Haywood-1-1Following the Q1’15 financial reporting period, two miners announced the suspension of operations during the week; on Thursday, a major diversified miner announced it would implement temporary halts to six Canadian metallurgical coal mines for about 3 weeks during Q3. While only a brief period, the Company has not ruled out additional closure periods during 2015. This coincides with plunging metallurgical coal prices in 2015, with the price of premium low volume coal falling over 25% YTD. Meanwhile, a mid-tier gold company also announced that one of its gold mines in South Africa would be put on “care and maintenance” leading to significant job cuts. In South Africa, depressed commodity prices have been compounded by the threat of strike action against miners, which became reality last year with platinum workers striking for several months at a number of platinum mines; in addition, power bills have increased following the reported deterioration of infrastructure in the country. This week, gold continued to hover around the $1,200 per ounce mark, down (↓1.3%) and finishing at $1,190 per ounce. Silver (↓2.2%), platinum (↓3%) and palladium (↓1.6%) were also down, each closing at 16.73, $1,112 and $777 per ounce respectively at the time of publication. Base metals were mixed for the week; zinc was up 0.6% while lead was flat; both copper and nickel dropped 2.5% and 0.6% to finish at $2.73 and $5.71 per pound respectively. The price of WTI crude rose 2% on Friday after a steady decline during the week to finish at $60.23 per barrel. Finally, the UxC Broker Average Price for uranium was down marginally, finishing at $34.98 per pound.

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