The junior mining space is experiencing mixed fortunes with takeover activity. Condor Gold (CNR:AIM) says it is no longer up for sale after seeing its share price fall by 65% since putting itself on the market. In contrast, Aurasian Minerals (AUM:AIM) has decided to press ahead with efforts to buy private exploration group Moroccan Minerals, having completed due diligence.

Condor has blamed negative market sentiment towards the natural resources sector for the decline in its valuations. ‘Given that any potential offer for the company would be judged in the context of a premium to the share price; the board does not see an acceptable premium to the current share price being achieved in the short term, hence the decision to end the formal sale process,’ it says in a statement to the stock market.

The miner had hoped to sell either the whole company or its 2.3 million ounce La India gold project in Nicaragua. Sadly this is a buyers’ market, so anyone openly seeking to sell an asset is unlikely to get a premium price. Interested parties could afford to sit on their hands and wait for valuations to decline in the current depressed environment.

In hindsight, Condor publicly seeking a buyer was not the right strategy. It would have been better off proceeding with mine financing with a view to taking the project in to production. Sadly the company has been vocal since starting its exploration programme that the end-game was always to sell before starting production.

The focus is now likely to shift to Condor's finances and how long before its £1.1 million remaining cash pile is depleted.

Condor's shares fall 5.9% to 17.88p. Aurasian Minerals is flat at 0.35p, although we believe that its shares could be worth watching closely in 2016 if its career plans are as fruitful as the company expects.

Aurasian Minerals used to be known as Triple Plate Junction and had various joint ventures with some of the biggest gold miners in the world. It suffered from slow decision making by its partners on exploration work and ended up walking away from the bulk of its activities in South East Asia.

The junior miner did manage to get $750,000 from selling its stake in the Wamum project in Papua New Guinea which will now be reinvested in its efforts to buy Moroccan Minerals. The target company has the rights to earn up to an 80% interest in a polymetallic project in Serbia.

The exploration prospect is located on land that was last explored the 1980s. Aurasian’s geologists believe there is good potential to increase both the grade and size of the previously-identified copper/ lead/zinc deposit, as well as discover new areas of mineralisation.

Aurasian has already recruited a new management team in the form of two directors who used to run Armenia-focused gold miner Lydian International.

Issue Date: 18 Jan 2016