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Feb 1, 2021

Silver miner’s Reddit-fueled surge sets up stock-sale bonanza

John Zechner discusses silver

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A small Canadian silver miner is finding itself on the bright side of Reddit-induced market chaos just as it seeks to sell stock.

Avino Silver & Gold Mines Ltd. rose as much as 129 per cent in New York as trading volumes surged after the 53-year-old company was lifted in the whirlwind of the so-called Reddit Revolution. The surge came after the dual-listed miner, which has a silver operation in Mexico, disclosed last week plans to sell up to US$25 million of newly issued shares into the U.S. market.

Chief Executive Officer David Wolfin wouldn’t say if the Vancouver-based company has been capitalizing on Monday’s stock surge to raise money, since the information isn’t public. Wolfin, who’s also Avino’s biggest shareholder, did make note of the number of shares changing hands during a Monday phone interview.

“Logic would tell you we probably raised some money, but I’m not going to tell you how much or what the details are,” Wolfin, 53, said.

Silver jumped to an almost eight-year high Monday, extending a surge that has been fueled in recent days by Reddit Internet forums and social media channels. Exactly what kinds of investors are behind the current run-up in metal prices and silver-exposed stocks is uncertain, but clearly opportunities have arisen.

The “narrative” driving the rise of silver futures and equities is powerful, said Sprott U.S. Holdings CEO Rick Rule.

“The issuer community will flood the market with capital raises, particularly the U.S.-listed ones who can access the superior liquidity with ‘at the market’ equity issuances,” he said by email.

For his part, Wolfin described the events as “fantastic” given his large stake in Avino, which his father helped start in the late 1960s.

“People say when I’m doing presentations, do you have any skin in the game? And I say, I have blood, sweat and tears,” said Wolfin, who worked in the mine when he was younger. “I’ve been building my position for a long time. So I’m thrilled.”