Over this past year it may have at times felt like we are living the same day over and over, much like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, but the actual tradition took place earlier this week. Although Pennsylvania’s legendary rodent Phil has predicted six more weeks of winter after emerging from his burrow, he imparts the optimistic message that the spring to follow will be the most beautiful and brightest – this feels especially true as we begin to see other countries return to somewhat normality, assurances that we have now passed the peak infection rate, and vaccinations are being successfully rolled out. However, this week we also lost our greatest symbol of hope in the UK: Captain Sir Tom Moore sadly passed away. During the first lockdown, Sir Tom set himself the personal challenge of completing 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday. Little did he know then that this would go on to inspire the nation and raise £33 million for NHS charities – far surpassing his initial £1,000 goal. From there, Sir Tom has received a knighthood from the Queen, has been promoted to colonel, and even has had a chart topping single, as well as inspiring countless others to take on challenges of their own to raise money for charity. But, most importantly, he provided a much needed positive light in our darkest days and became a symbol of hope. His legacy will continue to live on to bring out the best in us – in his first interview, Sir Tom humbly said: “One small soul like me won’t make much difference” – which he has since disproved with not only the money raised for the NHS, but through his impact on the country’s spirits. He reminds us that our own actions, however small, can make all the difference as we work together to bring about positive change. Sir Tom led an extraordinary life from growing up in the Great Depression to fighting in World War II, to this last remarkable year, and has kept a smile on his face and a positive outlook throughout. He leaves us with his best known catchphrase: “Please remember, tomorrow will be a good day”.
BlueRock Diamonds (AIM:BRD) has ended this week with a sparkle by updating its Resource Statement at the Kareevlei Diamond Mine in South Africa. The provisional figures for which were released in December 2020. The Company sees a 49% increase in net tonnes to 10,368,300, 53% increase in net carats to 516,200 and 19% of resource upgraded to Indicated Resources. The Resource Statement is based on planned production of 1 million tonnes per annum, and provides a minimum 10-year life of mine. The Board is confident that the Resource will increase further once more work is completed on KV3, the mine’s largest pipe, where at present only 40% of this pipe’s volume is included in resource.
Europa Oil & Gas Plc (AIM: EOG) achieved a significant milestone this week with the commencement of oil flow at its 30%-owned Wressle Oil Field in North Lincolnshire, which lies on licences PEDL180 and 182. Following the successful and safe completion of operations to recomplete the Wressle-1 well and reperforate the Ashover Grit reservoir interval, oil flow was achieved on schedule. The Well has been placed on continuous 24 hour test production as it is carefully brought on-stream and further updates will be provided once the clean-up process has been completed and flow rates are stabilised.
Kodal Minerals Plc (AIM: KOD) provided an update on its various gold assets that are progressing in conjunction with its flagship Bougouni lithium project in Mali. A request from Resolute to extend the JV term has been rejected, meaning that Kodal will retain 100% ownership of the concessions Nielle, Tiebissou and M’Bahiakro, in which exploration will continue. In addition, Kodal has put in a recent option to acquire up to 90% of the Fatou Project. Moreover, the term sheet signed for a proposed funding agreement with the Riverfort to provide up to $2.5 million as part of the Funding Agreement continues to advance toward finalisation, to be used to further the exploration at its aforementioned gold assets.
Empire Metals Limited (AIM: EEE) provided a corporate update on its strategic initiatives, as well as an update on the progress of drilling at its 75% held Eclipse Gold Project in Western Australia. Empire’s primary strategic focus for 2021 is the development of its gold mining interests in Australia, including building on the success at Eclipse and continuing active discussions with a number of parties regarding potential acquisitions. The second phase of drilling at the Project is now well advanced with approximately 3,800m of the now 4,400m Reverse Circulation programme drilled in January 2021. The drilling has intercepted a number of wide quartz veins in areas beyond and below the Eclipse old workings and assays are now awaiting laboratory analysis to determine the degree of mineralisation. The continued success at Eclipse and the additional opportunities being presented to Empire to expand its gold project interests in Western Australia underscore the merits of the Company’s new strategic focus and in support of this, Mike Struthers, CEO of Empire has stepped down as CEO with immediate effect and the Company is seeking to appoint a suitably experienced replacement to lead the Company through its next phase of growth. Mike Struthers will continue as Non-Executive Director of the Company as well as being engaged as a technical consultant.
Oracle Power Plc (AIM: ORCP) has jointly submitted a policy proposal for coal-to-gas and coal-to-liquid development in Pakistan to the Ministry of Energy with its Consortium Partner CNCDC. The proposal outlines the draft commercial framework through which the development of coal to gas and liquid at That Block VI may be fast tracked to address the country’s critical gas shortage and reliance on imported fuels. Preliminary feasibility work is underway to establish the best route to expediting the gasification of coal at Thar and Oracle looks forward to discussions with the Ministry towards finalising the framework.
Harvest Minerals Ltd (AIM: HMI) provided a recap of its activities during 2020 and outlook for what is expected to come in 2021 as it continues to make strides at its 100% owned revenue generating Arapua Fertiliser Project in Brazil. 2020 was a year of consolidation of Harvest’s operational platform ensuring the necessary scalability to meet market demand as the effectiveness of its KP Fértil® product becomes more widely known. Harvest completed a series of very critical agronomical tests during the year which delivered exceptional results and were used as the flagship tool to expand its client portfolio, with the Company selling in excess of its 50,000 tonne sales target for the year. Harvest now believes it has the appropriate platform from which to deliver increased growth and will continue to take initiatives to strengthen its sales reach and production efficiency, which, the Board believe should reflect in a healthy year-on-year increase is sales volumes.
FastForward Innovations Ltd (AIM: FFWD) announced that it has invested £250,000 in South West Brands Limited, a London-based group that is seeking to establish itself as a multi-brand consumer goods group developed specifically for the CBD industry, adding to FastForward’s growing portfolio of cannabis-focused investments. The team, led by ex-corporate financier, Rebekah Hall, has proven experience in building large, successful, household name brands. Given its efficient business model including celebrity collaborations, the FastForward team believe South West Brands has a first mover advantage in this exciting market. FastForward also noted an update from IMG Arena, which has launched a unique new vintage betting product in partnership with EuroLeague Basketball, Euroleague Legends. The product was created by Leap Gaming, in which FastForward has a 43.4% interest; as such, the extension of the partnership will have a significant impact on Leap, adding another important revenue stream to its suite of products.
Our new client Trident Royalties Plc (AIM: TRR), a diversified mining royalty and streaming company, provided an update on its activities during Q4 2020 as it constructs its portfolio to broadly mirror the commodity exposure of the global mining sector. The quarter ending 31 December 2020 marked a transformative year for the company. A total of six transactions were agreed over 11 royalties in 2020, including its first all-equity deal, and a number of pipeline transactions continue to advance across its portfolio of multiple commodities that is increasingly reflective of the broader global mining sector. With a strengthened board and management team fully integrated, its strategy will continue to be executed and potential transactions will be evaluated and progressed as it continues to build a diversified portfolio of mining royalties and streams. In addition, Calidus has successfully consolidated key exploration and infrastructure tenements as part of the broader Warrawoona Gold Project and is moving toward 100% ownership of the project. Trident has a binding agreement to acquire a 1.5% Net Smelter Royalty over the eastern part of the planned Warrawoona mine, which is expected to complete in Q1 2021.
Kibo Energy Plc (AIM: KIBO) announced that its UK based flexible energy company, Mast Energy Developments Plc (MED), has raised in excess of £5 million ahead of an imminent IPO on the London Stock Exchange, at which point it will have a market cap of c. £23 million. Final submissions to the FCA are now proceeding. This initial demand has exceeded expectations and confirms Kibo’s belief that the UK clean energy sector is an exciting investment case and MED is on its way to becoming a significant contributor to the growing resource power market.
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The Evening Standard highlighted South West Brands launch after raising £1 million from angels and institutional investors, including FastForward (AIM: FFWD).
CEO of Tirupati Graphite Puruvi Poddar spoke with WTIN on starting the commercial development of its zero-chemical graphene process.
Watch Anton du Plessis, CEO of Zinnwald Lithium, discuss the Company and the wider lithium market in a webinar hosted by Vox Markets and Turner Pope Investments.
In the news this week…
Read more about Captain Sir Tom Moore’s life.
Five reasons to be (cautiously) hopeful about Covid.
Spinach can now send emails…find out how and why.
France has passed a bill protecting countryside smells and sounds as national heritage.
The iconic London tube map has inspired a ‘Greenground Map’ to connect a walking/cycling route for the London’s green spaces.
The sub-sector of clean energy stocks has seen a 140% rise in the past year.
Read more about Punxsutawney Phil and the tradition of Groundhog Day.