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(Petr David Josek/AP)
(Petr David Josek/AP)

Agnico-Eagle sells its big stake in Rubicon Add to ...

Rubicon Minerals Corp. has lost its major shareholder, Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd., after the mid-tier gold company recently sold its stake in the junior resource player.

Agnico-Eagle first disclosed its investment in Rubicon last summer, buying a $70-million stake in a private placement priced at $3.23 per share. That deal made Agnico the owner of 9.2 per cent of Rubicon’s outstanding shares, but its ownership had since fallen to around the 7 per cent level after Rubicon issued more stock. Still, Agnico remained the biggest shareholder.

After the private placement, Rubicon’s stock popped and soared as high as about $4.50 per share, but the shares have been hammered this year and are now down about 28 per cent since January. There’s been no word yet on the average price at which Agnico exited -- it sold its shares in the public market rather than through a secondary offering -- but Rubicon traded above $3.23 until early April, and has since traded in a range between about $2.60 and $3.12.

Rubicon is down about 6 per cent in early morning trading on Monday.

Agnico has said that it will explain its sale in due course, but the move is a common one for gold miners today as large players shed non-core assets to boost their share price and consolidate operations.

Rubicon is still in the exploration and development phase of its Phoenix gold project in Red Lake, Ontario.

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