113 million shares changed hands on the day, out of an issued capital of 146 million shares. Sanity returned on Friday and Alloy closed at A5.9 cents for a gain over the week of A2.7 cents, or 84 per cent. Driving the shares was a fresh gold discovery called Warmblood at the company’s Horsewell project in Western Australia. Best intersection was 32 metres at 3.9 grams a tonne from the surface, and 8 metres at 4.4 grams per tonne from 12metres.

Nor particularly high grades, but presumably they link up with earlier drill results.

That seems to be the theory. By the way, Alloy’s chairman is a well-known mining character down this way, Peter Harold, chief executive of the nickel miner, Panoramic.

Let’s keep going with prices please.

Also up in a down week was Troy Resources (TRY) which is showing the benefits of a management marketing tour of North America. It added A21 cents to A$3.68. Azumah (AZM), one of the Aussie gold companies busy in West Africa which we took a look at last week, added A3.5 cents to A56 cents. Allied Gold (ALD) continued to recover lost ground, putting in a rise of A4 cents to A55 cents. Kingsgate (KCN) released an optimistic production forecast and was rewarded with a share price rise of A57 cents to A$8.20. Ausgold (AUC), the company which thinks it is on to something big near the wheat-belt town of Katanning in WA, rose by A10 cents to A$1.48, and might be worth a site visit soon.

Among the other gold movers was Beadell (BDR), up 1.5 cents to A80 cents. St Barbara (SBM) rose A3 cents to A$1.85, while its takeover target, Catalpa (CAH) was steady at A$1.72. Perseus (PRU) posted one of the biggest falls of the week, shedding A21 cents to A$2.36. Crusader (CAS) was also sold off quite heavily, losing A20 cents to A$1.00. After that most falls were modest. Kingsrose (KRM) lost A6 cents to A$1.37. Silver Lake (SLR) slipped A4 cents lower to A$1.67, and Adamus (ADU) eased back by A3 cents to A60 cents.

Iron ore next, because there seems to have been a bit of action there.

Territory (TTY) was the star of the week as its long-term trading partner, Noble Group from Hong Kong, weighed in with an all cash A50 cent-a-share bid to try and knock South Africa’s Exarro out of contention. On the market, Territory added A5.5 cents to A52 cents, a price which indicates that some investors expect Exarro to counter bid. Elsewhere, Atlas (AGO) rose by A7 cents to A$3.65. Haranga (HAR), a company we rarely hear anything about, attracted interest with a rise of A4 cents to A30 cents as its makes progress at its Mongolian iron ore exploration projects. After that most moves were minor. Fortescue Metals (FMG) slipped A14 cents lower to A$6.32. Mt Gibson (MGX) shed A2 cents to A$1.76. Gindalbie (GBG) lost A4.5 cents to A89 cents, and Sherwin (SHD) was A1 cent lighter at A14 cents.

The base metals next, starting with copper, please.

A mixed bag, but without any significant moves up, or down. Sandfire (SFR), which is worth a closer look next week, added A16 cents to A$7.17, as investors continue to digest its very positive feasibility study into the DeGrussa project. OZ Minerals (OZL), Sandfire’s biggest shareholder, added A7 cents to A$13.70. Anvil (AVM) was one of the only other copper companies to rise, putting on A5 cents to A$5.67. After that came a list of declines. PanAust (PNA) lost A4 cents to A$3.77. Rex (RXM) was down A14 cents to A$2.52. Metminco (MNC) dropped a fairly sharp A6.5 cents to A30 cents, and Hot Chili (HCH) was A2 cents weaker at A58 cents.

All nickel companies lost ground. Most zinc companies rose, marginally. Among the nickels Mincor (MCR) fell by A10 cents to A89 cents. Panoramic (PAN) was A4 cents weaker at A$1.79, and Western Areas (WSA) fell by the same amount, A4 cents, to A$5.99. Best of the zinc companies was Perilya (PEM) which rose by A1.5 cents to A66 cents. Blackthorn (BTR) gained A1 cent to A53 cents, and Ironbark (IBG) firmed by A2 cents to A29 cents.

Coal and uranium next.

There were only a few risers, but lots of fallers. Whitehaven (WHC) was the lone coal company to rise, just. It added A8 cents to A$5.59. Falls were posted by Aquila (AQA), down A42 cents to A$7.75 as it continues to have joint venture problems, Coal of Africa (CZA), down A1 cent to A$1.16, Carabella (CLR), down A8 cents to A$1.96, and Coalworks (CWK), down A6.5 cents to A65 cents.

The three uranium companies rise were Extract (EXT) which added A3 cents to A$7.79, Berkeley (BKY) which rose by A5 cents to A44 cents, and Forte (FTE), perhaps thanks to our midweek report, which managed a rise of A0.4 of a cent to A7.2 cents. Then come the falls, led by Paladin (PDN) which was hit by rumours about funding issues, and which dropped A24 cents to A$2.79 on the week, but did get as low as A$2.68 at one stage on Thursday. Bannerman (BMN) lost A1 cent to A29.5 cents. Toro (TOE), sold down to A7.6 cents, off by A0.7 of a cent, and Energy and Minerals (EMA) fell by A2 cents to A13.5 cents after reporting fresh legal problems.

Minor metals to close, please.

Much like the rest of the market. A handful of rises and plenty of small falls. Alkane (ALK) was the pick of the rare earth companies, putting in a rise of A30 cents to A$2.35. Iluka (ILU) was in demand thanks to sky-high zircon prices. It added A$1.64 to A$17.49. Lithium stocks firmed. Galaxy (GXY) put on A1.5 cents to A86 cents, and Orocobre (ORE) added A3 cents to A$2.18. Potash stocks weakened. South Boulder (STB) fell A2 cents to A$3.13 and Minemakers (MAK) was off by A1 cent to A45 cents. Biggest fall of the week was freshly listed Kimberley Rare Earths (KRE) which dropped A4.5 cents to A16.5 cents after being stopped from completing a related party asset purchase ASX regulators.


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