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by Will Purcell
The diamond and specialty minerals stocks box score on Monday was a rousing 93-59-150 as the TSX Venture Exchange jumped 15 points to 399 and polished diamond prices remained flat. Lithium Americas Corp. (LAC) had a good day, gaining 35 cents to $3.83 on 349,000 shares. The company suspended construction of its Cauchari-Olaroz lithium project in Argentina last month because of the pandemic, but investors remain optimistic.
A nine-year slump in rough diamond prices was bad enough; the plight of diamond miners is getting worse by the day, now that they cannot sell their goods at any price thanks to shutdowns triggered by the COVID-19 crisis. One of the hardest hits has been taken by Dermot Desmond and Stuart Brown's Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. (MPVD), which is still carrying considerable debt.
The company's stock traded above $7 in the fall of 2016, just as its 49-per-cent-owned Gahcho Kue mine was getting under way, but with its rough selling for barely half of initial projections, Mountain's stock had been trading at about $1.20 for the past year. Now, with the company's rough sales on hold indefinitely, Mountain Province dropped one cent to 29 cents on 647,000 shares today, setting another 25-year low of 28.5 cents.
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