SP Angel . Morning View . Wednesday 16 06 21
Copper prices fall as China steps up efforts to reign in commodity prices
Graphene producer funding – EIS scheme approval applied for
The company wishes to fund a ramp up in graphene production to get ahead of demand and to develop markets for a number of new, graphene products
The business is also able to upgrade graphite to a higher grade/specifications using its process – rolling out this process also requires funding
Please email if you wish to invest in the company
*SP Angel’s role is limited to making introductions and interested parties should be aware that investment in a private company can present certain risks not present in listed companies (e.g. limited or no liquidity and no rules compelling disclosure of information to investors). This offer is open to professional investors only and is not offered to retail investors.
Bluejay Mining* (LON:JAY) – Arctic states are opening up the region through their competition for seabed
Castillo Copper (LON:CCZ) – Drilling underway at the Mt Oxide project following the recent fund-raising
Cora Gold (LON:CORA) – Zone A drilling results
Empire Metals* (LON:EEE) – Exploration commences at Central Menzies Gold project
Kodal Minerals* (LON:KOD) / Firefinch (FFX AU) – Firefinch outline $130m deal with Ganfeng Goulamina lithium development
W Resources (LON:WRES) – Completion of water dam at La Parilla
China May crude steel output rose 6.6% YoY to 99.45mt
Crude steel output in Jan – May rose 13.9% to 473.1mt
Primary aluminum output in May rose 11.3% YoY to 3.32mt.
Copper prices fall as China steps up efforts to reign in commodity prices
China has stepped up its campaign to control runaway commodity prices in order to ease the threat to its post-pandemic rebound from soaring raw materials costs, Bloomberg reports.
The Chinese Government decided to intervene after copper, iron ore and coal surged to record levels last month, driving concerns that facotries would need to pass on the higher costs to consumers.
The State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (Sasac) has ordered state-owned enterprises to control risks and limit their exposure to overseas commodity markets.
Companies have been ordered to report their futures positions for Sasac to review, according to government sources.
China also reports today that the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration will soon release stockpiles of metals including copper, aluminum and zinc.
The metals will be sold in batches directly to fabricators and manufacturers via open bidding.
For copper, the minimum amount to be sold is reportedly 500 tonnes, and the offer will be monthly and last through the rest of the year.
This is set to be the first publicly announced release of copper from China’s state stockpiles since 2005.
Dow Jones Industrials -0.27% at 34,299
Nikkei 225 -0.51% at 29,291
HK Hang Seng -0.67% at 28,447
Shanghai Composite -1.07% at 3,518
WTO – expects global trade volumes will increase by 8% this year vs a fall of 5.3% last year
Foreign direct investment ‘FDI’ continues to lag following a fall of 42% in 2020
US – The Fed will announce its decision at 7pm (BST) this evening with expectations for the central bank to reiterate its pledge to keep $120bn per month bond buying pace.
The central bank is not expecting to raise rates before the end of 2023, based on the median of latest FOMC members’ dot projections (7 of 18 officials pencilled in a 2023 rate hike).
Labour market has been improving lately, although, continuing jobless claims remain at ~3.5m, down considerably from the heights of pandemic times but still up on ~1.8m during pre-Covid.
Inflation expectations have also pulled over the last month with current estimates for a 2.4% rate compared to 2.6% hit in mid-May.
Retail sales fell 1.3% in May vs 0.0% in April, and 28.1% yoy in May Retail sales ex autos fell -0.7% in May vs -0.8% in April
PPI rose 0.8% in May vs 0.6% in April vs, yoy 6.6% (6.2%),
May industrial production 0.8% in May vs 0.1% in April, yoy 16.3% (16.5%),
Manufacturing output up 0.9% in May vs -0.1% in April, yoy 18.3% (23%),
Capacity utilisation 75.2% in May vs 74.6% in April
Business inventories fell 0.2% in April vs 0.2% in March), more up to date,
NY Empire State manufacturing index 17.4 in June vs 24.3 in May
NAHB housing market index 81 in June vs 83 in May
China – Main economic data missed estimates in May as economic growth normalises following a record expansion in Q1/21.
The recovery so far has been led by heavy industry, property and an exports, with consumer spending remaining the weak link, Bloomberg reports.
Latest holiday spending figures suggest consumers still hold back on purchases.
Labour Day break in May saw the number of travellers up slightly although those were still only 77% of the pre-pandemic levels two years ago.
Retail Sales (%yoy): 12.4 v 17.7 in April and 14.0 est.
Retail Sales (%YTD): 25.7 v 29.6 in April and 26.3 est.
Industrial Production (%yoy): 8.8 v 9.8 in April and 9.2 est.
Industrial Production (%YTD): 17.8 v 20.3 in April and 18.0 est.
FAI (%YTD): 15.4 v 19.9 in April and 17.0 est.
EU – issues EUR10bn of 10year notes as part of a EUR800 bn program
Japan – Tertiary industry index fell 0.7% in April vs 1.1% in March
UK – Consumer prices inflation picked strongly in May beating market estimates led by a recovery in energy prices and economy reopening-led prices for clothing and hospitality sectors.
CPI (%mom): 0.6 v 0.6 in April and 0.3 est.
CPI (%yoy): 2.1 v 1.5 in April and 1.8 est.
Core CPI (%yoy): 2.0 v 1.3 in April and 1.5 est.
Three month rolling unemployment was 4.7% in April vs 4.8% in March
Employment change rose 113k in April vs 83k
Average earnings excl. bonus rose 5.6% in April vs 4.6% in March probably let by new hiring in the hospitality sector where staffing has been difficult due to European workers returning to their families for the duration of the pandemic.
German – CPI rose 0.5% in May vs 0.7% in April and 2.5% yoy in May vs 2% yoy in April
France – CPI 0.3% in May vs 0.1% in April vs 1.4% yoy in May vs 1.2% yoy in April
Taiwan – 28 Chinese military planes fly into Taiwan
The Chinese exercise appears to be part of an increasingly aggressive policy towards the Taiwan.
China’s ‘One China’ policy
Ivory Coast – Former President Laurent Gbagbo returns this week
The president who ruled from 2000-2010 was extradited in 2011 to the International Criminal Court in the Hague on charges of Crimes against Humanity.
Gbagbo refused to concede electoral defeat in 2010 leading to a civil war which killed at least 3,000 Ivorians.
Semiconductors – US senate endorsed $52bn in subsidies for foundries to make high-tech chips
The shortage is not just about the number of semiconductor chips it also relates to the number of specific types of chips available.
These higher quality chips are much more difficult to produce
NATO – Claims China presents systemic challenges to rules based international order
Biden says NATO is in a contest with autocrats and autocratic governments around the world
For the first time a NATO summit communique has named China as a problem, saying it presents “systemic challenges to the rules-based international order.” The statement came at the prompt of U.S. President Joe Biden, who also used the G-7 meeting over the weekend to urge allies to take a tougher stance on Beijing. Biden told the press: “We’re in a contest — not with China per se — but a contest with autocrats, autocratic governments around the world.” Yesterday Biden met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and tomorrow he sits down with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who he’s previously called “a killer.”
US$1.2129/eur vs 1.2186/eur yesterday. Yen 109.94/$ vs 109.36/$. SAr 13.772/$ vs 13.528/$. $1.412/gbp vs $1.416/gbp. 0.770/aud vs 0.777/aud. CNY 6.398/$ vs 6.389/$.
Gold US$1,860/oz vs US$1,868/oz yesterday
Gold ETFs 101.0moz vs US$101.1moz yesterday
Platinum US$1,150/oz vs US$1,167/oz yesterday
Palladium US$2,762/oz vs US$2,755/oz yesterday
Silver US$27.76/oz vs US$27.74/oz yesterday
Copper US$ 9,530/t vs US$9,726/t yesterday
Aluminium US$ 2,448/t vs US$2,468/t yesterday
Nickel US$ 17,510/t vs US$18,005/t yesterday – Sudbury union continue strike maintaining shutdown of Sudbury plant
Zinc US$ 2,974/t vs US$2,992/t yesterday
Lead US$ 2,174/t vs US$2,178/t yesterday
Tin US$ 31,120/t vs US$31,060/t yesterday
Oil US$74.4/bbl vs US$73.2/bbl yesterday
Oil prices continue to march on after a nearly 50% rally so far this year
Futures in New York advanced 1.8% yesterday to the highest level since October 2018
At the FT Commodities Global summit, Glencore PLC and Vitol Group both said they see further gains in oil
There is even a chance crude prices could hit US$100/bbl on a lack of supply amid underinvestment in the sector, according to Trafigura
Crude has soared this year in the wake of accelerating Covid-19 vaccination programs
At the FT Commodities Global summit, Glencore’s Alex Sanna said global demand should return to normal in the third quarter of next year, and crude prices may move higher on more widespread vaccinations and inflationary pressures
Meanwhile, money continues to rotate into the commodities sector more broadly
A monthly survey of fund managers by Bank of America showed that bullish commodities bets had overtaken Bitcoin as the most crowded trade in markets
Further along the oil futures curve, there are signs of market tightness
The difference between the nearest two WTI December contracts yesterday closed at more than US$6/bbl, the strongest close since September 2019, a sign traders are forecasting a stronger market
In the US, crude stockpiles are expected to have dropped 2.5MMbbls last week, according to a Bloomberg survey
Natural Gas US$3.226/mmbtu vs US$3.358/mmbtu yesterday
Iron ore 62% Fe spot (cfr Tianjin) US$209.1/t vs US$211.2/t
Chinese steel rebar 25mm US$798.7/t vs US$802.9/t
Thermal coal (1st year forward cif ARA) US$82.3/t vs US$84.8/t
Coking coal swap Australia FOB US$152.0/t vs US$147.0/t
Cobalt LME 3m US$42,535/t vs US$43,535/t
NdPr Rare Earth Oxide (China) US$73,302/t vs US$73,262/t
Lithium carbonate 99% (China) US$12,660/t vs US$12,653/t
China Spodumene Li2O 5%min CIF US$660/t vs US$650/t
Ferro-Manganese European Mn78% min US$1,825/t vs US$1,803/t
China Tungsten APT 88.5% FOB US$270/t vs US$270/t
China Graphite Flake -194 FOB US$515/t vs US$515/t
Europe Vanadium Pentoxide 98% $8.5/lb vs US$8.4/lb
Europe Ferro-Vanadium 80% $40.75/kg vs US$40.05/kg
China – Leak at nuclear power plant in Taishan city, Guangdong
EDF warns of ‘imminent radiological threat’ following a leak at a relatively new nuclear reactor in Taishan (CNN).
The Chinese safety authority has been accused of raising safety limits for radiation detection outside the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong province to avoid the embarrassment of a shutdown according to a letter from EDF to the US Department of Energy (CNN).
Experts believe the reactors which were commissioned in 2018 and 2019 are not yet at ‘crisis level’
Framatome had asked the US for a waiver to allow the use of American technical assistance to resolve the issue at the Chinese plant indicating a potential ‘imminent radiological threat’.
The two nuclear reactors in Taishan are both operational with Unit 2 recently overhauled and connected to the grid.
EDF says it was informed of an increase concentration of ‘noble gases in the primary circuit’ of reactor number one caused by a degradation of the housing of the fuel rods. This potentially indicates a lack of tightness in the housings or potentially broken fuel rods which would be a more serious problem.
Nuclear energy represents around 5% of Chinese power generation with 51,000GW coming from 49 reactors at 16 nuclear plants
Diamond rush grips South African village after discovery of unidentified stones (CNN)
Reports of a new diamond discovery caused >1,000 people to race to the village of KwaHlathi in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
The department of mines is sending a team of geologists and mining experts to collect samples.
The new artisanal miners have been digging since Saturday following reports from a man who dug up the first stone in an open field.
The discovery of diamonds has yet to be confirmed with some suggesting the stones are quartz. Some miners are said to be selling stones at the roadside for nominal sums.
Europe tools up against US and Asia as car battery force
The Northvolt gigafactory is expected to manufacture enough batteries for almost 300,000 EVs each year to reduce Europe’s dependency on batteries from the US and Asia, as demand for electric vehicles surges amidst the global race to cut carbon emissions.
By 2030, it’s forecasted that 40% of all new vehicles sold will be electric, with that number rising to almost 100% by 2040.
Northvolt are also aiming to make ‘the world’s greenest battery’:
The plant will be powered by renewable hydroelectric power from the Skellefte river.
Local access to raw materials and plans for an on-site battery recycling plant will also keep down the plant’s carbon footprint.
Northvolt are just one of a number European companies making a move into the gigafactory industry which has been largely dominated by Tesla and a number of Asian manufacturers.
European manufacturers will continue to face strong competition from major Asian players, many of whom already have their own gigafactories in Europe.
Of the 38 planned gigafactories across Europe, only one has been disclosed in the UK – a project from start-up, Britishvolt.
UK – in talks with six companies about Gigafactories
Six companies are currently in talks with the UK about building factories to produce batteries for EVs, the FT reports.
Carmakers Ford and Nissan, conglomerates LG and Samsung, and start-ups Britishvolt and InoBat Auto are the parties currently evaluating locations for potential factories.
While Britishvolt has gone public with its project, the other companies’ discussions with the government about gigafactories have so far been private.
The UK is seen as a direct competitor to the EU to secure sites, and while the UK government currently has a GBP500m fund to finance battery plants, the EU has EUR2.9bn.
The UK government plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, meaning that gigafactories are essential to sustaining UK car manufacturing in the long term.
The government view British research institutions such as the Battery Innovation Centre and the Faraday Institute as additional attractors when receiving investment in battery manufacturing.
Ford has reportedly indicated making batteries in the UK that would then be shipped to Turkey for use in a planned electric version of its Transit van.
When identifying possible locations, good access to the electricity grid is seen as vital to location – meaning that the north-east of England is currently preferred rather than the Midlands.
Bluejay Mining* (LON:JAY) 10p, Mkt cap GBP98m – Arctic states are opening up the region through their competition for seabed
BUY – Valuation 37.7p
Melting ice has made mineral deposits and oil- and gasfields more accessible (The Economist)
Bluejay Mining* has already demonstrated its ability to load and ship inert bulk ilmenite concentrates from the Dundas mine site
The nearby US Airbase at Thule also ships supplies through the same waters.
The faster retreat of the ice should lengthen the window for loading and shipping Dundas ilmenite concentrates.
The opening of the North West Passage also enables faster and cheaper shipping around the north of Canada to Asian markets.
Conclusion: Global warming and intense national competition is opening up the Artic with the race to gain territory in the region mainly about oil and gas.
*SP Angel act Nomad and broker to Bluejay. The analyst holds shares in Bluejay Mining.
Castillo Copper (LON:CCZ) 2.18p, Mkt Cap GBP22.m – Drilling underway at the Mt Oxide project following the recent fund-raising
Castillo Copper reports that, following the recent A$11.7m fundraising, drilling is now underway at its Mt Oxide copper project in the Mt Isa Belt of northwest Queensland with the initial work focused on a 26-hole, 2,828m programme at the Big One prospect.
The work seeks to extend the known extent of mineralisation by testing geophysically identified targets to the north and south of the known 1,200m long “strike event”.
“In tandem with the current drilling programme, a DHEM survey is being conducted that will enable further insights to be determined, especially the density of the underlying copper mineralisation”.
Following completion of the work at the Big One prospect, drilling will be shifted to the Arya and Sansa prospects in order to test bedrock conductors identified by the geophysics programme. The company confirms that its teams are currently “finalising access, optimal drill programme design and site preparation in readiness for work to commence”.
In the longer term, the exploration team is examining the opportunities at a further 21 structurally-controlled target areas within the Mt Oxide project “such as Eldorado and Valparaisa … [which] …were interpreted to be prospective for structurally controlled copper mineralisation”.
Managing Director, Simon Paull explained that “with a plethora of high-quality drillable targets, shored up by ample funding, the Board’s strategic intent to transform Castillo into a mid-tier copper group is set to gain considerable momentum”.
Cora Gold (LON:CORA) 8.3p, Mkt Cap GBP20m – Zone A drilling results
The Company reported first drilling results at Zone A of the flagship Sanankoro Gold Project as the team advances its 35,000m programme.
Assay results include the first 14 holes from Zone A marking the first set of results from the 2021 programme.
Results returned good intersections from infill drilling confirming the broad >60m horizontal width and a good open pit tenor of the Zone A ore body.
Selected intersections include:
The Company completed 174 holes for a total of 17,586m as of mid-June with the plant to finish all 35,000m be end of July.
Separately, the Company announced yesterday Hummingbird Resources sold its 9.5% interest in the Company.
29m @ 3.23 g/t Au from 66m in hole SC0365
32m @ 1.63 g/t Au from 32m in hole SC0366
14m @ 2.70 g/t Au from 63m and 12m @ 1.57 from 46m in hole SC0362
24m @ 1.64 g/t Au from 17m in hole SC0364
4m @ 8.51 g/t Au from 40m in hole SC0368
Empire Metals* (LON:EEE) 2.7p, Mkt cap GBP9m – Exploration commences at Central Menzies Gold project
Empire metals reports the commencement of exploration activities covering the four exploration licences which comprise the Central Menzies Gold project including verification of historical RC drilling and the acquisition of airborne geophysical survey data.
Historically, 777m of reverse circulation drilling has been completed at the property by the current owner, with several high-grade intercepts reported:
MCD02: 5m @ 19.59 g/t Au from 30m
MCD04: 3m @ 5.15 g/t Au from 35m
MCD10: 2m @ 5.51 g/t Au from 30m
MCD11: 1m @ 14.18 g/t Au from 48m
Empire has also purchased close-spaced airborne magnetic and radiometric data over the four exploration licences comprising the Project from Kingwest Resources Ltd which commissioned an airborne geophysical survey across the adjacent tenements in Q4 2019.
Empire will now analyse the data and prepare detailed geophysical maps for the license area and assist with the prioritizing of drilling targets as part of the proposed exploration campaign to be commenced in the next few months.
Central Menzies lies within a classic granite-greenstone belt, with mineralisation associated with the regional Menzies Shear Zone, while a series of structurally controlled high-grade gold deposits have been historically mined and display extensive exploration potential for high-grade extensions.
Shaun Bunn, Managing Director, commented: “As previously announced, we are continuing to build momentum at our Eclipse Gold Project, where the focus now is on bringing the Eclipse resource into JORC compliance ahead of mine optimisation and planning and evaluating the resource potential at the adjacent Jack’s Dream deposit.”
“It is pleasing to note that Empire remains in a strong financial position given the recent sale of its 50% holding in Georgian Copper & Gold JSC and receipt of the cash consideration totalling US$3.3 million.”
*SP Angel act as Nomad and Broker to Empire Metals
Kodal Minerals* (LON:KOD) – 0.31p, Mkt cap GBP49m – Firefinch outline $130m deal with Ganfeng Goulamina lithium development
Firefinch (ASX:FFX) A$0.5, Mkt Cap A$393m
Firefinch (formerly Mali Lithium) have outlined details of the deal with Ganfeng, China’s largest lithium processor.
Ganfeng is to invest: $130m in a 50:50 jv ‘MLB’ to develop the Goulamina lithium project.
US$2.5m deposit already paid
US$39m initial investment (less the Deposit) for 15% of MLB with proceeds to fund long lead capital items;
US$91m on Goulamina Final Investment Decision taking Ganfeng’s equity interest in MLB to 50% (assuming the IRR is >15%).
Ganfeng will either provide US$40m in debt directly or otherwise arrange US$64m in bank debt funding.
Ganfeng will receive life of mine (LOM) offtake – 50% on receipt of the full US$130m and 100% after debt financing is provided (assuming commercial production within 4 years of the deal)
Funds received from Ganfeng will be retained in MLB to fund project development capex
Goulamina Lithium Project envisages a 2.3mtpa milling/flotation plant supplying 436ktpa fine 6% Li2O spodumene concentrate over 23y LOM, according to the Oct/20 DFS.
Goulamina hosts 52mt of ore at 1.51% Li2O in Mineral Reserves and 109mt at 1.45% Li2O in Total Mineral Resources.
The project has a development capex of US$194m and cash operating costs of US$281/t (FOB Abidjan).
Goulamina yields NPV8% (pre-tax) of US$1.2bn and IRR (pre-tax) of 55.8%.
Kodal has a JORC mineral resource of 21.3mt grading 1.11% Li2O with a FS showing production of 220,000tpa of 6% spodumene
Capex of US$117m, estimated C1 cash costs of USD$431/t, capex of $117m and an IRR of 58% (51% post tax).
Conclusion: The Ganfeng deal with Firefinch gives substantial confidence in the potential future development of Kodal’s Bougouni project which is directly adjacent to Goulamina. There are significant and substantial synergies between the two projects and there may be potential to build a lithium processing plant in Mali to reduce the need to truck concentrates to port in the Ivory Coast.
*SP Angel acts as Financial Advisor and Broker to Kodal Minerals. The analyst bought shares in Kodal Minerals following the announcement of the Ganfeng deal with Firefinch.
W Resources (LON:WRES) 8p, Mkt Cap GBP8.6m – Completion of water dam at La Parilla
W Resources reports that it has now completed a 500,000m3 capacity water containment dam “in order to resolve the issue of the high water levels” which have constrained access to high-grade ore at its La Parilla tungsten mine in the Extremadura region of Spain.
The company says that the new dam is “receiving water from the mine pit at a rate of 2,500m3 per hour, which will enable access to the next level of fresh ore in the next few days” and that “The final phase of the project to provide a permanent solution to the water issues at La Parrilla, comprising of a second dam, is currently at the design stage and is expected to be completed in Q4 2021”.
Chairman, Michael Masterman, thanked the team at la Parilla for its completion of the dam which he described as a “major milestone … [which] … will lift the constraint to our mining operations enabling us to accelerate the process of regaining access to and recovery of the higher-grade ore.”
Conclusion: The completion of the first dam at La Parilla is expected to permit initial access to high grade ore to be resumed over the next few days. The longer term solution to La Parilla’s water issues, involving the construction of a second dam, is expected to be in place by the end of this year
BBC: Catalytic converters https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p09jl6c9
IGTV: Evolution of Chinese construction and implications for commodity demand: https://youtu.be/jB2nURL8uPw
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: 28/04/20: https://www.voxmarkets.co.uk/media/60896b3f017903524c8e0936/?context=/listings/LON/BMN/multimedia/
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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 – [email protected] – 0203 470 0490
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Sources of commodity prices
Gold, Platinum, Palladium, Silver
BGNL (Bloomberg Generic Composite rate, London)
Gold ETFs, Steel
Copper, Aluminium, Nickel, Zinc, Lead, Tin, Cobalt
Natural Gas, Uranium, Iron Ore
Bloomberg OTC Composite
Lithium Carbonate, Ferro Vanadium, Tungsten, Spodumene, Ferro-Manganese, Graphite