Toronto's main market was trading lower on Friday as gold, copper and oil prices declined, though the index was still set to close May on a positive note.
In corporate news, New Gold Inc. (TSE:NGD) has reached a friendly $310 million deal to acquire Rainy River Resources (TSE:RR), which has an advanced gold project in northwestern Ontario. New Gold shares slumped 7.8%, while Rainy River leaped more than 36%.
Canadian National Railway (TSE:CNR) rose almost 1% after JPMorgan Chase upgraded its stock to neutral from underweight with a target price of $110.
In financial stocks, Bank of Nova Scotia (TSE:BNS) (NYSE:BNS) will have a new chief steering the company in the fall, after it announced this morning that Rick Waugh will be stepping down. After 10 years as chief executive officer, Waugh will be replaced by Scotiabank president Brian Porter, who will also retain his current title. Waugh will stay on the board of directors and assume the role of deputy chairman until the end of next January.
Elsewhere, in materials shares, Carl Jonsson has retired as chairman of Caledonia Mining (LON:CMCL) (TSE:CAL) with immediate effect, to be replaced by Leigh Wilson. Wilson is currently an independent director of the company. Jonsson will continue as a director of the company and as company secretary.
Caledonia's president and chief executive officer said: "During the period of Carl's chairmanship, Caledonia has successfully overcome some significant challenges. Carl's assistance and guidance during this time has been invaluable.”
Great Panther Silver (TSE:GPR)(NYSE MKT:GPL) has said that its president, Martin Carsky, is stepping down from his role effective immediately, and will be replaced by co-founder and CEO Robert Archer. Archer will resume the role of president and chief executive as Carsky has resigned for personal reasons, the company said, but has agreed to remain on as a consultant for a few months to assist with the transition.
Canadian Zinc Corp (TSE:CZN) (OTCQB:CZICF) is navigating a challenging market with the advanced-stage developer raising US$10 million via the sale of a 1.2 per cent net smelter return (NSR) royalty from the company’s 100 per cent owned Prairie Creek mine to Sandstorm Metals & Energy (CVE:SND).
Under the transaction, which does not dilute shares, the Vancouver-based exploration and development company has also granted Sandstorm a right of first refusal on any future royalty or stream financing for the project.
And in some juicier news, disgruntled shareholders issued a stinging rebuke to Atna Resources Limited (TSE:ATN) Friday, saying their trust and confidence in Atna's management is now "between zero and nothing” following the Golden, Colorado-based company’s announcement two days before that it was downsizing mine operations at its Pinson gold mine near Winnemucca, Nevada, and withdrawing its previous production guidance.
In a newsletter sent to subscribers entitled “Goodbye Atna Resouces”, Gecko Research, a small group of Swedish private investors, wrote: “It's with a lot of anger and extreme disappointment that we have decided to sell our stake in Atna Resources. The last drop of patience we had left was lost in Wednesday press release."
Atna’s press release, issued Wednesday, advised that mine operations were to be downsized in light of the current gold market, which came barely two weeks after Gecko had been reassured of the imminent commencement of commercial production. Shares in Atna went from a close of 42 cents on May 29 to close at 24 cents on May 30, well below the 52 week high of $1.37 on a day that saw more than 8 million shares change hands.
Moving to junior markets in Canada, Estrella Gold Corp (CVE:EST) is moving ahead with project exploration and the search for new projects, it told investors late Thursday. The company has implemented a program of operating cost reductions, specifically admin expenses and property holding costs, and is now looking ahead to focus on moving its projects forward and acquiring new assets. It currently has four properties under option or joint venture agreements.
Belvedere Resources (CVE:BEL) says it is assessing putting ore from its Kopsa gold project through the Hitura mill in Finland. It comes after the firm last week announced the suspension of mining at the Hitura nickel mine in response to the low nickel price.
International Mining & Infrastructure Corporation (LON:IMIC) has increased its stake in its takeover target Afferro Mining (LON:AFF) (CVE:AFF) to 9.94% through the purchase of an additional 5.2 mln shares. IMIC has made a cash and share offer for Cameroon iron explorer Afferro that values it at US$190mln (£126mln) or 120p a share, which includes a cash element worth 80p. It bought its latest tranche of Afferro shares at average price of 77.89p on the open market.
Cadillac Ventures (CVE:CDC) says it has put to bed a $1.2 million private placement financing despite a challenging time for junior exploration companies. The company closed the private placement of 20 million units at a price of 6 cents each, with each unit made up of one common share and one share purchase warrant. Sino-Canada Natural Resources Fund I subscribed for 100 per cent of the offering, now owning roughly 12.1 per cent of Cadillac, or 21.7 per cent assuming full exercise of its warrants.
In junior oil and gas markets, Xcite Energy (LON:XEL) (CVE:XEL) revealed it is looking at alternative development drilling plans for its Bentley field as it has now cancelled a rig contract with Rowan. It had an option for a Rowan jack-up rig however Xcite says it no longer believes the terms and structure of the rig option are appropriate for its commercialobjectives.
Transeuro Energy (CVE:TSU) remains in discussions with third parties over development of its Beaver River gas assets in Canada. A decline in production from Beaver River meant first quarter revenues declined to C$377,00 in the three months to March compared to C$501,000 a year earlier. Net losses for the period were C$2.1mln (C$1.4mln).
Gas production was significantly lower due to the natural decline of the wells and minor reductions for operational issues during the winter period.
In tech stocks, Snipp Interactive (CVE:SPN) has grown first quarter revenues by 85 per cent year-over-year as the mobile marketing firm continues to bolster its presence. Revenues jumped to $174,331 from $94,235 in the same quarter last year, attributable to new sales channels, additional sales contracts from existing customers, as well as new clients and the launch of new products like SnippCheck - a mobile receipt processing service - and SnippWine.