15 August 2021
We’ve all seen an increase in the number of out of offices over the past few weeks as holiday season has well and truly rolled on by, picking up more takers this year as travel restrictions have been lifted, at least in the UK. Summer has seemed to return to business as usual and although the weather may not have been putting on its best August performance, there’s only a few more days left to hear people grumble about it – emails have been coming through detailing this year’s best autumn coats!
Despite the summer holidays, it’s still been a busy few weeks for Blytheweigh’s clients, including a transformational announcement from Bluejay Mining which we discuss in full in our Focus segment this month. We also look at some of the headlines from the past few weeks, such as news of the dramatic reduction in water volume of one of the US’ largest man-made reservoirs.
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At the end of last month, it was reported that extreme heatwaves in the US, which have seen approximately 65 per cent of the country suffer severe drought, the country’s worst rates in 122 years, have left the Hoover Dam at record lows. It is thought that extreme heat, due to global warming, and a rising demand for water has lead Lake Mead, one of America’s largest man-made reservoirs, to fall 161 ft below its "full pool" level and shrink to 35 per cent of its capacity. The decrease in water level follows scorching temperatures in the area, which, in July, broke its own record of hosting the earth’s hottest ambient temperature by reaching 54.4C. The crisis is visible to the eye due to the ‘bathtub ring’ waterline along the canyon walls.
Closer to home, in a bid to cater to the UK’s energy needs and curtail the global climate crisis, new plans were released by the government for a hydrogen economy wherein the element could heat three million UK homes by 2030. It was reported that UK hydrogen production could be worth £900 million and create 9,000 jobs. The plans contain proposals of a subsidy system to support large hydrogen projects to decarbonise areas that cannot run on electricity. Although plans contain green hydrogen schemes, where the element is extracted from water, critics are calling on the government to drop any inclusion of blue hydrogen, which is extracted from fossil fuel gas, altogether.
Furthermore, although it has proven entertaining to watch Wally the Walrus’ adventures around Europe, marine observers have shared concerns for the trend of Arctic mammals leaving their natural habitats. Wally, the 800-pound walrus, has spent the summer travelling 2,500 miles touring western Europe, including Wales and Cornwall, wowing tourists and sinking boats as he climbed aboard them to rest. Some experts are concerned that Wally’s adventures are a direct result of the semiaquatic animals searching for land, or floating objects, to rest upon in the absence of ice caps which are progressively melting due to climate change. Wally was spotted at the beginning of August heading homeward, to the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard.
Blytheweigh zooms in… on the future of cinema
The usual flurry of loud, dramatic trailers during an evening watching TV started once again at the beginning of the summer, signalling the onset, and return, of summer blockbusters airing at the cinema. After cinemas were among other social industries forced to close their doors as a result of the pandemic, box office takings were unsurprisingly hit hard – and fell to their lowest levels since 1928. Postponed releases from big studios left cinemas playing the same films far longer than they usually would, and many cinemas faced the prospect of shutting their doors indefinitely fearing they wouldn’t be able to weather the storm.
The pandemic was for many cinemas the last straw for an industry that has struggled to maintain the same appeal it used to have for movie fans worldwide. The rise in subscription home streaming outlets, that can offer a more convenient and affordable alternative for people to watch films, has meant that there has been a notable decline in people going to the cinema – especially young audiences. Reasons for this include the high price of cinema tickets, the effort involved in organising a trip with others and the need to make an ‘event’ of it (i.e. a meal out, a game of bowling after the film) which incurs more costs – all factors that can be avoided when streaming Harry Potter for the umpteenth time wearing your pyjamas and crunching on a packet of Butterkist popcorn.
In terms of the film industry as a whole, streaming services actually threw out a lifeline during the pandemic: in the absence of the likes of Odeon and Vue, expensive blockbusters set their sights on home services to air the films they had spent years and millions of pounds producing - and it worked. The film Trolls World Tour earned Universal Studios $100 million through streaming, making it the ‘biggest digital movie debut ever’.
The issue is that it worked so well studios have since shown signs of edging towards this format permanently in a bid to claim a greater slice of the profits (in the absence of the cut cinemas take when showing films). This was the case when Disney chose to simultaneously release Cruella and Black Widow in cinemas and on their Disney+ streaming outlet for an extra fee on top of subscription – a move which has led Scarlett Johansson to sue Disney claiming monetary losses due to a negative impact on her box office bonus. The trend could spell trouble for the large cinema chains if people choose to stay in and watch films featuring the biggest names in film, especially considering studio-produced films account for 90 per cent of their business. Although independent cinemas are marginally less affected by this cause and effect as they tend to show older films, or smaller indie pictures, if the window of time between a new film being shown at the cinema and being available via streaming services keeps reducing as it has, even these cinemas will face trouble.
In order to keep the magical business alive – where you can be totally immersed in a production whilst eating minstrels mixed in with warm cinema popcorn (honestly, give it a try), without the distraction of a phone or being able to pause the film to make a cup of tea– here is a list of the films to watch out for over the next few months:
Candyman, 27th August 2021
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Movie, 3rd September 2021
No time To Die, 30th September 2021
Mass, release date TBC, but possibly October
The Night House, 20th August 2021
Eternal, 5th November 2021
Respect, 10th September 2021
King Richard, 19 November 2021
A focus on... Bluejay Mining signs JV with Bill Gate and Jeff Bezos backed company to search for battery metals
There was a monumental announcement from Bluejay Mining this month which announced that it had signed a joint venture agreement ('JV') with KoBold Metals (‘KoBold’), a mineral exploration company that uses machine learning to guide exploration for new deposits rich in the critical materials for electric vehicles (view release). The agreement would see the development of the Company’s Disko-Nuussuaq nickel, copper, cobalt, platinum magmatic massive sulphide project in Central West Greenland get kickstarted as a result of the investment from a globally significant partner.
In line with the Company’s strategy to ensure it optimises the best expenditure and ownership outcome for its shareholders, it has brought on board a trailblazing company in KoBold. Kobold’s principal investors include Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a climate & technology fund which is overseen by some of the world’s wealthiest individuals, and renowned investors and innovators of our time: Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, Jeff Bezos, and Ray Dalio.
This deal represents the first time KoBold has invested in a UK company and into a junior exploration and development company, emphasising Bluejay’s reputation in Greenland and the outstanding potential of the Disko project. KoBold will use pioneering artificial intelligence and machine learning, created from scratch by alumni of top Silicon Valley software companies, to maximise its chances of discovering the critical battery metals at Disko, such as nickel and cobalt, as well as copper, essential for the electrification of future technology, to drive the EV revolution and green transition f to meet climate change goals. The disruptive technology was deemed by Bluejay to be the perfect match for the Disko project, where a wealth of data has already been collected and analysed and where significant investment and pioneering technology was required to progress the vast asset to the next phase.
Another point of note for the Disko project is that KoBold's distinguished nickel expert, Dr. Peter Lightfoot, was earlier involved with the historical Falconbridge campaign at Disko-Nuussuaq during the 1990s and, moreover, has been part of a team that has identified major discoveries in every one of the cobalt-producing nickel-copper sulphide belts in Canada. Dr. Lightfoot is understood to be very confident about locating a large-scale discovery at the project.
Not only will the JV have transformational repercussions for Bluejay and its project, it also represents a huge moment for the future of mining where tech and investment heavy weights turn their attention to mining and to small, junior companies, with the end goal being to find sustainable and ethical sources of metals critical to the green transition. This deal sets a precedent for large disruptive companies such as KoBold, with strong financial capabilities and pioneering equipment, to partner with junior exploration companies, such as Bluejay, who have the local expertise and respected in-country networks, operational and logistical knowledge and the experience of adapting their processes to the needs of the local environment. This is especially prevalent to working in Greenland where its sheer size and cold temperatures can present challenges, such as shorter exploration seasons.
As well as managing field operations during the investment period, Bluejay will also maintain a 49% ownership of the Disko project. The large proportion of ownership interest is another factor which distinguishes this deal and offers the unique opportunity for public investors to invest alongside a private investment entity of this magnitude.
The following updates were released from Blytheweigh clients from 15th July – 14th August.
Apollon Formularies [AQSE: APOL] has made progress with its International Cancer Institute in Kingston, Jamaica, with the appointment of Dr. Dingle Spence as Medical Director of the facility (view release).
Following the success of the breast cancer results, Apollon also showed that through independent testing its formulations were successful in killing prostate cancer cells in 3D culture (view release).
The company also appointed joint Chief Operating Officers for its operations in Europe and the Caribbean and North America (view release).
Arkle Resources [AIM:ARK] provided a summary of the activity from its Annual General Meeting (view release).
It also released results from its fifth drillhole of the diamond drilling programme being undertaken at the company's 100% owned Mine River Gold Project in Wicklow / Wexford (view release).
All Star Minerals [AQSE: ASMO] announced it had conditionally issued 1,628,500,000 new ordinary shares at a price of 0.02 pence per share through a placing raising gross proceeds of £110,000 and a subscription raising gross proceeds of £146,700 and a conversion of £54,000 in lieu of existing liabilities (view release).
Bluejay Mining [AIM:JAY] kicked off its month with a release stating that HMRC had formally written to the Upper Tribunal withdrawing its appeal on the First-Tier Tribunal's (Tax Chamber) decision (view release).
The company also announced it had signed a binding term sheet and entered into a conditional agreement for the sale of its Paltamo and Rautavaara Nickel-Zinc-Copper-Cobalt projects in Finland to Metals One plc for a combination of cash and shares totalling £4 million (view release).
Botswana Diamonds [AIM:BOD] shared results from an analysis of samples from the drill campaign on the Thorny River diamond project (view release).
It later shared that four high-quality diamonds and abundant kimberlitic indicators were recovered from drill samples at the recently discovered River Kimberlite Extension at Thorny River in the Limpopo Province of South Africa (view release).
Private Company, Brazilian Nickel, shared an update on its operations at the Piauí Nickel Project for the quarter ended 30 June 2021 (view release).
An update was provided by Beowulf Mining [AIM:BEM] which invested a further £100,000 in Vardar Minerals Ltd, increasing the Company's ownership in Vardar from 48.4 per cent to approximately 49.4 per cent (view release).
Marking a significant milestone for the Company, caledonia Mining [AIM:CMCL] published its inaugural Environmental, Social and Governance Report (view release).
In August, the company announced its operating and financial results for the quarter and the six months ended June 30, 2021 (view release).
Cloudbreak Discovery [LSE: CDL] made its first acquisition from its strategic alliance with Alianza Minerals with the Klondike Project in Colorado, USA, which targets copper deposits (view release).
Cloudbreak also strengthened its management team with a number of non-board appointments (view release).
During this period, Condor Gold [AIM:CNR] published assay results from a further 12 diamond core drill holes located between and along strike of the planned high-grade La India Starter Pits (view release).
The company also released its unaudited interim financial report together with Management's Discussion and Analysis for the three- and six-month periods to 30 June 2021 (view release).
Cornwall-based Cornish Lithium noted that GeoCubed, the joint venture between Cornish Lithium Limited and Geothermal Engineering Limited, announced that GeoLith SAS had been selected to provide their Li-Capt® Direct Lithium Extraction technology for GeoCubed’s Pilot Plant (view release).
Meanwhile, Cornish Metals [AIM:CUSN] released details of a technical report it filed pursuant to National Instrument 43-101 for the South Crofty Tin Project, Cornwall, United Kingdom (view release).
The company later announced the results of its 2021 Annual General and Special Meeting of the shareholders of the company (view release).
Lithium-development company, European Metals [AIM:EMH], shared that its American Depository Share (ADS) programme became available for trading in the US on Tuesday 27 July 2021 (view release).
It also shared its activities during the three-month period ending 30 June 2021 (view release).
Griffin Mining [AIM:GFM] released its unaudited results for the six months ended 30th June 2021 (view release).
It later shared the news that it would appoint Mr Clive Whiley as Senior Independent Director of the company (view release).
Hummingbird Resources [AIM:HUM] shared its operational and trading update for the second quarter of 2021 (view release).
It later shared an update on the company's 2021 exploration drilling programme at the Komana East deposit at the Yanfolila gold mine, Mali (view release).
Ionic Rare Earths [ASX:IXR] announced it had appointed Mr. Max McGarvie as a Non-Executive Director of the company (view release).
It later shared the news that the third rig at Makuutu had been mobilised (view release).
The company then announced that it would undergo a Scoping Study to assess having its own Separation and refining processing facility for its concentrates to come from its heavy rare earths basket (view release).
Love Hemp Group [AQSE: LIFE] announced an impressive trading update for the year ended 30 June 2021. Highlights include a 60% increase in total revenue to £4.31 million compared to the previous year, and a 244% increase in the number of units sold during in the year ended June 2020, compared to that of 2019 (view release).
Mkango Resources [AIM:MKA] announced the transformational update that there would be a restructuring of Mkango and Talaxis' interests in both the Songwe Hill Rare Earths Project and Maginito (view release).
National Milk Records [AQSE:NMR] also announced an overview of its activities from Q2 (view release).
Oriole Resources [AIM:ORR] provided an update on its Senala project in Senegal, where joint venture partner IAMGOLD Corporation has completed Phase 1 of its Year 4 programme (view release).
In August, the company announced an update on its Central Cameroon Licence Package that a package-wide mapping and stream sediment sampling programme had now been completed (view release).
Alaska-focused oil exploration company, Pantheon Resources [AIM: PANR] announced a significant resource upgrade the Shelf Margin Deltaic (‘SMD’) horizon at its Talitha project. Management believe the SMD-B, which is one of three discrete intervals in the SMD horizon, has the potential to contain 2.6 billion barrels OIP and a P50 Contingent Resource (recoverable) of 404 million barrels oil (view release).
Phoenix Copper [AIM:PXC] announced it would be establishing an American Depositary Receipt Programme over the company's shares. It is intended that the ADRs will trade on New York's OTCQX Market (view release)
It then shared the news that there had been an increase in its land holding at its Navarre Creek gold exploration project, in Idaho, with 56 new claims having been staked on the northeast end of the existing claim block (view release).
Thor Explorations [AIM:THX] had an extremely busy and exciting month, first announcing the commissioning of its gold processing plant following the successful turning of the mills at its 100% owned Segilola Gold Project (view release) and then, on 30th July, announcing first gold pour (view release).
Later in August, the company announced further drilling results from the southern Makosa Tail and Makosa Bridge prospects at its Douta Project, Senegal (view release).
To round-off a busy few weeks, Thor then revealed drilling results from the northern extensions of the Makosa mineralised trend at its Douta Project, Senegal (view release).
Walkabout Resources shared its activities during the three-month period ending 30 June 2021 (view release).