30 September 2020
To our first ‘Blytheweigh’s Big Picture’, a monthly round up of the biggest stories from Blytheweigh clients, significant news from the sectors in which they operate and topics that got us thinking throughout the month.
We’ll be bringing you an update like this every month, hopefully imparting some insight into the stories that may, or may not, already be on your radar.
One exciting development for us this month was the selection of Bw’s charity of the year, which we will be supporting through monthly contributions and extra team fundraising activities, over the next 12 months. As a team, we selected The Woodland Trust – a UK-based charity that plants, and cares for woods and trees to help combat climate change and protect precious ecosystems. Donations go towards planting trees that act as carbon stores for some of the 5.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions that the average person contributes to each year. We’ll be sure to share our fundraising activities on social media!
If there’s anything you’d like to hear more about or discuss, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to us on twitter - @blytheweigh.
As countries throughout the world continue to navigate their way through the maze caused by the global pandemic, this month saw healthy bounce backs in the prices of both copper and iron ore. As China - the world’s leading steel and copper consumer - began to recover from the economic fragility caused by the pandemic by increasing spending on infrastructure and construction, the price of metals associated with those industries continued to rise.
This was also the case for nickel prices which continued an uphill trajectory over the course of the month. Nickel is one of the key components of the batteries used in electric vehicles (“EVs”), so as the demand for EVs proliferates, as does the demand for nickel. It is postulated that the demand for the metal will face a six-fold increase by 2030.
The topic of renewable energy solutions was rarely out of the spotlight this month, particularly at the beginning of September when lithium was included, amongst a host of other metals, on the EU’s critical raw materials list. The list contains elements which the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, pledged to support the production of domestically, reducing the current dependency on importing from countries such as China. The list - which includes lithium, cobalt, and rare earths – highlights the key elements that have been highlighted as crucial during the pandemic, many of which are needed to manufacture technological and electronical items, including EVs. By instigating momentum on the domestic supply of these elements, and moving away from a dependence on other countries, it is thought that the EU can become more self-sufficient and sustainable.
Blytheweigh zooms in… on staycations
Towards the end of the summer months, the news has been inundated with quarantine enforcements on travellers returning home from sunny destinations across the world. After months of lockdown and the restlessness provoked by being cooped up inside, we were all dreaming of space, sun, and fresh air. Although there are many who had written off packing up their flip flops and jetting off for a week, a littering of out of office replies and social media posts this month would lead us to assume many had decided to head to places promising clearer skies and warmer seas than the UK.
A few members of the Bw team opted for something somewhere in the middle – a staycation – and they weren’t alone. There have been many reports on one of the few positive stories amidst perpetual lockdown measures – the boom in tourism on our home soil. People have cottoned onto what the UK can offer, something which is often overlooked when its patchwork green landscape is left behind for the inflatable-dotted pools of Europe throughout summer.
The mass exodus to the more scenic areas of the UK brought with it a competitive haste to snap up the charming, reasonably priced accommodation on offer. Unless you had hedged your bets as soon as travel restrictions in the UK were lifted and booked a trip straight away, finding something in the usual throng of tourist spots – Cornwall, the Lake District, the Cotswolds, Dorset – wasn’t an easy feat this summer. The prices rose to eye-watering levels and the places that were left available weren’t quite the quirky seaside cottages or rustic, beamed barn conversions one might picture for a staycation.
However, once bookings were made, one advantage of the staycation is avoiding the usual kerfuffle of packing a week’s supply of liquids into a small plastic bag to comply with cabin luggage rules; you could pack as much as you fancied, even your own pillow. It trades in long queues through security and panic-buying travel insurance at the airport, for an exchange cost of fidgety and tedious queues of traffic. However, with your playlist and (fingers-crossed ) functioning air-con on, you’ll eventually arrive at your destination and embrace the eccentricities of the chirpy Airbnb host who arrives on a 6ft long surfboard/skateboard hybrid he made himself, talks about his Olympic gymnast past and asks for advice on his love life (perhaps only applicable if you stay in the ‘quirky 1 bed apartment’ in Weymouth).
Holidaying in the UK also brings with it a whole new itinerary of daily activities. The abroad fail-safe option of ‘relaxing by the pool with a good holiday read’ doesn’t really wash in Cornwall; the sun might peep out long enough to warrant SPF, but it’s unlikely to be a reliable enough presence for donning your swimwear for the day. Agendas therefore take on a more active shape with an abundance of sight-seeing walks, surf lessons, paddle boarding, manor house visits and hikes. If the UK does one thing right, it’s scenery. Even on a soggy, windy day you can’t wish for more when faced with long stretches of rugged coastline curved around pebble beaches or basically anywhere the eye falls in the Lake District.
Once you accept the lack of 4G, learn to negotiate the crowds trying their best to socially distance in cramped seaside towns, and come to terms with having fish and chips for the third night in a row as booking somewhere to eat is nigh on impossible when half of England has descended upon typically tight spots of the country, it’s surprising how many times you hear yourself saying “why do we go to so much effort and spend so much money to leave Great Britain for our holidays, it’s really quite nice here”.
A focus on...
Cornish Lithium finds globally significant lithium
One of the defining stories from September was the announcement from Cornish Lithium, the exploration company focused on the zero-carbon extraction of lithium and other battery metals in Cornwall, regarding its preliminary sampling of lithium in deep geothermal waters at its United Downs site. Results from this sampling revealed that the project had globally significant deposits of lithium. This prospect not only ignites hopes of a renaissance of Cornwall’s rich mining history, but also signals the potential for the UK’s positioning at the helm of new age, green energy production.
Testing indicated some of the world’s highest grades of lithium and the best overall chemical qualities encountered in published records for geothermal waters anywhere in the world. The nature of the extraction of the metal from water also qualifies it as the ultimate ethical source of lithium. One of the defining messages from the announcement was the potential for a ‘zero-carbon’ extraction of a metal which would go towards a ‘zero-carbon’ automotive future.
Jeremy Wrathall, CEO at Cornish Lithium, was highly optimistic about what the discovery meant for not only Cornwall, but for the UK and its automotive sector overall. He said that, domestically speaking, it would mean a resurgence in the prosperity of Cornwall, a region steeped in mining legacy, with the introduction of jobs and a boost to the economy. Jeremy remarked that the results from a very specific part of Cornish Lithium’s asset base could reasonably be expected to be replicated across the region, due to the extensive presence of the granite-rich geology that stretches throughout the South West.
The Faraday Institute - a governmental body that looks at the UK’s production of EVs - has stated that in order to meet consumer demands for EVs the UK will need to produce 60,000 tonnes of lithium by 2025. Cornish Lithium stated in a press conference following the announcement that it hopes to supply a ‘significant’ portion of that amount from the moment it begins commercial production in the next three-five years. This would mean the UK becoming a notable presence in the lithium supply chain – particularly with Cornish Lithium’s environmentally friendly extraction process – and therefore an important cog in the worldwide EV battery market. This in turn reduces the reliance on China’s metal production market, which is an industry often criticised for its high carbon outputs and high environmental costs.
Based across the world, our clients operate within constantly evolving sectors, which means a constant stream of updates, and the month of September was no exception.
This month was a busy one for interim results, with announcements from the following companies:
Alien Metals (AIM: UFO) - https://bit.ly/3l3boJl
Anglo Asian Resources (AIM: AAZ) - https://bit.ly/3cvvysi
Amur Minerals (AIM: AMC) - https://bit.ly/33kx6Cx
Arkle Resources (AIM: ARK – https://bit.ly/3l4XiXX
Oriole Resources (AIM :ORR) - https://bit.ly/33Sd5SQ
Petrel Resources (AIM :PET) - https://bit.ly/3j213g8
Alien Metals (AIM: UFO) had a busy September, opening the month with the announcement that Bill Brodie Good, Technical Director, had been appointed as CEO. The Company also raised £1.25 million, in a placing and subscription of new shares, which it said would be invested in the high-impact exploration at its projects in Mexico and Australia. Later on in the month, it announced it had proceeded onto the next stage of exploration at its Australian Hamersley Iron Ore Projects. An experienced geological team had commenced with planned sampling, drilling and mapping with the aim of converting the targets into JORC compliant resources.
Alien also announced it had entered into an Exclusivity Agreement with Capstone Mining Corp in respect of the potential farm out at its Donovan 2 Copper-Gold project in Mexico, which provided a 45-day period for Capstone to undertake due diligence. https://bit.ly/30qZy3L, https://bit.ly/3bDFdwR, https://bit.ly/3mfkXpV, https://bit.ly/3mTsScL
Some exciting news was shared by Amur Minerals (AIM: AMC) following a busy month for the company (it was announced at the close of August that it had invested in Nathan River Resources, owner of a significant iron ore deposit in Australia) that they had appointed Adam Habib as President and Executive Board Member to the Company. https://bit.ly/3lRWI0L
Arkle Resources (AIM: ARK) also commenced a drilling programme at its south-west Ireland Stonepark zinc project, where the Mineral Resource Estimate (“MRE”) totals 5.1 million tonnes grading 8.7% zinc and 2.6% lead. The two step-out drill holes will test the extension of the MRE.
Later in September, Arkle revealed five strong gold indicator anomalies had been detected along the gold trend east of Tombreen during soil sampling at its Mine River gold project in the Republic of Ireland. It announced that the next stage was to drill and/or trench the anomaly discoveries. https://bit.ly/2Fb9SWt and https://bit.ly/3ilJWp7
Also this month, Botswana Diamonds (AIM: BOD) shared the news that it had raised £300,000 via a placing with existing and new shareholders, which would go towards ongoing exploration activities in Botswana and South Africa. The Company is currently drilling kimberlite M8 on the Marsfontein licence in South Africa, and also plans to generate future drilling targets on the adjacent Thorny River concession. In Botswana, the funds will be focussed on commercialising the KX36 project following the recent acquisition of Sekaka Diamonds from Petra Diamonds.
Some great news from Caledonia Mining (AIM: CMCL) was shared at the beginning of September, especially in a landscape where miners are made accountable for the sustainability of their production processes. It announced it had raised US$13 million that it plans to invest in the construction of a solar power plant to supply electricity to its Blanket Mine in Zimbabwe. https://bit.ly/3gWTFB2
It was also announced this month that European Metals Holdings (AIM: EMH) had appointed a globally renowned engineering group, SMS group, as the lead engineer for the minerals processing and lithium battery-grade chemicals production at its Cinovec Project. https://bit.ly/2Hw9Xoq
Hummingbird Resources (AIM: HUM) announced the completion of the acquisition of the Kouroussa Project, a near-term development asset in Guinea with a high-grade mineral resource of 1.18Moz of gold. The project, once underway, opens the door for Hummingbird to become a multi-asset gold producer.
The company also shared the update that its joint venture partner for the Dugbe gold project, Pasofino, had completed its acquisition of ARX Resources. It also completed an equity financing of over $10 million that will be used for exploration and development work at Dugbe. https://bit.ly/33cmeFR and https://bit.ly/3cwGyGb.
Ironveld (AIM: IRON) shared the news that it had made progress with its strategic partner, IIG, in securing project development funding which, if completed, would provide the Company with sufficient funds to start mining and production at its magnetite project in South Africa. The developments included refining Ironveld's project funding costs and outsourcing aspects of the production process. https://bit.ly/3238cqJ
Results from the geological mapping and geophysics work programs carried out by Los Andes Copper (TSXV:LA) at its Vizcachitas Project revealed extensions to known mineralisation to the north, east and south-east of the current resources. The new data, paired with historical data, will be used to outline drill priorities that will be carried out as part of the PFS drill program. https://bit.ly/33kWLv1
Pantheon Resources (AIM: PANR) provided an update on its assets along the Alaskan North Slopes, confirming that its Alkaid Unit application completed meaning the Company will be able to drill year-round, providing a clear pathway to production. It also announced that it had received confirmation from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources that its application to form the Talitha Production Unit of 44,373 acres is complete and eligible for approval. This would mean a commitment to drill one well within two years or two wells within four years.
It was also confirmed by the Company that International Petroleum Consultants, LKA, had confirmed a Prospective Resource of 302 Million Barrels of Recoverable Oil for its Shelf Margin Deltaic horizon at Talitha. https://bit.ly/3jyVKVr and https://bit.ly/35dI6D6 and https://bit.ly/2EBdBME.
Oriole Resources (AIM: ORR) announced an exciting development from its Bibemi exploration licence in Cameroon, sharing that it had signed a 3,000-metre diamond drilling contract with Capital Limited. It anticipates that mobilisation of equipment will take approximately six to eight weeks, which will enable the Company to commence its planned maiden drilling programme at the Project during Q4-2020. https://bit.ly/3i39yX5