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‘That’s a Wrap’

By Rod Blake

The new trading week began with some 30,000 insightful investors, deal makers and financiers attending the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) annual convention and trade show in Toronto, Ontario. With its roots going all the way back to the Great Depression era this event has evolved to become the world’s premier mineral oriented gathering.

The way I see it – I attended the PDAC many times as a broker and even manned the booths of some of the companies that I sponsored at the time. Between the trade show, speakers, social events as well as just bumping into interesting people, I almost always came away from this event with increased knowledge or interest in many projects which I’m sure helped me professionally and as an investor.

Companies and governments always like to put out positive news during the PDAC and 2023’s event was no exception –

Uranium Energy Corp. ‘UEC-A’ announced encouraging uranium diamond drill hole assays from the Corpus Christi, TX based mineral explorer/developer’s Christie Lake Project in the Athabasca region of Northwest Saskatchewan that included amongst others – 7.0-metres of 15.94% eU3O8.

The Ontario government announced the passing of Bill 71 – ‘Building More Mines Act, 2023’ – designed to encourage more investment in the province’s mining sector by streamlining the permitting process and strengthening made-in-Ontario critical minerals supply chains.

Additionally – the Ontario government also approved the terms of reference for an all-season multi-use road connecting the proposed Ring of Fire mining development area in Ontario’s north to economic centres to the south.

Not to be left out – Canada’s federal government will provide $50 million for construction of the country’s largest battery storage facility – the 250-megawatt Oneida Energy Storage facility in Ohsweken, Ontario.

Meanwhile – investors received another way to play the broad lithium and battery materials markets as Toronto, ON based royalty & streaming company Lithium Royalty Corp. ‘LIRC-T’ went public with a $150-million initial public offering (IPO).

And in very timely fashion – an official of Iran’s Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade announced the mid-east country has just discovered a lithium deposit in its western Hamedan province that has the potential of holding some 8.5-million tonnes of lithium material – which, if confirmed – makes it the world’s second largest lithium deposit containing 10% of the known global lithium resource.

Enertopia Corporation ‘ENRT-C’ announced a 12-hole – 5,400-foot drill program was underway at the Kelowna, BC based company’s West Tonopah Lithium project near Tonopah, Nevada.

This as the price of lithium fell to a new 11/4-year low of US$48,645 per tonne.

Secure Energy Services Inc. ‘SES-T’ shares’ plunged lower by $1.65 or 19.57% to $6.78 after Canada’s Competition Tribunal directed the Calgary, AB based company to divest itself of 29 of the 103 facilities it acquired with a previous merger with Tervita Corporation.

Conversely, the price of Crew Energy Inc. ‘CR-T’ stock rose by $0.22 or 4.50% to $5.11 after the Calgary, AB based natural gas and petroleum liquids producer beat the streets’ expectations with 4th-quarter and full year 2002 operating and financial results.

The key Baker Hughes Petroleum Rig Count reported the number of active American drilling rigs dropped by 3-rigs over the past week to 746, up by 83 from this time last year. Across the line – the number of Canadian active rigs fell by 23-rigs to 223, an increase of 17 in the past year.

After months of going back and forth – First Quantum Minerals Ltd. ‘FM-T’ finally appeased its shareholders’ after the Toronto, ON based miner announced a restart of full operations at its Cobre Panama copper facility following an agreement with the Government of Panama of a draft of a concession contract covering, amongst other items, government revenues, environmental protections and labour standards.

Permitting of mines can be an arduous process, so was nice to see Artemis Gold Inc. ‘ARTG-T’ announce the Vancouver, BC based miner had received a BC Mines Act Permit for its flagship Blackwater Mine in central British Columbia that will provide some 400+ direct full-time jobs and produce over 300,000 ounces of gold equivalent per year over an estimated mine life of about 17-years.

The Canadian dollar fell to a new 5-month low of US$0.7230.

Doman Building Materials Group Ltd. ‘DBM-T’ shares’ rose by $0.22 or 3.21% to $7.08 after the Vancouver, BC based forest and added products company impressed the market with both its 4th-quarter and full 2022 financials.

Late Friday – BNN Bloomberg reported that the projected cost of the Canadian government owned Trans Mountain Corporation’s Pipeline Expansion project has grown by almost 44.5% in the past year to $30.9 billion. The expansion that is now 80% complete, and if all goes well will triple the lines capacity in the 1st-quarter of 2024 and bring 890,000 barrels per day of Alberta’s oil to the west coast port of Burnaby, BC.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) fell to a new 41/2-month low of 31,910.

For the Week – the DJI lost 4.44% to 31,910 with the S&P 500 off by 4.55% to 3,862 and the NASDAQ down by 4.71% to 11,139. In Canada – the TSX fell 3.92% to 19,775 and the TSX Venture lost 4.82% to 612. The CBOE Volatility Index or VIX surged up by 34.13% to 24.80.

With currencies – the Canadian dollar lost 1.69% to US$0.7230 while the U.S. dollar ‘DXY’ rose by 0.11% to 104.63.

With commodities gold bullion gained 0.65% to US$1,868, while silver lost 3.48% to US$20.52, with copper down by 1.47% to US$4.02, and lithium off 7.46to US$48,645. Crude oil dropped 4.28% to US$76.55 as natural gas plunged by 19.21% to US$2.44, while uranium gained 1.29% to US$51.10. With soft commodities – lumber lost 4.30% to US$356.

Overall – the CRB Commodities Index was down by 2.36% to 290.

And Finally – The 4-day work week is gradually gaining more acceptance as the Ontario Municipal Administrators’ Association recently reported there are at least seven municipalities in that province offering staff the flexibility of working a 4-day week.

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