2006 a tremendous year for TSX-V junior mining companies

    TORONTO, April 2 /CNW/ - Junior mining companies on the TSX Venture
(TSX-V) Exchange had a tremendous year in 2006. Their total market
capitalization rose to $27.6 billion, a dramatic 86% increase from $14.8
billion in 2005. According to the inaugural PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
report on Canada's junior mining sector - review of trends in the TSX-V mining
industry - investors showed their confidence and strong metal prices continued
to lift the value of mining companies in these remarkable boom times for the
    The PwC survey examined the financial position of the top 100 of the 967
junior mining companies on the TSX-V based on market capitalization as of
September 30, 2006. According to Paul Murphy, PwC partner and Canadian Mining
Practice Leader, "Gold was a key reason for the growth on the TSX-V in 2006.
Four of the five largest mining companies on the exchange list gold as their
commodity of focus."
    The survey found that one of the most impressive numbers of 2006 was the
$1.2 billion that exploration companies were able to raise through issuing
shares, a 206% increase from 2005. Murphy adds, "The TSX-V is a good home for
Canada's junior mining companies who can then graduate to the larger TSX when
they become bigger scale producers."
    The single greatest investment by TSX-V mining companies in 2006 was the
$409.4 million they put towards mineral properties and exploration. This was
79% more than in 2005. More was also spent on property, plant and equipment in
2006 for a total of $103.9 million, more than double from the year before.
    "These are the kind of investments that are expected of junior mining
companies and could pay high returns to shareholders if new properties are
both discovered and developed to their potential," says Murphy.
    In 2006, all junior mining companies had $4 billion in total assets,
$2.6 billion more than in 2005. These results follow last year's predictions
by PwC that 2006 would be an even stronger year for the mining industry than
2005. PwC's mine - let the good times roll report looked at how continually
strengthening commodity prices has placed the sector in a prolonged boom
period. The 40 mining companies included in mine represent over 80% of the
total global industry by market capitalization. Mine showed that investor
confidence in the worldwide mining industry and its prospects have continued
to strengthen - much like they have for junior mining companies on the TSX-V.
    This year's junior mining survey showed that the combined market
capitalization of the top five companies on the TSX-V more than doubled in
2006 to $3.7 billion from $1.7 billion in 2005. The top five's share of the
TSX-V's total value rose slightly from 11.4% to 13.4%. This demonstrates the
overall growth of the TSX-V during the year, as most companies of all sizes
saw value appreciation for their shareholders. The top five companies in 2006
by market value (exploration/production) were:

    1. Urasia Energy ($1.23 billion) - production
    2. Aurelian Resources ($826.6 million) - exploration
    3. Northern Dynasty Minerals ($657.4 million) - exploration
    4. ECU Silver Mining ($569.2 million) - production
    5. Seabridge Gold Inc. ($474.9 million) - exploration

    This survey has covered financial statements filed by registrants to
June 30, 2006 into a common format and aggregated data across companies. For
those companies that have not yet released any financial statement data as of
June 30, 2006, estimations were made. A copy of the survey is available for
download at www.pwc.com/ca/ or contact Carolyn Forest,
carolyn.forest@ca.pwc.com, 416-814-5730.

    PricewaterhouseCoopers (www.pwc.com) provides industry-focused assurance,
tax and advisory services to build public trust and enhance value for its
clients and their stakeholders. More than 140,000 people in 149 countries
across our network share their thinking, experience and solutions to develop
fresh perspectives and practical advice. Now celebrating 100 years of
excellence in Canada, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (www.pwc.com/ca) and its
related entities have more than 4,700 partners and staff in offices across the

    "PricewaterhouseCoopers" refers to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an Ontario
limited liability partnership, or, as the context requires, the
PricewaterhouseCoopers global network or other member firms of the network,
each of which is a separate and independent legal entity.

For further information:

For further information: Carolyn Forest, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP,
(416) 814-5730, carolyn.forest@ca.pwc.com; Peter Zvanitajs,
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, (416) 941-8383 x 13408,

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