African Battery Metals (LSE:ABM) outlined the next steps to be taken at its Kisinka Copper-Cobalt project in an update on Friday. Exploration recommenced at the project in April now following the firm successfully refinancing earlier in the year. The company reports current field activities were completed last week with a total of 663 termite mound samples being collected across the whole license area. X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF) will now be carried out on the samples to identify copper and cobalt mineralisation.

In order to protect and preserve the company's working capital, African Battery has adopted a staged approach with initial wide area exploration focussed on identifying areas of anomalous copper and cobalt mineralisation, to be followed by follow up drilling if appropriate drill targets present themselves.

Kisinka is a 53 sq km exploration licence located in an established world class producing cobalt district in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The License has 8km of strike along the Roan group of rocks, which host the majority of the DRC’s copper and cobalt mines.  There are a number of large cobalt-copper mines in the area, both on strike and in the same rock structure to the west. African Battery is due to pay a second tranche of $100,000 which will secure a 70pc interest in the license.

Paul Johnson, Executive Director of African Battery Metals commented:

"Our team coped well with difficult on-site logistics as grass levels remained high after late rains, and we recruited additional casual support staff to ensure timely completion of the field phase of activities.

This initial programme has been carried out with speed and efficiency and bodes well for our ability to operate effectively in the DRC.  We look forward to reporting results as these become available."

Author: Stuart Langelaan

The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

The article expresses the views of the Author solely and does not necessarily express the views of MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd or their connected parties who are not responsible for its content or accuracy.

News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance. Readers are recommended to seek the advice of appropriate professionals when considering investments in small capital.

 

 

Kavango Resources (LSE:KAV) sat at an all-time high of 4p on Thursday after revealing additional ‘extremely encouraging’ drilling results at its Ditau prospect in Botswana. The £6m firm, which was trading up 8.1pc as at writing after leaping 16.4pc on Wednesday, said its second hole at the site had intersected over 320m of intensely altered Karoo sediments above a gabbroic intrusive.

Ditau is part of Kavango’s KSZ project in south-west Botswana, where it is exploring for copper, nickel, and platinum group elements (PGEs) rich sulphide orebodies along a 450km-long magnetic anomaly. According to the firm, the area covered by its KSZ licences displays a geological setting with distinct similarities to that hosting the world-class for copper, nickel, and PGEs orebodies in Siberia.

In Thursday’s update, Kavango said its second hole at Ditau, called DitDDH2, was finally stopped at a depth of 557.34m, offering good core recoveries and minimum deviation. Kalahari sands and sediments extended to 40m, while Karoo sediments continued for a further 438m until an intrusive was encountered at 478.55m.

The business added that geological logging and preliminary geochemical analysis has shown that the 320m zone of intensely altered rock was intersected before hitting the intrusive. Half core from this zone has been cut and sampled at 1m intervals and sent to Australia for assay.

Although Kavango cannot yet determine indicative values for gold, silver, and PGEs, it said initial results suggest elevated values for cobalt, zinc, nickel, and copper. Meanwhile, it added that the core also appeared to contain high levels of rare earth elements. The organisation will assess further drilling plans once it has received and interpreted assay values.

Kavango added that Thursday’s zone of intensely altered rock was similar to that encountered at its first hole – DitDDH1 – back in March. This met a 200m zone of intensely altered rock above the conductive drill target.  It also showed significant sulphide alteration together with indicative cobalt values of up to 0.9pc and a weighted average of 0.2pc cobalt over 70m as well as elevated copper, zinc, lead and nickel values.

On Thursday, Kavango’s chief executive Michael Foster said: ‘We are extremely encouraged that the geophysics, geochemistry and the initial drilling which we have now completed at Ditau have been very successful in predicting a prospective hydrothermal system under complete cover.’

He added that the extensive system displays essential ingredients for one or more mineral deposit. These include intrusives for heat and metal source, receptive overlying sediments with accompanying alteration, and anomalous metal values.

‘Assays are eagerly awaited and will be announced to the market as soon as they become available. The Company will then be in a position to compile a 3-D model, with the extensive information we now have, to understand fully the potential of Ditau,’ he added.

Kavango’s co-founder Mike Moles recently authored a piece for MiningMaven on how these copper, nickel, and platinum group element-rich sulphide orebodies occur and why the firm is keen to locate them.  To read it, please click here.

Author: Daniel Flynn

The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

The Author has not been paid to produce this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author.  News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance

Jangada Mines (LSE:JAN) has been a very frustrating company to invest in. It has two exciting metal projects in the north east of Brazil; the Pedra Branca platinum group metals (PGM) and nickel project and Ptombeiras West, which is seeking to develop a vanadium resource. The initial estimated economics for Pedra Branca look superb, Jangada’s management team is highly credible and the firm appears to have strong in-country support. There is a lot going for the business. Unfortunately, it is also listed on AIM.

Since it debuted on the market in June 2017 at 5p, Jangada’s share price performance has been highly disappointing. The company’s stock currently trades at only 2.3p, on the mid. A mixture of self-inflicted wounds, malign market forces and poor macro conditions have combined as powerful headwinds against Jangada’s attempts to grow.

As a result, the company has found itself mired in the lower reaches of the market and the question now is what can it do to break itself free?

To attempt to answer this it is worth analysing what has gone wrong so far with Jangada.

Starting first with the company’s self-inflicted wounds and unfortunately, Jangada’s management team has made several errors over the last two years in its dealings with the City. The company has missed a number of important targets, such as failing to commence trial mining within 12-18 months of listing and the lengthy delays in delivering the Pedra Branca Bankable Feasibility study. Jangada has also had communication difficulties, by releasing confusing, sometimes contradictory, sometimes inconsistent announcements.

There really is a great story here, which at times has been lost due to a lack of attention in presenting the message in a simple, straightforward manner.

Many resource companies suffer similar issues, so these problems aren’t unique to Jangada. However, the biggest mistake the directors made was in appointing the infamous (now defunct) Beaufort Securities as the company’s broker during the IPO.

Beaufort’s reputation as a shoddy operator was well deserved and practically none of its clients ever delivered genuine shareholder value. Jangada’s directors should have known to have steered clear of this firm at the start. The company has never really recovered from this decision.

The main problem for Jangada, like all of Beaufort’s clients, was that as soon as that firm was appointed it opened the door to shorters targeting its stock. Beaufort was widely known as one of the brokers of choice for closing short positions through discounted placings and, even though that firm is now dead, its infectious legacy lives on.

Over recent months one particular market maker, Berenberg, has been consistently on the offer of Jangada. And I do mean CONSISTENTLY.

Whether this means Berenberg is short or not is anyone’s guess, but it would be very interesting to find out if that firm has ever offered Jangada money or participated in a placing?

Of course, Jangada’s share price woes could just be a factor of the poor macro environment. Metal prices have pulled back and stagnated over the last 18 months, having enjoyed a spectacular run in 2017. As attractive as the Pedra Branca economics look, if project funding is hard to come by it is no wonder Jangada’s share price has continued to tread water. Perhaps a turn in the tide will see the company’s stock rally, but at present it is hard to see what the catalyst might be.

At the start of the year Jangada announced it planned to complete the verification process of the Pedra Branca BFS by the end of March. It is now mid May and the company has only just released the social, legal and environmental review. The metallurgy test work is apparently nearing completion and the company is moving towards the mine design process.

This is encouraging, but doubts remain over the Jangada’s ability to fund itself into H2 this year. Review of the interim figures, to 31 December 2018, reveals the company had net current assets of only $382,000 at the end of last year. Although Jangada still had not drawn on the $1m loan facility from Celtic Trust Capital, the burn rate of c.$1.6m a year on admin expenses suggests cash must now be running tight at Jangada.

In the company’s favour a number of its consultants have taken payment in stock. This certainly must help, but at some point it seems likely Jangada is going to return to market to seek new funds. As distasteful as this may be, if a market short does exist then it would probably act as a cornerstone for any raise.

This might prove to be a blessing. Given how close the company claims to be to delivering the full BFS and mine design for Pedra Branca, the next placement could enable Jangada to break free from the AIM vortex. That is, if it is big enough.

If Jangada can raise enough money to give it sufficient runway to secure project finance for Pedra Branca, then we could see a material uplift in the company’s share price. However, so long as funding concerns linger at the Plc level and the company remains an obvious target for the unwanted attention of short interests then expect its stock to continue to languish.

Guest post from ValueTheMarkets
O
riginally published on https://ValueTheMarkets.com on 13 May 2019

Author: Ben Turney

The Author holds a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

The Author has not been paid to produce this piece by the company or companies mentioned above

Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author.  News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance,

African Battery Metals (LSE:ABM) jumped 12.5pc to 0.4275p on Monday morning after unveiling a major acquisition and earn-in agreement in Botswana. The business has acquired an 18.26pc stake in an exploration and geological consultancy company called Kalahari Key Mineral Exploration for $194,821.

Kalahari Key, established by Roger Key, Andy Moore, Simon Bate, and Rick Bonner in November 2014, is the 100pc owner of Molopo Farms Complex (MFC) project in south-west Botswana. Furthermore, African Battery has also secured the right to earn-in to a 40pc direct interest in MFC by spending $500,000 on the project by 31 December next year. This money would go towards ground exploration at the project, expected to include the drilling of high priority targets.

MFC is made up of three exploration licences covering 2,725km2 that are thought to be prospective for nickel, PGM, and copper mineralisation. As well as acquiring all of the project’s historical exploration data, Kalahari Key has undertaken a high-resolution, helicopter-borne electromagnetic and magnetic survey on the area. This work identified 17 key zones of conductive rocks now being used to construct a priority list of targets for follow-up ground exploration.

If African Battery chooses to complete its earn-in expenditure agreement, its effective interest in MFC would sit at 50.96pc. Meanwhile, company chairman Andrew Bell would be appointed to a new MFC Project operational committee, while director Paul Johnson would join the board of Kalahari Key.

Neither the committee members or the existing new directors of Kalahari Key would be remunerated for their services. Finally, if African Battery decides to exercise its earn-in agreement, a JV agreement would be established between the company and Kalahari Key that will determine strategy, operational management, and corporate structuring.

African Battery’s chairman Andrew Bell said he was ‘delighted’ to secure an opportunity in Botswana for African Battery’s shareholders.

‘Botswana is an exceptional country with exciting exploration opportunities and a superb operating environment,’ he added. This significant opportunity comes to us after the MFC Project has already benefitted from extensive historical exploration that has already identified 17 targets through Airborne Electomagnetic Surveys.

‘There is some further Airborne Electromagnetic work to do, with ground exploration follow up and ongoing target prioritisation. However, the ultimate key to unlocking the value from exploration targets under sand cover is via the drill rig and we will be working with Kalahari Key to identify the quickest route to active drilling operations.’

Bell added that African Battery’s board considers the investment to be consistent with the company’s stated policy of seeking battery metal exposure in Africa.

‘We also believe that further exploration success at the MFC Project would, by virtue of the potential scale, have a transformative impact on the prospects of ABM and on investor sentiment towards it,’ he said. ‘I am delighted to be working with the Kalahari Key team and would like to emphasise the diligent work they have done to bring the MFC Project to its current position. These are exciting times and we anticipate further updates in respect of Botswana and our other business interests in the near future.”

Roger Key, chief executive at Kalahari Key, added: ‘Kalahari Key is very pleased to have reached this agreement with African Battery Metals and we look forward to a productive partnership. The work done on the MFC Project so far has reinforced our belief that we have a significant resource with a geological model analogous to Voisey Bay. We welcome the financial input from ABM that will enable us to move quickly into a drilling phase, and we also appreciate the management and organisational benefits that come from a close working relationship with ABM.’ 

African Battery is an AIM listed, Africa-focused, resource company exploring for the key metals that will be used in next-generation batteries fuelling the new electric vehicle revolution. Johnson and Bell joined the business earlier this year as part of a proposed restructuring and refinancing package that saw the firm ultimately return from suspension.

Shortly afterwards, the company revealed an investment and option agreement with Katoro Gold (LSE:KAT). Under the contract, African Battery will be able to purchase up to 10m shares in Katoro at 1p each with three-year warrants attached. It also has the right to purchase up to 35pc in Katoro’s 100pc-owned Haneti nickel project in Tanzania, for a total consideration of up to £125,000. 

Haneti comprises tenements covering an area of around 5,000km2 prospective for nickel, platinum-group-elements, cobalt, copper, gold, and lithium. Previous work has identified grades of up to 13.6pc nickel at the project, and an exploration programme this year will aim to confirm the existence of disseminated or massive sulphide mineralisation in the area. Alongside Haneti, Katoro owns a further two gold projects in Tanzania called Imweru and Lubando. Together, these host a JORC-compliant resource of 754,980oz gold.

To read MiningMaven’s recent interview with Johnson on his plans for African Battery moving forward, please click here.

Author: Daniel Flynn

 

The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

 

The article expresses the views of the Author solely and does not necessarily express the views of MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd or their connected parties who are not responsible for its content or accuracy.

 

News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance. Readers are recommended to seek the advice of appropriate professionals when considering investments in small capital.

Shares in SolGold (LSE:SOLG) inched up 0.3pc to 37.9p on Wednesday after the business announced a significant discovery at its 100pc-owned Chical project in northern Ecuador. The firm said follow up of anomalous stream sediment geochemistry has identified a 5.8km2 area of mineralised epithermal gold and porphyryr-style mineralisation. This comprises three prospect areas called Pascal, La Esperanza, and Espinoza.

SolGold added that the discovered mineralisation is associated with an extensive contact zone between intrusive granodiorite and gabbro with volcano-sedimentary units. Meanwhile, it said that the gold mineralisation consists of epithermal stockwork quartz veining with an abundance of 10-15 veins per metre. This is significantly more intense than that required for a significant mineral system associated with substantial chlorite-sericite-epidote hydrothermal alteration.

SolGold's exploration and country manager Jason Ward said: ‘The large areas of geochemical anomalism, the widespread extent of the altered and mineralised outcrops and the mineralisation style comprising multi-directional veining accompanied by molybdenum are strong indicators of a large copper rich porphyry system at La Esperanza. Peripheral high-grade gold rich epithermal veins have also been identified at Pascal and Espinoza. The high-grade gold vein occurrences also indicate potential for early high-grade gold resources beside the porphyries.

‘The proximity of Chical to Cascabel is geologically and logistically encouraging and vindicates our long-held opinion that we have discovered a new copper porphyry province. The generative foundations laid in 2014 are certainly paying off.’

Wednesday’s development comes just one day after SolGold said it had identified a large porphyry copper-gold target at its Porvenir project in Ecuador. On Tuesday, the firm said first-pass mapping and sampling at an area called ‘Target 15’ on the asset has extended existing porphyry copper and gold mineralisation at a target called Cacharposa Creek on its Porvenir 2 concession.

The open-ended mineralised intercept has now been extended to 147.83m at 0.64pc copper equivalent, including 82.63m at 0.96pc copper equivalent. Using this data, 3D geochemical modelling carried out by Fathom Geophysics has confirmed the potential for shallow porphyry-style mineralisation extending at depth.

SolGold added that mapping and sampling of the Mula Muerta Creek on the northwest side of Cacharposa Creek has discovered similar mineralised. Both areas are thought to form part of an 800m-wide, northeast-trending mineralised corridor more than 1,200m long. Meanwhile, modelling has also confirmed the potential for mineralisation at another Porvenir prospect called Bartolo alongside two new target areas.

‘Porvenir contains mineralisation styles, size and geometry consistent with exposure of a vertically extensive, well-preserved porphyry copper-gold system,’ added SolGold.

SolGold now plans to follow up on its work at Target 15 with a programme of drill testing and ground magnetics in the current quarter. Specifically, a targeted ground magnetic survey will begin this month while an airborne-magnetic study is planned for the entire Porvenir concession package imminently.

The company’s chief executive Nick Mather highlighted Porvenir’s prospectivity, adding that its channel sample is significantly longer and richer than the 50m long discovery outcrop at Alpala in the firm’s Cascabel tenement. This has so far yielded a contained resource of 23MMozs of gold and nearly 11MMts of copper.

‘The latest progress at Porvenir is indicative of the effort SolGold puts into its first mover advantage secured in 2014 across Ecuador. SolGold's team of geoscientists led by Dr. Steve Garwin, porphyry expert, recognised several targets with the right geochemical, geological and geophysical signature and we have so far secured eleven of them,’ he added. ‘The Porvenir system has the hallmarks of a significant discovery so far.’

SolGold is working to develop a sustainable copper-gold mining industry in Ecuador, which is located on the rich and under-explored northern section of the Andean Copper Belt. The southern portion of the belt is renowned as the production base for nearly half of the world’s copper.

‘SolGold is committed to leading the development of a sustainable copper-gold mining industry in Ecuador. The high grades and strong gold endowment at Alpala and Porvenir provide us with a unique opportunity to develop this Company without joint ventures,’ added Mather.‘SolGold has identified and secured the best of an entire copper-gold province, the size and metallurgy of northern Chile. That's a unique approach that can't be replicated. We are confident that Alpala and now Porvenir are the first projects in a long, large and rich string of them.

‘The next generation of growth in SolGold is going to come from more spectacular discoveries on a 100% basis like Porvenir. All SolGold shareholders will enjoy that growth, including hopefully the Cornerstone Capital Corporation shareholders who are soon to be availed of our bid for Cornerstone.’

In February, SolGold said it was ‘surprised and disappointed’ by Cornerstone’s swift dismissal of its takeover bid. The firm said Cornerstone – which owns the remaining 15pc of Cascabel, lodged its response fewer than three hours after SolGold’s approach, raising questions around how well it had considered the potential offer.

SolGold had proposed the conversion of each Cornerstone share into 0.55 of a SolGold share, equating to an immediate 20pc premium for Cornerstone holders at the time. It added that the consolidatory move would benefit Cornerstone shareholders significantly by removing the company’s ‘funding challenges’ concerning Cascabel’s development.

Author: Daniel Flynn

The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

The Author has not been paid to produce this piece by the company or companies mentioned above

Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author.  News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance,

Thor Mining (LSE:THR) sat at 0.7p on Tuesday morning after revealing high-grade tungsten and copper intersections from drilling on the Samarkand deposit at its part-owned Bonya asset in Australia.

Thor owns a 40pc stake in Bonya, which is adjacent to its 100pc-owned, advanced Molyhil tungsten project in the Northern Territory of Australia. Bonya contains 13 outcropping tungsten deposits plus a copper resource, which Thor expects to add considerably to the life, scale, and economic outcomes of its proposed Molyhil operation.

Despite being part of a known tungsten province, no drilling has taken place at the Bonya licence area since the seventies. This changed last month when Thor - alongside its 60pc partner Arafura Resources - began a 2,500m RC drilling program after receiving approval in March from the Northern Territory Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority.

The drilling focuses on five targets called Samarkand, Jericho, White Violet, Tashkent, and Marrakesh, all of which have outcropping tungsten at surface. This ensures that drilling is into, or below, previously-known mineralisation.

In Tuesday’s update, Thor revealed that drilling on Samarkand had intersected strong grades for both tungsten and copper. On the tungsten side, this includes 15m at 0.44pc tungsten trioxide from 19 metres and 11m at 0.61pc tungsten trioxide from 64m. Elsewhere, drill holes encountered 12m at 0.69pc copper from 22m and 6m at 0.97pc copper from 38m.

On the results, Thor’s executive chairman Mick Billing said: ‘More very good XRF tungsten results along with exciting copper readings from the Samarkand deposit at Bonya. The proposed Molyhil processing facility is designed to extract copper as well as tungsten and molybdenum so any primary copper at Bonya can be extracted at minimal additional cost. We look forward to the full laboratory assays from this drill program, along with results from the trench sampling from Marrakech and Tashkent, all expected during May.’

Monday’s results come just a week after Thor released the first set of interim results from its Bonya drilling programme, which it described as ‘substantially better than expectations’. Highlights included 27m at 0.32pc tungsten trioxide from 71m and 16m at 0.43pc copper from 43m at a hole on White Violet. Meanwhile, a hole at Tashkent delivered 2m at 0.43pc tungsten trioxide from 16m.

Alongside its work at Bonya, Thor has also been busy delivering progress in other areas of its portfolio. For example, in April it announced the commissioning of a resource estimate at its part-held Moonta copper project in South Australia. Moonta stakeholder Enviro Copper has engaged a mining consultancy called Mining Plus to prepare the forecast for several Moonta deposits considered amenable to in-situ recovery (ISR). Numerous drill holes made over several decades will provide the basis for this resource estimation.

Based in Adelaide, Moonta sits within the historical ‘copper triangle’ of South Australia. Here, around 300,000ts of copper was mined and processed from the 1860s until the 1920s. The site is thought to contain an ISR amenable exploration target of between 238Mt and 310Mt at a grade range of 0.18pc-0.23pc copper.

Enviro Copper is earning up to a 75pc interest in Moonta from ASX-listed Andromeda Metals. As part of an agreement announced in March, Thor can earn up to a 30pc stake in Enviro Copper before listing activities. These are ‘potentially scheduled’ for later this year, according to last month’s update.

Last month’s deal also saw Thor transfer its interest into the Adelaide-based Kapunda copper project into Enviro. Kapunda hosts an in-situ recovery (ISR) amenable inferred mineral resource estimate of 119,000ts of contained copper.

Thor held its interest in the product through a private Australian company called Environmental Copper Recovery (ECR). Thor announced an agreement to earn up to 60pc in ECR last August in exchange for convertible loans worth up to $1.8m.

ECR holds an agreement to earn, in two stages, up to 75pc of the rights over metals that may be recovered in the Kapunda deposit from ASX-listed miner Terramin. Under the Enviro MOU, Thor relinquished its interest in ECR in exchange for a 25pc, pre-listing, stake in Enviro for A$0.6m. It will also hold the right to acquire a further 5pc seed capital interest in the vehicle for $0.4m.

Thor said the new combined Enviro entity would provide a strategic opportunity to build a substantial ISR-focused copper exploration, development, and production business with an initial focus on Australia. It said a key strategic target would be the ‘timely development’ of Kapunda into production, which would demonstrate the viability of ISR. This model would then be applied to the larger scale Moonta project. Beyond its two initial interests, Enviro will aim to develop an expanded portfolio of ISR copper opportunities.

Author: Daniel Flynn

The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

The Author has not been paid to produce this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, owns a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its content or accuracy. News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance

Battery metal miners with US-based projects received a welcome boost last week after plans to streamline domestic regulation and permitting requirements in the sector were unveiled at a major industry conference. Speaking at a Washington-based event on Thursday hosted by Benchmark Minerals Intelligence, US Senator Lisa Murkowski said she plans to introduce the Minerals Security act alongside fellow senator Joe Manchin.

Murkowski, who chairs the US Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee, told Reuters the act would support the development of lithium, graphite and other electric-vehicle supply chain minerals mines in the US. The directive will form part of growing efforts to curb China’s increasing dominance in the electric vehicle (EV) space.

Although electric-focused automakers and battery manufacturers like Tesla and Volkswagen wish to expand in the US, they are currently reliant on mineral imports rather than domestic mines and processing facilities. The chief source of this supply is China, which produces nearly two-thirds of the world’s lithium-ion batteries. The US, meanwhile, manufactures just 5pc.

Our challenge is still a failure to understand the vulnerability we are in as a nation when it comes to reliance on others for our minerals,’ Murkowski said. She added that China’s lead in the EV space – which is expected to soar over the coming decades – also gives it an edge in its ongoing trade disputes with the US.

The US is not the only country worried about China’s dominance over the growing EV supply market, either. Indeed, France and Germany both asked the European Commission to support a €1.7bn battery cell consortium earlier this week. Also in attendance at Thursday's event was Tesla, which highlighted its concerns around a global shortage of nickel, copper, and other EV battery minerals in the future due to underinvestment.

The combination of concerns over global supply and increasing efforts to boost the US battery metals sector is encouraging for those firms already operating projects in the sector. For example, Tim McKenna of Piedmont Lithium - which is developing a lithium project in North Carolina – said at Thursday’s event: ‘We need to focus the United States on the fact that China is way ahead of us in the electric vehicle race.’

A potential beneficiary that we have previously covered on Mining Maven is Global Energy Metals (TSX-V:GEMC). Last month, the Canadian developer- which is planning to co-list in London- revealed that it had made a payment allowing it to begin exploration work at the two US cobalt projects it is buying in Sparks, Nevada. The properties are called Lovelock and Treasure Box and are located in Churchill County, around 150km east of Tesla’s major battery factory in Sparks.

Lovelock covers around 1,400 acres and is said to have produced 500ts of cobalt and nickel mineralisation between 1883 and 1890 when it was last in operation. Global Energy believes exploration work and modern drilling techniques could unlock a large amount of potential value at the site. Treasure Box, meanwhile, is adjacent to Lovelock and hosts mine workings from limited copper production, which occurred until early into the 20th century. A historical diamond drill hole at the asset reportedly intersected 1.52pc copper over 85ft, with mineralisation beginning at the surface.

Global Energy has agreed to buy an 85pc-interest in the projects from Nevada Sunrise, making its first option payment in March. In April, it raised $813,500 in an oversubscribed private placing intended to support its work programme in Nevada.

Speaking to Mining Maven in February, Global Energy’s chief executive Mitchell Smith said the acquisition had given the business a low-cost entry to an exciting jurisdiction close to the world’s largest battery factory:

Author: Daniel Flynn

The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, owns a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author.  News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance

Shares in African Battery Metals (LSE:ABM) were trading at 0.38p on Thursday after the business announced exploration progress at its key asset in the DRC. The firm has now established a field camp at the 70pc-owned and operated Kisinka project to provide a base for field operations for 14 on-site staff who are conducting and supporting field activities. 

Meanwhile, it has also collected a total of 248 termite mound samples from the field and is in the process of transferring these to its operation office. Here, the samples will be prepared and analysed. Elsewhere, the business said it will continue to collect termite samples over coming weeks, providing updates to the market whenever a material development occurs.

Thursday’s development come after African Battery announced that it had recommenced exploration activities at Kisinka last month following a detailed review of historic exploration and targeting copper-cobalt mineralisation. In order to protect and preserve the company's working capital, the exploration programme will adopt a staged approach with initial wide area exploration focussed on identifying areas of anomalous copper and cobalt mineralisation, to be followed by follow up drilling if appropriate drill targets present themselves.

Alongside Kisinka, the organisation has said it is pursuing a number of existing and new initiatives seeking the highest impact for shareholders ‘in a measured and disciplined manner’. On Thursday, Paul Johnson, executive director of African Battery, said:

After quite a gap in operational activity for the Company I am pleased to advise that operations are now underway at Kisinka where we are targeting copper-cobalt mineralisation in a highly prospective region. I am keen to ensure the market is fully informed as material developments occur in respect of Kisinka and also across our other projects and wider commercial activities.’

Author: Daniel Flynn

The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

The article expresses the views of the Author solely and does not necessarily express the views of MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd or their connected parties who are not responsible for its content or accuracy.

News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance. Readers are recommended to seek the advice of appropriate professionals when considering investments in small capital.

Shares in Sirius Minerals (LSE:SXX) were off 18pc this morning as the company released details of plans for launching its Stage 2 financing. This consists of a £310m underwritten placing and open offer (priced between 15p and 18p) and a $644m convertible bond offering. Sirius’ shares closed as high as 38.7p last August, meaning the terms of today’s deal will no doubt come as a disappointment to long-term holders. This highlights once again that the promise of “jam tomorrow” in the resource space can leave a bitter taste in the mouth of investors.

There was some warning this might be coming earlier in the spring. On 12 March Sirius announced it had received an “alternative financing proposal” for its Stage 2 financing, which would “completely replace” the senior debt facility it had previously been pursuing.

In hindsight, this was something of a red flag that the market missed. In broad terms, senior debt facilities tend to be higher quality and reflect the underlying strength of a company’s offering. If a business struggles to secure a senior facility, on decent terms, this can suggest the commercial risk profile is not necessarily aligned with the equity market’s valuation of the opportunity.

When you start to throw words like “alternative” into the mix this is often suggestive that whatever financing is about to be secured is likely to be on the expensive side. And this is what appears to have happened with Sirius this morning.

March’s announcement about the “alternative financing proposal” was light on detail, but this morning we learned that Sirius has launched a $644m convertible bond offering. $400m of this is underwritten. This is not a conventional raise for a project as large as this. That alone is enough to make equity holders nervous. Factor in the heavily discounted £310m placing price range of 15p to 18p and it’s no wonder the stock is heavily off.

The question now is what upside might there be in holding Sirius shares?

For now, there is no reason to rush into buying. The final details of the bond offering aren’t expected to be released until tomorrow and we also need to see what price the equity raise is conducted at. Before even considering buying into this company a lot more research is required since the landscape has changed considerably. Sirius’ balance sheet is about to undergo a wholesale transformation, and although the company will be heavily cashed up, it will also be carrying a great deal of debt. The business will have to deliver significant fundamental returns to cope with this.

In the short term, it is hard to see what catalyst might drive the stock higher. The complexity of the planned funding presents a significant risk to retail holders and until that is fully understood, maintaining a watching brief on this stock seems the most prudent approach for the time being.

Author Ben Turney

The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

The Author has not been paid to produce this piece by the company or companies mentioned above

Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author.  News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance.

Fertiliser firm Emmerson (LSE:EML) inched up 1.7pc to 4.5p on Monday morning after signing an initial agreement with Morocco’s leading gas distributor for its Khemisset potash project in the country.

The business has signed a memorandum of understanding with Afriquia Gaz to work towards a long-term supply agreement for gas to the project. As part of this, the firms have agreed to look at the best method of supplying gas to Khemisset and the most appropriate source of gas. This will involve looking at existing infrastructure, producing, and proposed gas fields in Morocco as well as pipeline or regular truck delivery.

Emmerson believes a deal with Afriquia, which currently delivers significant quantities of Liquified Petroleum gas to numerous major industrial consumers across Morocco, can help to enhance Khemisset’s economics. In particular, the organisation said it would look at whether it could act as a cornerstone Afriquia customer as the latter continues to expand its pipeline distribution business. Emmerson believes this could allow for a cheaper long-term gas price with an equally low-cost capital solution.

A recent scoping study for the project confirmed that it has the potential to be among the lowest capital cost, highest margin potash projects in the world.  Forecast economics include EBITDA margins of more than 60pc and a post-tax NPV10 of over US$1.1bn based on industry expert price forecasts.

Emmerson has recently been identifying numerous ways of improving project economics before the project enters the feasibility stage. This has seen it determine new mine-to-port logistics, complete an environmental baseline study, and begin metallurgical testing. Most recently, it signed heads of agreement with an as-yet-unnamed global fertiliser for the offtake of 100pc of the production from Khemisset. The initial deal, which exceeded even Emmerson’s expectations, prompted a spike in the company’s share price.

On Monday, the business’s chief executive Hayden Locke said energy is a ‘major operating cost’ for Khemisset, meaning that even a slight improvement can enhance project economics significantly.

‘We believe that our energy needs will be supplied via low capital cost solutions at competitive long-term operational prices, further supporting Emmerson's potential to become one of the World's lowest cost and highest margin potash producer,’ he added. ‘Strong in-country partners will be fundamental to underpinning the capital and operating costs of our upcoming Feasibility Study, and this MoU demonstrates the willingness of leading companies in Morocco to work with Emmerson. The comprehensive metallurgical test work programme is progressing well in addition to ongoing discussions with potential strategic partners.  I look forward to continuing to update shareholders with details of our progress as we advance towards the publication of the Feasibility Study.’

Author: Daniel Flynn

The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

The Author has not been paid to produce this piece by the company or companies mentioned above

Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author.  News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance

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