31 January 2021
In a bid to resist the temptation to discuss limited differences between this year and the last, we thought we’d open this month’s big picture by celebrating the small things that took place in January that were of note in the context of that day, rather than the month (which seems like too big of a framework to put anything in at the moment). Here are some of the small (and in some cases pretty unexpected) wins that made members of our team smile in the face of a long, cold January.
Naomi purchased a ‘debobbler’ which effectively removes little fluff build ups on knitwear – the process felt old school and rewarding, and made her knitwear look as good as new. Maddy took pride in the fact scrabble was the source of her cheer in January – she spent hours perfecting her word score with her parents over the course of the month. Alice spent January finessing her poker face whilst learning the tricks of the card game with her household. Anysia used the spare time to paint decorative watercolours of horses. One member of the team persevered through a dry January – while the rest of the team gave up.
In this month’s edition we’ll be look at events in the media, the lockdown, Cornish metals as it comes to the London market and a summary of Bw’s client news. If there’s anything we share in the big picture that you’d like to know more about please get in touch by emailing or reach out to us on twitter - @blytheweigh.
This may come as a surprise, but there were other developments this month that rippled throughout the news, underneath the giant waves that were Donald Trump’s removal from social media platforms and the inauguration of Joe Biden as the United State’s 46th President. One story that took place on UK soil, which fits nicely with the aquatic metaphor, is the surprising, chance rise in popularity of the ‘sea shanty’ music genre. Sea shanties were historically sung by sailors on merchant ships as a way to keep them in time with their work and as something to do/brighten their spirits one could only imagine.
Their unexpected revival was due to the ‘Tik Tok’ app and popularity of a video which featured users harmonising remotely to one particular sea shanty called ‘Wellerman’. The person at the centre of the craze was Scottish postman (and part-time musician) Nathan Evans who uploaded a solo performance of a folk song called ‘The Scotsman’.
Noone’s really sure why the genre has captured the heart of so many so spontaneously, but some have commented that the songs’ penchant for unifying groups of people and the fact you can feel part of a wider community (without the prerequisite of a particularly strong signing voice) is quite an appealing prospect in the current climate.
Also, in the news this month, Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, overtook Jeff Bezos as the richest man in the world. The name behind the globe’s most valuable car company and commercial space flight business, Space X, is thought to be worth $185 billion (£166 billion). His earnings are going to come in handy as he continues to work on his long-term goal of enabling humans to land on Mars – an endeavour Musk hopes to realise this decade.
Another topic on (seemingly) everyone’s lips was the cryptocurrency Bitcoin and its surge in price and attention 12 years after its creation. As the currency becomes increasingly recognised as a plausible mainstream payment method, more and more investors are purchasing shares which resulted in Bitcoin breaking through the $30,000 mark for the first time.
Although the currency has a history of major market volatility (it plummeted from $19,000 in 2017 to $4,000 in 2018), its advocates view it as a ‘value store’ safe haven that, in a similar way to gold, provides protection against the fluctuations caused by stimulus programmes and market uncertainty following the pandemic. The recent surge is also thought to be due to PayPal announcing it will begin allowing customers to buy, sell and use the cryptocurrency.
Blytheweigh zooms in… on making the best of lockdown
As we find ourselves one month into our third lockdown, we have spent some time scouring the internet for ways to view the most commonplace lockdown pursuits with more rose-tinted glasses. We can be willing it to end with almost all of our might, whilst leaving 5.0 per cent of our brain power to recognise that all these midday walks are having more of an impact than purely giving us a reason to wear our new Christmas coat.
Let’s start with those walks. Never before has a daily wander received such positive PR and widespread appreciation. Even those who would often not leave the house for entire weekends, preferring to go full ‘sloth-mode’ and watch back-to-back Netflix episodes, are venturing on six-mile walks and purchasing fit for purpose boots for their off-piste forest ambles. Asides from being verging on essential to prevent cabin fever and to serve as a reminder that other people outside our homes are also inhabiting this world, the humble walk actually has some pretty amazing health benefits. A study conducted in 2013 showed that a brisk walk can help your heart health as much as running, reducing the risk of high blood pressure by as much as 7.2 per cent, the risk of contracting type 2 diabetes by 12 per cent and the risk of high cholesterol by 7.0 per cent.
Time spent outdoors also means time for your skin to absorb some vitamin D, which is produced by our body automatically when our skin is exposed to sunlight – important for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. Studies also show that the vitamin boosts our immune systems and helps our bodies to fight off infections and viruses; in fact, the research body NICE have commentated that vitamin D deficiency may be linked to poorer outcomes in those diagnosed with coronavirus. Another reason for those extended walks!
A further positive to be gleaned (by some) from the lockdown is the lack of the daily commute. Working from home has meant that the commute – whether that be by tube, car or electric scooter (jealous, if so) – is now redundant. In its place we have longer sleeps (the average commuter apparently spent 58.4 minutes on the journey), the ability to exercise before work, more money to spend on new athleisure wear or baking supplies, time to prepare something more nutritious than a coffee and nature valley bar for breakfast, and the brain capacity to mull over something other than the worry that the packed trains/tubes that don’t show up at all will mean you’re late for work again. Some numbers for the stat fans: commuting is said to increase stress levels by 55 per cent, reduce our physical activity by 41 per cent and increase our consumption of fast food by 29 per cent.
A focus on... Cornish Metals announces its intention to float
Although we’re celebrating small wins this month, January marked a significant win for Cornish Metals as it announced its intention to float on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange this February. The Company, who changed its name from Strongbow Exploration last summer, is also hoping to raise £5 million by way of a private placement of new common shares in order to progress its United Downs copper-tin project in Cornwall.
The decision to list onto the London Stock Exchange was determined by the Company’s strategy to partner with investors from the UK and work in tandem to develop a domestic foothold in the world’s technology-metals market. The Company’s two projects in Cornwall, which has been designated as a ‘High Potential Opportunity’ region by the UK government, have received local and countrywide support for their development. This is due to the recognition of Cornwall’s potential to contribute to the world’s rise in demand for metals such as copper, tin and lithium to forward the development of the high-tech sector as well as a growing demand for domestically sourced materials.
The Company’s primary asset of focus, United Downs, is a near-surface, high-grade copper-tin discovery, surrounded by four former producing copper and tin mines, and regarded as an exciting prospect to produce key metals needed for the growth of the technology sector and the UK’s transition to a low-carbon economy. Over the past year, significant drilling results included 14.69 metres grading 8.45 per cent copper, 1.19 per cent tin, and 0.15 per cent zinc. The programme also identified a further six mineralised lode structures located between United and Consolidated Mines, both historic high-grade copper producers that mined from surface to 500 metres, as well as an intersected mineralisation at over 700 metres.
The proceeds of the fundraising will be used to conduct a drill programme at United Downs to determine the resource potential of a 1,000 metre strike section of the target area, and for general working capital.
The Company’s other project, the South Crofty tin project, was found to host one of the highest-grade tin resources globally following the Preliminary Economic Assessment in 2017. The diamond drill programme last year revealed that there was potential to materially increase the existing resource beneath and along strike from previously mined lodes.
The Company also has an interest in, and will received royalties from, the project underway by Cornish Lithium, who is exploring for and developing lithium in hot spring brines and associated geothermal energy on Mineral Rights held by Cornish Metals.
With the G7 summit also taking place in Cornwall, 2021 is proving to be an exciting year not just for Cornish Metals, but for Cornwall as a region.
Asiamet [AIM: ARS] kicked off the new year with news that it had received approval for the Company’s AMDAL, the Environmental Permit, which would allow its BKM copper project development to proceed to the final step in securing a forestry borrow-to-use permit from the Government of Indonesia (view release).
Amur Minerals [AIM: AMC] shared an update on its investment in Nathan River Resources, that operates the Roper Bar iron ore project, stating that it had received its Q4 2020 interest payment based on its US$4.67 million Convertible Loan Note (view release).
Anglo Asian Mining announced that it had added a new copper-gold discovery, "Zafer", to its portfolio in its Gedabek Contract Area in western Azerbaijan (view release).
There was a major milestone for Brazilian Nickel (“BRN”) this month as it announced it had completed an equity investment funding totalling US$27.57 million. The Company announced it would use the capital to fund BRN’s bankable feasibility study for its Brazilian Piauí Nickel Project and help fund construction of its PNP 1000 project (view release).
Botswana Diamonds [AIM: BOD] announced that it had undertaken a Company-arranged placing with existing and new investors to raise £363,000 via the issue of 60,500,000 new ordinary shares (view release).
January was a positive month for Caledonia Mining [AIM: CMCL] who announced that it was increasing its quarterly dividend to US$0.11 on each of the Company's shares. This is the fourth increase in five quarters and represents a 60% cumulative increase from the level of 6.875 cents since October 2019 (view release).
The Company also announced record annual production from its Blanket mine, Zimbabwe, during 2020 of 57,899 ounces, the top end of the Company's revised increased guidance. Gold production for 2021 is expected to be between 61,000 - 67,000 ounces (view release).
After a busy 2020, Cornish Lithium certainly isn’t slowing down in 2021. It kicked off January with news that it had been granted rights to explore for lithium within geothermal waters in areas off both the north and south coasts of Cornwall, by the Crown Estate (view release).
This news was then followed by the announcement that Li4UK, a consortium of whom Cornish Lithium is a part of, had successfully produced lithium carbonate from two UK sources – one from Cornish Lithium’s Trelavour project site in Cornwall and another from Scotland (view release).
Condor Mining [AIM: CNR] also had a busy month as it announced a flurry of updates from its La India gold project in Nicaragua. It shared that a second drill rig had been mobilised and drilling had started on a 4,000 metre close-spaced infill diamond drilling programme within the permitted open pit on site (view release).
On the 25th, it then notified the market that it had completed a ground investigation programme of 23 geotechnical drill holes and 58 test pits on the Tailings Storage Facility (TSF), Water Retention/Attenuation Reservoir and Processing Plant site at the project (view release).
Griffin Mining [AIM: GFM] announced that the central Chinese Ministry of Natural Resources had featured its Caijiaying Mine as top of the list of mines operating in China that have passed the national level green mine assessment (view release).
Griffin also released news earlier in the month that it had received the its Mining Licence for Zone II (view release) and that there had been a significant increase to the Zone II Mineral Resource at its Caijiaying Mine, which included 1.49 million tonnes of zinc (from 0.638 million tonnes), 463,000 ounces of gold (from 164,000 ounces) and 36.8 million ounces of silver (from 15.5 million ounces) (view release).
January proved to also be a busy month for Bluejay Mining [AIM: JAY] as it announced that it had been notified by Rio Tinto that remaining conditions had been satisfied for the commencement of the Enonkoski Project joint-venture and earn-in agreement (view release).
It then announced exciting geochemical results of its maiden fieldwork programme which had been targeting precious and base metals at the Company’s Thunderstone Project in Greenland (view release).
We were pleased to get an update on Los Andes Copper’s [TSX: LA] Pre-Feasibility Study at its Vizcachitas Project in Chile. The Company shared that it had received improved flotation rougher recoveries resulting from further metallurgical testwork that meant it would be able to increase copper and molybdenum recoveries (view release).
Oriole Resources [AIM: ORR] provided a summary on its Q1 work programmes, including the Senala programme in partnership with IAMGOLD, the maiden diamond drilling programme at the Bibemi project in Cameroon, and the pilot trenching at Wapouzé (view release).
There was lots happening for Pantheon Resources [AIM: PANR] who announced it had been successful in the acquisition of 100 per cent interest of approximately 66,000 acres in the State of Alaska's North Slope Areawide Lease Sale (view release).
It then shared that it had reached agreement with Otto Energy Alaska, to acquire its 100 per cent ownership of Borealis Alaska LLC. This acquisition means that Pantheon will own a 100 per cent working interest in the Talitha Unit (view release).
The Talitha #A appraisal well was spudded this month, ahead of schedule on 13 January, 2021, with drilling planned to a total vertical depth of approximately 10,000 feet (view release).
Phoenix Copper [AIM: PXC] provided an operational update for the Empire Mine including progress of the optimisation of the Empire Mine open pit economic model and feasibility study. It also announced the results of the 2020 Navarre Creek sampling programme (view release).