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The pandemic continues to create challenges for Canadian jobs, as indicated in last week’s Labour Force Survey for October.

This week, Statistics Canada released the provisional death count from January 2020 to August 2021 as COVID-19 continues to affect Canadians across the country.

The report indicated that there were 5.2 per cent more deaths than would be expected were there no pandemic. From March 2020 to the beginning of July 2021, there were nearly 25,000 deaths directly attributed to COVID-19.

Today, Canada’s main stock index continued its upward trajectory, rising by over 225 points over the last 5 days. The S&P/TSX Composite Index is up just over 174 points today.

Technology stocks are leading the broad-based rally, including Shopify Inc. which is up 184.35 points on the day.

The dollar has remained relatively steady over the last several weeks, hovering around US$0.80/C$1.00 since the end of October.

And while technology stocks make an appearance in today’s top 5 stories with Nextech AR’s announcement of a new studio, The Market Herald’s investor audience also had its eyes on mining and cannabis news from First Cobalt, TomaGold, Nevada Copper, and Maven Brands.

First Cobalt (TSXV:FCC) provides strategic update and announces name change

On Monday, First Cobalt announced its plans to expand its business model, creating the only battery materials park on the continent.

The company also announced that it plans to change its name to Electra Battery Materials Corporation.

“With the continent’s rich mineral endowment, the rationale for supplying battery materials through Asia into a growing U.S. EV market is not sustainable,” the company’s CEO, Trent Mell, told Dave Jackson of The Market Herald.

“Electra will act as a bridge between North American electric vehicles and a North American source of primary and recycled material, providing a low carbon solution for zero-emission vehicles,” added Mr. Mell.

Shares in First Cobalt hit their highest price since February on Monday, coming in at $0.42 per share before evening out over the rest of the week. The company’s shares were trading at $0.385 per share as of 2:25 pm ET on Friday, November 12.

Nextech AR Solutions (CSE:NTAR) to launch “ARitize Metaverse Studio”

In technology news, Nextech AR Solutions announced on Tuesday that it plans to launch its new SaaS Metaverse Studio, “Aritize Metaverse Studio,” in early 2022.

This unified Metaverse Studio will provide the company with a first-mover advantage in the race to bring the Metaverse to the masses.

Evan Gappelberg, CEO of Nextech AR Solutions sat down with The Market Herald’s Caroline Egan to discuss the upcoming launch.

“I’m proud of the team,” said Mr. Gappelberg, “for being able to achieve this first to market Metaverse Studio which I believe will open the floodgates, allowing anyone to create their own mini-metaverses.”

Shares in Nextech AR Solutions are up 1.70 per cent, trading at $1.79 per share as of 2:28 pm ET.

Maven Brands Inc. (CSE:MJ) launches crowdfunding campaign

Maven, a licensed cannabis producer, announced on Tuesday that it has launched a crowdfunding campaign for its partner-focused craft cannabis processing facility and program.

The company will issue up to a maximum of 8,333,334 units at $0.18 per unit to raise up to $1.5 million.

“Maven is providing the craft cannabis community and the general public with an opportunity to join us as we prepare to disrupt the craft cannabis processing sector,” said Maven CEO Darcy Bomford. “This is an opportunity to invest in a much-needed capacity-building project which will provide services to one of the fastest-growing segments in the federal licensing system: micro-cultivators.”

Shares in Maven Brands are up 2.5 per cent, trading at $0.205 per share as of 1:19 pm ET.

TomaGold (TSXV:LOT) discovers gold-bearing structures at Obalski

On Wednesday, TomaGold announced the discovery of gold-bearing structures at its Obalski Property in Chibougamau, Quebec.

Highlights include 1.41 g/t gold over 28.50 m, including 6.84 g/t gold over 1.50 m and 4.03 g/t gold over 4.50 m.

The results stem from the first phase of its 11,500 m drilling program on the property.

CEO David Grondin sat down with Caroline Egan to discuss the discovery at the historic project.

“Obalski is a historical project that has been drilled for over 100 years,” he said, “so the discovery that we’ve made in the latest drilling is […] significant.”

Shares in TomaGold were down 7.14 per cent on Friday, trading at $0.065 per share as of 11:49 am ET.

Nevada Copper (TSX:NCU) announces upsize and pricing of public offering of units

Our final Top 5 story for this week comes from mining company Nevada Copper, who announced an upsize in its marketed public offering on Thursday.

The company has upsized the offering from C$75 million to approximately C$114 million. The increase in proceeds will provide the company with additional funds to advance the ramp-up of its underground mine at its Pumpkin Hollow Project.

The offering is expected to close on or about November 29, 2021.

Shares in Nevada Copper were down 1.30 per cent on Friday, trading at $0.76 per share as of 2:41 pm ET.

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