Today’s Market View – Gemfields, Empire Metals, Bushveld Minerals and more…

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SP Angel . Morning View . Monday 19 04 21

Copper, gold, PGM and tin prices rise on Biden stimulus and renewables

 

Bushveld Minerals* (LON:BMN) – Union urges return to work as unofficial stoppage at Vametco

Caledonia Mining* (LON:CMCL) – Blanket mine Q1 gold production

Empire Metals* (LON:EEE) – ​ Results highlight progress at Eclipse gold project and nearing of completion on sale of Bolnisi copper project

Gemfields (LON:GEM) – Kagem emerald auction

Greatland Gold (LON:GGP) – Initial drilling at Scallywag

Petropavlovsk (LON:POG) – NED appointment

Power Metal Resources* (LON:POW) – Option extension at Australian copper-gold project

Savannah Resources* (LON:SAV) – APA declares conformity of EIA

Shanta Gold (LON:SHG) – Drilling grows MRE at Luika and returns high grade intersections at West Kenya

 

Orocobre to buy Galaxy for $1.4bn to create world’s fifth largest lithium miner

Australian lithium miner Orocobre has announced that it is buying its domestic peer Galaxy Resources for US$1.4bn.

The all-stock deal will establish Australia’s most valuable lithium miner with a A$4bn market cap which will aim to satisfy the huge levels of expected demand from rising EV sales.

The merged company expects to produce more than 130,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent, up from 40,000t currently.

Galaxy shareholders will receive 0.569 Orocobre shares for each Galaxy share. Orocobre shareholders would ultimately own 54.2% of the combined entity, with Galaxy shareholders holding the remaining 45.8%.

 

GM and LG to spend $2.3b on second EV battery plant in US

Second joint venture between GM and LG.

Expected investment of more than $2.3b.

2.8m sq ft facility is scheduled to open in 2023.

GM expected to continue to invest in battery facilities with 2035 goal of exclusively offering EVs.

 

Nornickel and Johnson Matthey sign long-term nickel-cobalt supply deal

Norilsk Nickel has signed a long-term contract to supply nickel and cobalt to Johnson Matthey’s battery materials plant in Finland.

The contract covers Johnson Matthey’s new 30k tonne capacity cathode materials plant that it is currently developing.

 

Lithium / Rare Earths – US government review to fill gaps in domestic supply chain focussing on Rare Earths (REEs)

The US Department of Energy has announced a $30m initiative to support research into securing the REE supply chain into the US

John Kerry commented “It’s absolutely correct there is a cornering of the market with lithium and other rare earths,” to CNBC.

While 80% of US REE imports are from China, China has also cornered the market for hard rock Lithium (spodumene) processing and has been trying to secure lithium brine production as well in Chile and Argentina.

A Department of Defence report from 2018 highlights that China “strategically flooded the global market” with rare earths at cheaper prices to drive out and deter current and future competitors. (CNBC)

The challenge for the Administration is how to rebuild a secure supply chain without knowing exactly what the demand picture is going to look like.

Western listed companies like Mkango*, Rainbow Rare Earths* and Pensana may form an important part of the new US supply chain particularly if they are able to show plans for further processing of their REE concentrates.

 

Recent Interviews:

IGTV:  Improved global economic forecasts from the IMF provides trading opportunities:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GXKPqzuCG0

VW expansion driving battery metals prices: https://youtu.be/7vqSrONBaWw

VOX Markets:  14/04/20: https://audioboom.com/posts/7844265-john-meyer-talks-about-china-afritin-kefi-minerals-strategic-minerals

24/03/20: https://audioboom.com/posts/7829467-john-meyer-on-arc-minerals-cornish-metals-rainbow-rare-earths-altus-stategies

12/03/20: https://www.ig.com/uk/market-insight-articles/volkswagen_s-electric-vehicle-expansion-plans-drive-a-record-hig-210317

*SP Angel almost invariably acts as nomad or broker or nomad and broker to companies mentioned in the above videos and podcasts.

We speak more about these companies as we have a good understanding of their business and can talk with a greater degree of confidence. As ever, however, it should be noted that our views do not take into account the circumstances and needs of any particular investor or investor type. So enjoy the talks, but please do your own research, including other companies not mentioned by us but operating in the same areas, and get professional advice where appropriate.

 

No.1 in Copper:  “The winner of the 2020 Fastmarkets Apex contest for copper was the team at SP Angel comprising John Meyer, Sergey Raevskiy and Simon Beardsmore, with an  accuracy score of 93.8%”

No1. In Gold:  “SP Angel’s trio took the top spot for the gold price prediction throughout the year, with an accuracy score of 97.59%”

The SP Angel team also ranked 1st in Palladium, 3rd in Tin and 5th in Silver in the fourth quarter of 2020

 

Dow Jones Industrials +0.48% at 34,201

Nikkei 225 +0.01% at 29,685

HK Hang Seng +0.46% at 29,102

Shanghai Composite +1.49% at 3,478

 

Economics

China – Sounds like the authorities are using anti-pollution rules to shut down less efficient metal production

We suspect this favours the new plants funded with low cost state-subsidised loans while pushing out less efficient plants

Being a good and well-connected communist may be an important issue for plant owners and managers

 

South Africa – Fire on Table Mountain destroys historic buildings around the University of Cape Town

Over 120 firefighters are fighting a huge fire around the University of Cape Town.

The University Jagger library and other historic monuments have been destroyed.

The fire is reported to have started as a vacated vagrant fire.

 

Currencies

US$1.1988/eur vs 1.1967/eur last week. Yen 108.42/$ vs 108.89/$. SAr 14.254/$ vs 14.213/$. $1.386/gbp vs $1.374/gbp. 0.775/aud vs 0.774/aud. CNY 6.516/$ vs 6.527/$.

 

Commodity News

Precious metals:  

Gold US$1,782/oz vs US$1,766/oz last week

Gold ETFs 99.1moz vs US$99.2moz last week

Platinum US$1,218/oz vs US$1,203/oz last week

Palladium US$2,792/oz vs US$2,749/oz last week

Silver US$25.93/oz vs US$25.90/oz last week

           

Base metals:  

Copper US$ 9,391/t vs US$9,255/t last week

Aluminium US$ 2,334/t vs US$2,326/t last week

Nickel US$ 16,145/t vs US$16,410/t last week

Zinc US$ 2,876/t vs US$2,859/t last week

Lead US$ 2,044/t vs US$2,038/t last week

Tin US$ 27,055/t vs US$26,400/t last week

           

Energy:           

Oil US$66.5/bbl vs US$67.2/bbl last week

The oil and gas sector is currently enjoying a mini-boom cycle as economies gradually re-open and oil demand begins to return to a semblance of normalcy

The oil markets are in an upbeat mood once again, with oil futures trading sharply higher last week after the US government reported a third-weekly drop in weekly inventories while the International Energy Agency (IEA) issued a bullish report for 2021

After declining 8.7MMbopd last year, the IEA now expects world oil demand to expand by 5.7MMbopd in 2021 to 96.7MMbopd

However, for many US shale producers, there’s still little to cheer about, with record numbers filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

According to Energy law firm Haynes and Boone, bankruptcies in North American producers climbed to the highest first-quarter level since 2016 as energy firms continue to struggle to recover from the oil price crash in 2020

Haynes and Boone has reported there were eight bankruptcies by North American oil and gas producers in Q1 2021, the second-highest figure for a first-quarter ever since 17 were reported for Q1 2016, the last time US crude futures dipped under US$30/bbl over the past decade

Crude prices have bounced back from these lows, with WTI trading c.US$63/bbl while Brent is changing hands at c.US$67/bbl

 

Natural Gas US$2.718/mmbtu vs US$2.668/mmbtu last week

           

Bulk:   

Iron ore 62% Fe spot (cfr Tianjin) US$172.3/t vs US$172.0/t – Iron ore prices hit ten-year high on strengthening global steel outlook

Iron ore prices in Asia continued to rise on Monday on improving global steel demand sentiment, as Chinese steel mills continue to ramp up production despite government pressure to comply with anti-pollution rules.

Global steel demand is expected to rise by 5.8% this year as economies recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the World Steel Association.

Benchmark 62% Fe imported into Northern China hit $178/t on Friday – the highest level since 2011 (mining.com).

The less-pollutive 65% Fe hit a record high of above $200/t last week, according to StelHome.

 

Chinese steel rebar 25mm US$780.7/t vs US$780.2/t

Thermal coal (1st year forward cif ARA) US$75.7/t vs US$73.6/t

Coking coal swap Australia FOB US$147.5/t vs US$147.5/t

           

Other: 

Cobalt LME 3m US$49,750/t vs US$49,750/t

NdPr Rare Earth Oxide (China) US$87,099/t vs US$87,410/t

Lithium carbonate 99% (China) US$12,585/t vs US$12,564/t – Lithium prices continue to rise

Technical-grade lithium up 114% since start of 2021. 

Battery-grade lithium up 103%.

Rio Tinto achieves battery-grade lithium at Boron mine site in California

Commenced production of battery-grade lithium from waste rock.

Feasibility assessment shows initial capacity of at least 5000 tonnes per year.

Enough to make batteries for approximately 70,000 EVs annually.

 

China Spodumene Li2O 5%min CIF US$630/t vs US$630/t

Ferro-Manganese European Mn78% min US$1,612/t vs US$1,585/t

China Tungsten APT 88.5% FOB US$270/t vs US$267/t

China Graphite Flake -194 FOB US$515/t vs US$515/t

 

Battery News

Vietnam’s largest wind power plant goes into operation

Trung Nam wind farm has a 152MW capacity from three phases of construction.

Combined with a 204MW solar power plant.

The complex will produce 950m kWh for the Vietnamese grid.

One of three wind projects in the area with accumulative capacity of 329MW

2257MW capacity across 32 solar projects also in the Ninh Thuan area.

 

Monster wind turbines are going to get even bigger

93GW of new capacity installed in the wind energy sector in 2020 (Global Wind Energy Council)

Year-on-year growth of more than 50%.

Average capacity of offshore turbines installed in 2020 was 8.2MW an increase on 5% in the previous year.

Several OEMs have recently announced plans to develop larger turbines:

GE Renewable Energy’s – Halide-X turbine with 12, 13 or 14MW configuration (announced 2018).

Vestas – plans for a 15MW turbine producing 80GWh per year.

SGRE – working on a 14MW model which can be boosted to 15MW.

 

Wind power experts expect wind energy costs to decline up to 35% by 2035

Experts anticipating a 17%-35% reduction in cost of wind energy by 2035.

Also predict 37%-49% reduction by 2050.

Driven by bigger, more efficient turbines, lower operating costs and other advancements.

Company News

Bushveld Minerals* (LON:BMN) 15.80p, Mkt cap £188m – Union urges return to work as unofficial stoppage at Vametco

(Bushveld is invested in Enerox alongside a <3% in Invinity Energy Systems)

Strong Buy 31p

Bushveld Minerals report ‘Unprotected Industrial Action’ at their Vametco operation in South Africa.

The action is over lower than expected payments in relation to expectations of payments under the recently signed Employee Participation Plan.

The EPP is in addition to performance related bonuses paid to workers but has suffered due to difficult trading conditions through the Lockdown and suppressed vanadium prices last year.

Vametco’s official union, the AMCU is reported to be urging staff to end the unofficial stoppage and return to work.

Conclusion: Vanadium prices continue to rise in China with Ferro-vanadium 50% import China rising 0.85% today to Rmb118,000/t (18.1/kgV) up 18.7% on the last six months. European prices have largely caught up with China due to rising Chinese imports drawing material away from other markets.

*SP Angel acts as Nomad and broker to Bushveld Minerals.

 

Caledonia Mining* (LON:CMCL) 1100p, Mkt Cap £139m – Blanket mine Q1 gold production

Caledonia Mining reports production of 13,197oz of gold from its Blanket gold mine in Zimbabwe during the 3 months to 31st March 2021.

The company comments that the Q1 output keeps the company on track to achieve its previously announced production guidance range of 61-67,000 for the full year.

Remarking that “Gold production has often been lower in the first quarter of each year and increases in the following quarters”, CEO, Steve Curtis explained that although several shifts were lost during the quarter as a result of unprecedented rainfall “These temporary issues have now been rectified and with the Central Shaft now operational we remain on track to hit our 80,000 ounce target in 2022”.

Mr. Curtis clarified that “Production in the first quarter of 2021 was slightly below our target and below the comparable quarter in 2020 albeit at a level which allows us to maintain our 2021 production guidance of 61,000 to 67,000 ounces f” or the full year”.

Conclusion: Excessive rainfall during the first quarter has held back production slightly but with the issues now resolved, Caledonia Mining remains confident of achieving its full-year guidance of 61-67,000oz in 2021 and of building to the long-term 80,000ozpa level in 2022.

*SP Angel mining analysts have visited Caledonia’s mining operations in Zimbabwe

 

Empire Metals* (LON:EEE) 2.9p, Mkt cap £9.5m – ​ Results highlight progress at Eclipse gold project and nearing of completion on sale of Bolnisi copper project

(Empire has acquired 75% of the Eclipse project)

Empire metals reports a loss of £675,592 for the year to end December 2020 vs a loss of £572,989 a year earlier.

Cash stands at £1.23m.

A new CEO is expected to be appointed within weeks indicating that a suitable candidate has been found to take over from Mike Struthers who is moving onto Candelaria Gold..

Candelaria Gold has offered to acquire the Bolnisi copper and exploration assets for shares, though the Russian jv partner may elect to exercise its first right of refusal to acquire the assets at a value of not less than the Candelaria Gold offer.

Administrative expenses rose in the year to £958,694 from £718,509 reflecting increased exploration and drilling at Eclipse in Australia and costs relating to negotiations with Candelaria and the Russian partner in the Bolnisi joint venture in Georgia.

Conclusion:  Empire is now focussed on adding value at the new Eclipse gold project near Kalgoorlie, Australia. The team appear to be poised to return value from the stalemate situation in Georgia either through shares in Candelaria which is building a gold mine in Mexico or though a return from the Russian joint venture partner.

*SP Angel act as Nomad and Broker for Empire Metals

 

Gemfields (LON:GEM) 7.38p, Mkt Cap £84.7m –Kagem emerald auction

Gemfields reports that it has realised US$31.4m from the sale of emeralds from its Kagem mine in Zambia.

The sale of the stones, all of which were mined prior to the Covid19 induced suspension of operations in March 2020 realised an average of US$115.59/carat.

The company says that “The auction saw 59 companies placing bids and generating total revenues of USD 31.4 million with an overall average value of USD 115.59 per carat. The auction saw 97% of the number of lots, and 99% of the offered carats, being sold. Gemfields’ 37 auctions of emeralds and beryl mined at Kagem since July 2009 have generated USD 688.8 million in total revenues”.

Managing Director for Product & Sales, Adrian Banks, explained that “This was Kagem’s highest auction revenue since March 2016 and we are very pleased to see such strong demand and pricing. “.

 

Greatland Gold (LON:GGP) 21.5p, Mkt Cap £863m – Initial drilling at Scallywag

Greatland Gold has released results from the final four drill holes of 2020 its 7-hole programme at the wholly owned Scallywag prospect in the Paterson region of W Australia.

The company explains that the 3,761m of drilling completed last year tested targets at the Kraken, London and Blackbeard prospects and that the results “provide further evidence of pathfinder element anomalism potentially distal to intrusion-related mineralised systems, and potentially along strike of the current drilling” which is to be followed up with a “staged exploration programme … to methodically drill test a series of targets based on modern geological, gravity, magnetic and recently collected airborne EM datasets”.

Initial sample results from the London target, defined by an IP anomaly, include “very high-grade intercepts of silver, copper and tungsten results (872ppm Ag, 1137ppm Cu and >2000ppm W) in the interval 349.0 – 350.0m in LOD003” which, despite rechecking to eliminate the possibility of sample contamination remains subject to confirmation “with follow up drilling scheduled for the upcoming drill programme”.

At the Kraken target, which is located close to the nose of the Scallywag syncline, “No significant gold or copper intersections are reported, although anomalous pathfinder elements (including silver, bismuth, copper and lead) are reported locally”.

Additional targets identified by the 2020 exploration programme include “Architeuthis”, a 600m long magnetic anomaly located 1km north of Kraken and 9km north-west along strike of Havieron, and which may represent primary mineralisation along the Scallywag Synform”.

The Architeuthis target is said to be in a similar stratigraphic position to the mineralisation at Havieron within the hinge zone of the syncline and is currently defined by “an elongate. Probably tabular north east trending and south west dipping magnetic anomaly around 600m long”.

Conclusion: The Scallywag area, located in a similar geological setting and relatively close to Greatland Gold’s flagship Havieron project is showing initial promise which is to be followed up in the 2021 exploration campaign. We look forward to results as the work progresses.

 

Petropavlovsk (LON:POG) 27p, Mkt Cap £1,050m – NED appointment

Mikhail Irzhevsky joined the Board as an Independent Non-Executive Director with effect from 16 April 2021.

Mr. Irzhevsky has over 25 years of commercial experience with significant expertise in internal controls, governance, corporate law and M&A transactions, including in the resources sector and in Russia.

Mr. Irzhevsky has served as chair of the audit committee for Bank Trust in Moscow since August 2019 and is currently Deputy CEO for Legal Affairs at Russian Direct Investment Fund.

Mr. Irzhevsky is a qualified lawyer, having studied at the Lomonosov Moscow State University, and is a former member of the Moscow Regional Bar Association.

 

Power Metal Resources* (LON:POW) 2.38p, Mkt cap £27m – Option extension at Australian copper-gold project

Power Metal reports that it has secured a short extension to its option to acquire First Development Resources – an Australian private company with a portfolio of copper-gold focused exploration interests in the Paterson Province in the Pilbara Region of Western Australia.

The short extension has been agreed with the vendors to 23 April 2021, allowing Power Metal sufficient time to finalise due diligence work including work in respect of additional projects in the Paterson Province that may be suitable for acquisition to further build the portfolio.

*SP Angel act as Nomad and Broker to Power Metal Resources

 

Savannah Resources* (LON:SAV) 5.4p, Mkt Cap £77m – APA declares conformity of EIA

BUY – 11.5p

Agencia Portuguesa do Ambiente (APA), the Portuguese environmental regulator, confirmed the Company’s EIA documentation to be in line with its requirements.

The approval process will now move to a public consultation stage and a detailed review by APA’s Evaluation Committee.

The public consultation is due to start this month and expected to run not less than 45 working days.

Following the consultation and the APA review, the Company is expecting to receive the Environmental Impact Declaration (DIA) in August 2021.

Conclusion: Portuguese environmental authorities decision allows Mina do Barroso lithium project permitting to progress onto a next stage involving public consultation and a detailed review by local environmental authorities with the Environmental Impact Declaration (DIA) expected in August 2021. The DIA should be viewed as a major milestone in the overall environmental permitting process. Other licences covering construction, explosives, water, etc are all important and will need to be agreed for project development but should be achievable once the environmental licence is in hand. The Mina do Barroso lithium project is set to benefit from growing demand for lithium compounds used in batteries to fuel transportation electrification with Europe forecast to be #2 largest EV market in 2030 and the fastest growing market in terms of new battery manufacturing capacity over this decade.

*SP Angel acts as Nomad to Savannah Resources

 

Shanta Gold (LON:SHG) 14p, Mkt Cap £146m – Drilling grows MRE at Luika and returns high grade intersections at West Kenya

At New Luika, the Luika deposit MRE has been increased both in terms of tonnage and grade:

Indicated resource estimated at 3.1mt at 3.56g/t for 355koz (before mining depletion Q1/21; vs 2.8mt at 3.09g/t for 279koz as of Dec/20);

Inferred resources estimated at 0.7mt at 3.05g/t for 70koz (before mining depletion Q1/21; vs 0.7mt at 2.82g/t for 67koz).

Ongoing programme is focused on infill as well as step out drilling to test westerly plunging shoots with selected results including:

CSD214 intersected 4.60 m grading 24.47 g/t Au from 226 m, including 2.46 m at 47.29 g/t Au;

CSD211 intersected 8.30 m grading 4.89 g/t Au from 465 m, including 1.16 m at 19.01 g/t Au;

CSD213 intersected 8.05 m grading 3.04 g/t Au from 425 m, including 0.94 m at 10.86 g/t Au;

Potential to add new ounces along the western side of the Luika deposit remains as the mineralisation continues at depth and along strike.

At West Kenya, the team is expecting to complete 40% of the planned drilling by the end of 2021 with ~9% of the total done to date (20 holes).

Two drilling rigs are currently active at the site with a third one expected to be added shortly.

The programme is focused on infill drilling of two modelled zones at Isulu (IZ1.0 and IZ3.0) and three modelled zones at Bushiangala zones (BZ1, BZ2 and BZ3).

Selected results include:

LCD0227 (Isulu) intersected 1.50 m grading 13.9 g/t Au from 92 m;

LCD0228 (Bushiangala) intersected 1.80 m grading 20.99 g/t Au from 187 m;

LCD0231 (Bushiangala) intersected 4.00 m grading 14.35 g/t Au from 111 m;

LCD0233 (Bushiangala) intersected 4.40 m grading 8.37 g/t Au from 105 m;

LCD0236 (Bushiangala) intersected 15.80 m grading 4.08 g/t Au from 111 m;

Conclusion: Drilling at NLGM grows the resource and adds new ounces into the mine plan with further upside potential remaining as mineralisation continues along strike and downdip, while infill drilling programme at the acquired West Kenya project returns high grade intersections and is set to ramp up with a third rig to be added shortly.

 

 

Analysts

John Meyer – [email protected] – 0203 470 0490

Simon Beardsmore – [email protected] – 0203 470 0484

Sergey Raevskiy –[email protected] – 0203 470 0474

Joe Rowbottom – [email protected] – 0203 470 0486

 

Sales

Richard Parlons –[email protected] – 0203 470 0472

Abigail Wayne – [email protected] – 0203 470 0534

Rob Rees – [email protected] – 0203 470 0535

Grant Barker – [email protected] – 0203 470 0471

 

 

SP Angel                                                            

Prince Frederick House

35-39 Maddox Street London

W1S 2PP

 

*SP Angel are the No1 integrated nomad and broker by number of mining brokerage clients on AIM according to the AIM Advisers Ranking Guide (joint brokerships excluded)

+SP Angel employees may have previously held, or currently hold, shares in the companies mentioned in this note.

 

Sources of commodity prices

Gold, Platinum, Palladium, Silver

BGNL (Bloomberg Generic Composite rate, London)

Gold ETFs, Steel

Bloomberg

Copper, Aluminium, Nickel, Zinc, Lead, Tin, Cobalt

LME

Oil Brent

ICE

Natural Gas, Uranium, Iron Ore

NYMEX

Thermal Coal

Bloomberg OTC Composite

Coking Coal

SSY

RRE

Steelhome

Lithium Carbonate, Ferro Vanadium, Tungsten, Spodumene, Ferro-Manganese, Graphite

Asian Metal

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