SP Angel . Morning View . Wednesday 05 05 21
Copper price set to rise on Peru election disruption and Chile royalty
MiFID II exempt information – see disclaimer below – FCA looks to scrap MiFID research rules on small-caps in UK competitiveness drive (Investment Week)
Arc Minerals* (LON:ARCM) – Rackla Metals Inc. set to acquire Casa Mining assets
Botswana Diamonds (LON:BOD) – Drilling results from Thorny River
Cora Gold (LON:CORA) – Sanankoro drilling results
Phoenix Copper* (LON:PXC) – Chairman describes a “clear path” to production at the Empire open-pit project
Scotgold Resources (LON:SGZ) – £2m Director Loan
Copper ($10,009/t) – prices poised to break out higher on Peruvian election turmoil, Chilean tax proposal and pressing need to upgrade infrastructure
Copper prices look set to break the previous high of $10,160/t as ongoing strong demand for metals for construction in China added to new stimulus in the US
The Peruvian frontrunner says he will look to take 70% of profits from foreign miners.
The pullback in auto manufacturing due to semiconductor chip shortages will slow some copper buying by the automotive sector though we see this a marginal.
Joe Biden’s recent stimulus funding for US power utilities 72% of copper consumption currently used in the power and utilities sector.
Electric vehicle production continues to rise driving demand for copper higher than previously anticipated using up to 83kg of copper vs 23kg for a conventional combustion engine vehicle
3.25m EVs were sold last year taking up around 270,000t of copper vs 2.1m for conventional vehicles.
Target: We are looking for copper to break-out higher to over $10,600/t in the next few months.
IEA recommends that governments stockpile battery metals
Western governments should consider stockpiling critical battery metals such as cobalt and lithium, the International Energy Agency recommends.
The warning brings geopolitical risks to the forefront of the green-energy transition, with the production of lithium, cobalt and rare earths currently highly concentrated.
Stockpiling programs could provide a valuable buffer as leading industrial nations look to develop reliable supplies of metals and minerals that will play a critical role in a decarbonizing world.
China and Japan currently have strategic inventories of critical metals, however such stockpiles are not widely held by Western nations.
In response to the huge levels of anticipated demand, the IEA commented: “Today’s supply and investment plans for many critical minerals fall well short of what is needed,”
“The response from policy makers and companies will determine whether critical minerals remain a vital enabler for clean energy transitions or become a bottleneck in the process”.
Mexico – subway disaster caused by the collapse of relatively new infrastructure
The implication is that many newish bridges and structures will need to be strengthened to avert future collapse.
The number of fatalities combined with a need to stimulate growth to appease voters is likely to lead to further stimulus and better-quality control on construction.
We are cognisant of a pressing need to replace and upgrade ageing infrastructure in the US.
A new need to check and probably reinforce many more modern structures could add significantly to new steel and other metal demand.
Vanadium – Mexico metro collapse
While Mexican officials have refused to speculate publicly over reasons for the subway overpass collapse we wonder if the construction used substandard steel girders and rebar
China toughened vanadium content standards in grades of structural steel and rebar on 1st November 2018 but struggled to enforce the new standards as vanadium prices rose.
Quench and Tempered steel is often used were regulatory control is lax as the steel is hard at the surface but is brittle and prone to sudden failure.
Q&T steel should not be used in earthquake zones or in other critical structural applications and was possibly responsible for the catastrophic failure of so many schools and other buildings in the Great Wenchua earthquake in China which killed around 90,000 in 2008 including some 5,300 children.
Dow Jones Industrials +0.06% at 34,133
Nikkei 225 at closed
HK Hang Seng -0.72% at 28,351
Shanghai Composite -0.81% at 3,447
US – Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is not expecting interest rates to increase seeing through what she considers a temporary pick up in inflation.
Yellen clarified her comments made earlier on Tuesday that caused some selling in the market suggesting that “it may be that interest rates will have to rise somewhat to make sure our economy doesn’t overheat”.
“It’s not something I’m predicting or recommending… if anyone appreciates the independence of the Federal Reserve, I think that person is me,” Yellen said later on Tuesday during an online event hosted by the WSJ.
Eurozone – Services sector records the first expansion in activity since August 2020 with the respective PMI increasing to an eight-month high of 50.5 in April, up from 49.6 in March.
Better services reading was led by an unexpectedly strong activity in Spain while other countries reported mixed performance.
The Spanish services PMI increased to 54.6 in April, the strongest level since the end of 2019, on the back of “firmer demand, the reopening of business premises, and rising prospect amid a generally improving situation related to Covid-19”.
Services sector in France recorded only marginal expansion (50.3) while the industry slipped back into contraction in Germany on new lockdown rules (49.9) and the decline in Italy only worsened (47.3).
UK – The BOE is set to release updated economic estimates tomorrow along with a policy decision.
Expectations are for the central bank to upgrade its February projections on the back of government support and rapid rollout of Cvoid-19 vaccines.
South Africa – The budget came in better than expected as tax revenues exceeded forecasts for the first time in five years.
Nevertheless, the deficit climbed to 11.2% of GDP in FY21 (March YE) highlighting consequences of the pandemic with increased government spending and reduced economic output.
The National Treasury guided for a 12.3% shortfall in February.
Russia – Victory Day Parade in Red Square today
Not as many red flags as recently seen in a scoping study by a certain mining company that we recently reported on.
Chile proposed copper royalty system may harm investment in region
New royalty proposals for copper mines to be voted on by the Chilean government lower house
A proposed new royalty system in Chile contains tax levels that are “almost expropriatory”, according to the head of the nation’s mining society, Sonami.
The original bill has a flat 3% tax on sales, but the latest version adds marginal rates starting at 15% and going as high as 75% depending on prices.
At current prices, the effective rate would be 21.5%, Bloomberg reports.
Lower house members will vote on the bill later today, after Chile’s finance committee approved the bill earlier in the week.
Members of the committee rejected proposals to eliminate stability agreements that protect companies from tax changes until 2023.
The new royalty rate may not encourage capital investment into the region though we suspect further amendments to the bill will make the new tax structure more acceptable.
While the Chilean government is a centre-left political party the parliamentary system has long ensured that proposals for punitive taxes are adjusted to ensure they do not put off new investment into mining
Peru – presidential election due 6th June
Risk of further protests and violence could disrupt copper mining
Ford cuts production at two German plants amid semiconductor shortage
Ford reports that it is scaling back production at its plants in Cologne and Saarlouis for the next few weeks due to the chip shortage hampering global autos markets.
Ford said around a third of its 15,000 workers in Cologne would be put on shortened working hours from May 3 until June 18 and June 30 to July 9
Earlier this week, VW reported that it expects chip supply to remain tight in the coming months.
VW has been unable to build 100,000 cars due to the shortage, according to CEO Herbert Diess.
US$1.988/eur vs 1.2004/eur yesterday. Yen 109.42/$ vs 109.41/$. SAr 14.474/$ vs 14.489/$. $1.389/gbp vs $1.387/gbp. 0.771/aud vs 0.772/aud. CNY 6.475/$ vs 6.475/$.
Gold US$1,777/oz vs US$1,786/oz yesterday
Gold ETFs 98.3moz vs US$98.3moz yesterday
Platinum US$1,230/oz vs US$1,240/oz yesterday
Palladium US$3,001/oz vs US$2,990/oz yesterday
Silver US$26.37/oz vs US$26.83/oz yesterday
Copper US$ 9,977/t vs US$9,941/t yesterday
Aluminium US$ 2,439/t vs US$2,437/t yesterday
Nickel US$ 17,/t vs US$17,945/t yesterday
Zinc US$ 2,9/t vs US$2,981/t yesterday
Lead US$ 2,192/t vs US$2,166/t yesterday
Tin US$ 29,465/t vs US$29,060/t yesterday
Oil US$69.3/bbl vs US$68.3/bbl yesterday
Despite Covid continuing to dent the demand dynamic in many countries, notably India, oil prices remain strong and continue to rally this week
India, the world’s third-largest oil importer, is the latest coronavirus hotspot and recently hit a record-breaking number of new daily coronavirus cases
OPEC+, out of its own necessity, has intervened in the oil market on the supply side of the equation to offset the pandemic-depressed oil demand
Despite the group’s relative success at curbing oil production to prevent excess oil inventories from ballooning before the market fully recovers, India’s booming case counts have prevented oil prices from a quicker recovery
This has put even more pressure on OPEC+ to perform to meet market expectations
Indeed, oil prices have recovered somewhat in recent months, and the overwhelming majority of analysts forecast this trend will continue
The question isn’t whether the market will improve but rather how quickly will it improve, and where will that recovery peak
Lockdowns in Europe add another unknown element into the oil price mix
A month ago, Europe renewed many of its lockdown restrictions, delaying the oil price recovery
But now, as India is in the midst of its worst COVID-19 surge since the pandemic began, Europe is getting ready to lift those lockdowns
EU officials have submitted this week a proposal to ease summer travel restrictions to its 27 nations
This will increase the demand for jet fuel – a critical component of crude demand
In the United States, Covid-19 cases are also shrinking while the number of vaccinated grows
As a result, several US states, including New York, are relaxing restrictions which will have a profound positve effect on the price of oil
In addition, the IEA revised up its oil demand outlook for this year
By its estimates, oil demand will now increase by 5.7MMbopd this year, reaching 96.7MMbopd
The reason for this upward revision was due to increases in the IEA’s oil demand forecast for the US and China—the two largest oil importers in the world
Natural Gas US$2.971/mmbtu vs US$2.951/mmbtu yesterday
Iron ore 62% Fe spot (cfr Tianjin) US$186.0/t vs US$179.8/t – Brazil’s iron ore export revenues set to surge 60% this year, trade body reports
Brazil’s Foreign Trade Association (AEB) reported yesterday that it forecast $41.25bn revenue from iron ore exports this year.
Revenues from iron ore are expect to displace soy beans as the country’s number one source of foreign exchange earnings for the first time in six years.
Brazil is on track to post an overall trade surplus of almost $80bn, according to AEB Chief Executive.
Brazilian iron ore exports fetched an average price of $129.8/t in April, compared with $67.6/t in April 2020.
Brazil posted a $10.3bn trade surplus in April, and has registered a trade surplus of $18.3bn year-to-date.
Chinese steel rebar 25mm US$805.1/t vs US$805.1/t
Thermal coal (1st year forward cif ARA) US$76.4/t vs US$76.8/t
Coking coal swap Australia FOB US$121.0/t vs US$121.0/t
Cobalt LME 3m US$45,165/t vs US$45,165/t
NdPr Rare Earth Oxide (China) US$83,245/t vs US$83,245/t
Lithium carbonate 99% (China) US$12,664/t vs US$12,664/t
China Spodumene Li2O 5%min CIF US$630/t vs US$630/t
Ferro-Manganese European Mn78% min US$1,660/t vs US$1,663/t
China Tungsten APT 88.5% FOB US$272/t vs US$272/t
China Graphite Flake -194 FOB US$505/t vs US$505/t
Ørsted completes 460MW PV-battery in the US
The completion of the 460MW solar-plus-battery storage in Texas brings Ørsted’s onshore operating in the US to 2.1GW.
420MW solar PV and 40MW battery storage will supply the growing demand for electricity in West Texas.
The project makes Ørsted the first developer to own the full spectrum of renewable technologies at utility scale in the US – onshore and offshore wind, solar PV and storage.
Livent resumes lithium expansions
Activities paused amid the onset of Covid-19 will resume, including a 5000t hydroxide addition at Bessemer City and a 10,000t carbonate expansion in Argentina.
In the longer-term, Livent will look to increase their carbonate capacity to 60,000t and expand hydroxide capacity to help meet the growing demand.
EU companies commit to continental green hydrogen pipeline
GASCADE, Gasuine, RWE and Shell are all participating in the AquaDuctus hydrogen transportation network.
The pipeline is part of the initiative to install 10GW of electrolysis capacity from offshore wind.
The EU has set a target of 40 GW of electrolysis capacity for hydrogen production by 2030.
Plans for hydrogen pump network across the UK makes progress
Element Two plans to build a network of 800+ hydrogen pumps across the UK over the next 6 years.
A newly signed agreement with H2 Green will see the Getech Group subsidiary supplying the network.
The plans seek an ambitious roll out of 2000 hydrogen refuelling stations by 2030.
Arc Minerals* (LON:ARCM) – 6.22p, Mkt cap £68m – Rackla Metals Inc. set to acquire Casa Mining assets
(Arc holds 72.5% of Zaco and 66% of Zamsort in Zambia. The Cheyeza license is 66% owned by Arc Minerals through its holding in Zamsort.)
Arc Minerals reports it has been informed by Golden Square Equity Partners of interest by Racla Metals Inc. in the Casa Mining assets.
Revised terms for the transaction are:
Racla Metals has been exploring the Rivier Property in the Yukon Canada though Simon Ridgeway, ceo, and his team are used to discovering gold and silver deposits in more challenging parts of Latin America.
The offer by Rackla is conditional on Rackla’s reaching a minimum financing of C$5m
Arc Management reckon the deal is better than the previous transaction and provides for milestone payments of up to $10m potentially much earlier than previous royalty payments.
A) Arc to receive US$750k cash from Golden Mining on closing of the Transaction;
b) Arc to receive US$750k cash from Golden Mining within 90 days of closing as a post-closing payment (guaranteed by Rackla);
c) As a condition to closing, Arc will receive a US$3.5m loan note in favour of Arc, payable by Golden Square on or before December 31, 2021. As security, Arc shall receive 3.5 million Common Shares of Black Rock Petroleum Co, an oil and gas exploration-stage company registered in Nevada and which is listed on the OTC Market in the United States;
d) Within 24 months of closing, Golden Mining shall complete an independent resource evaluation in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 administered by the Canadian Securities Administrators (the “Technical Report”) in respect of the Akyanga Gold Project, a key asset of Casa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Golden Mining agrees to pay Arc within 60 days of completion of the Technical Report, payment in the amount of US$1/ounce of identified reserves of between 1m and 5m ounces;
e) Arc to receive US$1m in cash if Golden Mining produces 30,000 ounces of gold prior to the date that is 5 years from the closing date; and
f) When any portion of Casa comes into commercial production a net smelter royalty shall be calculated on a quarterly basis at 1% payable to Arc up to a maximum aggregate amount of US$25m.
*SP Angel acts as Nomad and broker.
Botswana Diamonds (LON:BOD) 1.23p, Mkt Cap £7.8m – Drilling results from Thorny River
Botswana Diamonds reports that drilling at its Thorny River site in Limpopo Province, South Africa has identified a second area of thickening of the kimberlite dyke (known as a ‘blow’) and that the Board expects that further drilling may link this area of thickening to the previously discovered ‘blow’ at the nearby River discovery.
The original drilling programme of six holes was subsequently extended to 12 holes in order to follow up “positive results, in particular the extent of kimberlite encountered” and the company has now completed 12 reverse-circulation holes for a total of 558m.
Botswana Diamonds says that the drilling has “outlined a significant swell on the kimberlite dyke with a minimum strike length of 75 metres and significantly the results are consistent with those of the contiguous River Blow which was drilled in November 2020. The integration of these two bodies is yet to be confirmed due to restricted drilling access between the two areas, which are less than 100 metres apart. We expect one, continuous body, which would represent a significant new discovery”.
Although at this stage, there is no mention of any assay results either for diamonds or for ‘indicator minerals’ the company says that it expects to “integrate the results of the latest drilling programme into previous drilling and ground geophysics campaigns and to develop a three-dimensional model of the two discoveries” by the end of May.
“Following this, samples from the drill chips which have been taken for diamond recovery and kimberlitic mineral content will be analysed and this is expected to be complete by mid-July”.
Chairman, John Teeling, explained the rationale for the expansion of the drilling programme saying that “What was originally a six-hole Reverse Circulation drilling programme going eastwards from the River Blow was led westwards by good ongoing drilling indications, including one hole with an 18-metre intersection of kimberlite. An additional six holes brought the drilling close to the River Blow. We fully expect the next phase of drilling to join the two discoveries into one continuous blow”.
Conclusion: Results from the expanded drilling programme at Thorny River offer the possibility that a wider section of the kimberlite dyke may be more extensive than originally envisaged. Additional modelling is expected to be completed by the end of May and sample analyses from the drilling should be available by mid-July at which point the company may be in a position to discuss its plan for follow-up exploration.
Cora Gold (LON:CORA) 8.2p, Mkt Cap £17m – Sanankoro drilling results
The Company released drilling results the latest programme at the flagship Sanankoro Gold Project in Southern Mali.
The team is planning to complete 35,000m of drilling between Mar/21 and Jul/21 focusing on resource growth as well as infill drilling to convert Inferred resources to Indicated.
New drilling results included:
24m @ 2.50 g/t Au from 16m including 6m @ 5.53 g/t Au in hole SC0331
23m @ 1.55 g/t Au from 47m in hole SC0332
28m @ 1.54 g/t Au from 17m in hole SC0327
22m @ 1.47 g/t Au from 27m in hole SC0326
20m @ 2.04 g/t Au from 20m in hole SC0328
16m @ 1.67 g/ Au from 62m in hole SC0329
4m @ 9.06 g/t Au from 81m in hole SC0325
Additionally, final assays on previously announced drilling results returned better grades than previously announced including:
54m @ 2.07 g/t Au from 20m (prelim. result 52m @ 1.78 g/t incl. 7m @ 4.21 g/t) including 2m @ 17.71 g/t Au in hole SC0311
34m @ 2.14 g/t Au from 13m (prelim. result 34m @ 1.98 g/t incl. 3m @ 17.78 g/t) including 3m @ 19.14 g/t Au in hole SC0312
13m @ 2.09 g/t Au from 68m in SC0309 (prelim. result 13m @ 1.24 g/t)
The Company is nearly a third in a programme with 11,000m completed through the start of May and is expecting drilling to accelerate with an additional RC and DC rigs arriving on site this month.
Conclusion: Drilling results from higher grade Selin deposit returned good intersections with most results representing infill drilling of the area as the team aims to improve confidence of the Sanankoro MRE (5.0mt at 1.6g/t for 265koz all Inferred as of 2019).
Phoenix Copper* (LON:PXC) 39.5p, Mkt Cap £43.6m – Chairman describes a “clear path” to production at the Empire open-pit project
(Phoenix holds 80% of the Empire mining property in Idaho)
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In today’s announcement of the 2020 annual results, Phoenix Copper’s Executive Chairman, Marcus Edwards-Jones, says that increased mineral resources and a “robust economic model” for the Empire mine open-pit project in Mackay, Idaho gives the company a ”clear path to go into production … at the end of next year”.
As previously reported, the company’s economic model describes an initial ten-year mine life involving the extraction of a total of 14.3mt of mineralised material to produce an average of 8,550tpa of copper, 1,970tpa of zinc, 17,235oz pa of gold and 680,050oz pa of silver at a life-of mine copper equivalent cash cost of US$1.83/lb or US$1,190/oz of equivalent gold.
The study envisages pre-production capital for the first phase of the mine’s development of US$52.6m (approximately £38m) will generate a pre-tax NPV7.5% of US$105m and IRR of 57% and the company’s analysis shows an after-tax NPV7.5% of US$88m and IRR of 47% based on the company’s assumed commodity prices of US$3.60/lb for copper, US$1.20/lb for zinc, US$1,825/oz for gold and US$27/oz for silver.
Acknowledging the continuing “support and enthusiasm” of the host community in Mackay Mr. Edwards-Jones also points out that “We expect to be going into production just as the surge in demand for copper, created by incremental demand from the transition to green energy, builds momentum”.
Chief Executive, Ryan McDermott, explained that the successful identification of ammonium thiosulfate as a “non-toxic and environmentally friendly” alternative to cyanide had provided a process route for the recovery of precious metals as part of two-phase development and that this had delivered “a significant increase in the NPV from the previous August 2019 model”.
In addition to the open-pit project at Empire, Phoenix Copper will “also continue with substantial exploration efforts at Red Star, Horseshoe, and in particular at the Company’s latest significant accomplishment, the recently mapped and sampled Navarre Creek gold project” as well as further work on the underlying sulphide mineral potential at the Empire mine which underpinned extensive historic mining from the early 1900s to the late 1930s.
The company reiterates the promising exploration potential of its licences including its previously issued comments that “At Empire, it is estimated that less than 1% of the potential ore system has been explored to date and, accordingly, there is significant opportunity to increase the resource through phased exploration”.
In addition to the potential in and around the Empire mine, the company continues to draw attention to the geological similarities between the nearby Navarre Creek licences and “the volcanic-hosted gold fields on the Carlin Trend in Nevada … which host] … several multimillion- ounce gold deposits”.
Reporting the financial results for 2020, the company shows a loss for the year of $0.97m (2019 – loss of $1.13m) and a year end cash balance of $1.15m including $4.65m raised during the year which has subsequently been augmented by a further $26.75m raised during 2021.
As a result of securing the additional finance, the Chairman said that Phoenix Copper is “now several steps closer to our goal of proving up a world-class deposit of metals essential to the green, carbon-emission free economy, in a friendly, first world jurisdiction”.
Conclusion: Phoenix Copper reports that it is now well funded to bring the Empire open-pit project to production by the end of next year and to advance the exploration of a pipeline of promising projects in Idaho, including the largely unexplored depth potential of the underlying sulphide mineralisation at Empire, adjacent properties at Horseshoe Creek and Red Star as well as the Navarre Creek licences which show geological similarities to the Carlin gold-trend in Nevada.
*SP Angel act as Nomad for Phoenix Copper
Scotgold Resources (LON:SGZ) 55p, Mkt Cap £31m – £2m Director Loan
A short term unsecured Director Loan of £2m has been provided to the Company to cover working capital requirements as mining operations ramp up to design capacity.
The loan to be drawn in two equal £1m tranches, incur no interest and to be repaid in six months with early repayment at the option of the Company for no penalty.
Lenders comprise four Board Directors (Nat le Roux, Peter Hetherington, Bill Styslinger and Ian Proctor) as well as one unrelated third party holding 3.4% in Scotgold.
Conclusion: The Company secures short term unsecured, interest free £2m loan from Directors and a third party as Cononish operations ramp up.
*SP Angel act as Nomad and broker to Scotgold Resources. A number of SP Angel analysts have visited the Cononish gold mine
VOX Markets: 28/04/20: https://www.voxmarkets.co.uk/media/60896b3f017903524c8e0936/?context=/listings/LON/BMN/multimedia/
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
*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.
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The SP Angel team also ranked 1st in Palladium, 3rd in Tin and 5th in Silver in the fourth quarter of 2020
John Meyer – John.Meyer@spangel.co.uk – 0203 470 0490
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*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.