Today is the first day of the Lunar New Year, marked by the start of a new moon and the beginning of 16 days worth of festivities. Although the Western world largely follows the Gregorian calendar, many Eastern Asian countries celebrate the traditional Lunar calendar which, as the name suggests, follows the moon cycle. Following the thousand year old Chinese zodiac tradition, we now move into the year of the ox – after 2020’s appropriately assigned rat – and according to the myth where the Jade Emperor assigned each year to the first twelve animals to arrive in a race, the kindly ox came second after being tricked by the rat into carrying him on his back then landing first. Not just an opportunity to try and pick back up those resolutions made last month, the new year is a time to be with family, for new beginnings, and to reflect on fortune, happiness and health. It is a deeply symbolic time and very focused on tradition: from dressing and decorating in red, to the exchanging of red money envelopes, to avoiding various taboos believed to bring bad luck to the rest of the year. These taboos include anything related to death and mourning, like wearing black and saying negative words, and no sweeping, in case you sweep away good luck – these are best avoided so as to give this year all the help it can get in bringing some much needed good fortune. The main attributes of the ox that are believed to be manifested into this year are hard work, honesty and positivity; and after the wily rat’s havoc on last year, we can hope that the calming energy of the ox will carry us into a more positive year. With successful vaccine roll outs, spring on its way, and an end to lockdown on the horizon, the year of the ox is already looking more promising than the tricky rat’s – so Xīn nián kuài lè!
Tirupati Graphite Plc (LSE: TRP) will upscale the capacity of the first module at its Vatomina Project by 50% to a planned production of 9,000 tonnes per annum in response to continued increased demand for its high quality flake graphite. The strong demand from current and prospective buyers is a direct result of Tirupati’s efforts to become a significant supplier to the rapidly growing global flake graphite market. The upscaled capacity of 12,000tpa across its two projects will significantly boost near-term cash flow generation, whilst the commissioning of the new production module at Vatomina remains on schedule. Additionally, Tirupati’s group company TSG has been awarded REACH certification for its range of expandable graphite products for marketing and sales into the EU. The certification represents a recognised international standard for Tirupati’s range of products that have various applications. One of which is most notably compliant with flame retardancy and toxicity standards, especially ahead of the upcoming UK Fire Safety Bill. The certification will also increase demand for Tirupati’s graphite products as users are increasingly looking to spruce products outside of China.
Dekel Agri-Vision Plc (AIM: DKL) acquired another 16.7% interest in the soon to be producing raw cashew nut processing project at Tiebissou, bringing its total stake in the large-scale operation to 70.7%. Tiebissou is on course to become Dekel’s second producing asset in Q2 2021, joining its wholly owned palm oil project in Ayenouan. Speaking of Ayenouan, Dekel reported double digit increases across the main key performance indicators for January 2021: crude palm oil production up 52% to 3,269 tonnes, sales up 20% to 2,538 tonnes, and CPO prices up 28% to €796 per tonne compared to January 2021. Management pointed out that International CPO prices continue to soar and are currently around US$1,000 per tonne, approaching 10 year highs and around 100% higher than Q2 2020. The Company believes the stellar performance is due to palm oil’s widespread use in everyday essential products and a global shortage in vegetable oil stocks. The production update marks a strong start to Cote d’Ivoire’s peak harvest season, which is expected to coincide with the beginning of operations at the Tiebissou Cashew Project.
Emmerson Plc (AIM: EML) received the receipt of the Mining Licence for its wholly owned Khemisset Potash Project from the Moroccan Ministry of Energy, Mines and the Environment. This provides the exclusive right to develop and mine the potash deposit within the licence’s perimeter ahead of the anticipated initiation of construction by the end of 2021. This is following the successful application process including the submission of a JORC compliant MRE and confirmed the project’s viability through the Feasibility Study. The study highlighted its initial mine life of 19 years, based on less than 50% of its global resource base. This represents a major milestone in the development of the project, which is set to become the first large scale potash mine in Africa.
Cora Gold Limited (AIM: CORA) announced a series of new surface gold discoveries from satellite imagery and surface prospecting programmes at the Sanankoro Gold Project. Over 900 samples have been collected and panned to identify the three new mineralised structures, which include +4km trend of new surface workings at Selin, the largest and highest-grade deposit; +8km trend of surface workings on the newly identified Bokoro Far West Trends; and +3km north eastern extension of Dako II Main discovery. Follow up drilling has now been planned on these discoveries with Cora’s RAB rig during Q1 and Q2 2021.
Kodal Minerals Plc (AIM: KOD) provided an update on the results of the surface geochemical sampling completed at the Dabakala Concession in Cote d’Ivoire from December 2020. High grade gold geochemical samples up to 6.14g/t gold was returned for the surface and extensive surface gold anomalism was defined. Its consistency, the geological setting and the presence of artisanal workings highlight the potential of the Dabakala project. A field inspection for the anomalism is planned for February 2021, whilst field reconnaissance is underway at the Fatou Project. Kodal continues to develop its gold portfolio whilst demonstrating the value of its assets. Kodal prepares for a busy 2021 drilling and field exploration season, particularly focusing on drilling at the Nile Project, defining JORC Compliant Mineral Resources at the Fatou Project, progressing the mining licence application at the Bougouni Lithium Project, and the field review and reconnaissance drilling at Dabakala.
Keras Resources Plc (AIM: KRS) announced that the processing plant at Diamond Creek is now on site in Utah and construction is underway after being shipped from Shanghai in Q4 2020. The plant has a design capacity to process the targeted 48,000 ton per year peak production rate in 2024 and will increase the installed capacity and flexibility whilst reducing operating costs. The expansion continues to progress as planned and the commissioning of this facility is a key aspect of this strategy.
Europa Oil and Gas (Holdings) Plc (AIM: EOG) has conditionally raised a total of £1.5 million via a placing of 115,384,616 new ordinary shares at a price of 1.3 pence per share. The final total raised could go up to £2million as a broker option has been granted to Turner Pope to conditionally raise up to a further £500,000. The monies raised will primarily fund multiple work programmes focused on evaluating late-stage appraisal/development projects that would rebalance Europa’s existing portfolio of production and exploration assets, improving recovery from the Company’s already producing onshore UK fields, and continuing technical work on the Inezgane Licence, offshore Morocco. Together with the recent commencement of oil flow at the Wressle field, the fundraise further strengthens Europa’s balance sheet, as it looks to achieve its corporate objectives and build a portfolio of multistage assets that can generate sustainable growth and value for shareholders.
Prospex Energy Plc (AIM: PXEN) provided an update on its acquisition of a 49.9% interest in El Romeral, an integrated gas production and power station operation in Spain. Following receipt of final regulatory approval at the end of 2020, the acquisition of the Project, which includes three producing wells that supply gas to a 100% project owned power station, is now expected to complete on 28 February 2021. In the meantime, preparatory work is underway to ensure the operational transfer goes smoothly once completion has taken place.
FastForward Innovations Ltd (AIM: FFWD) has had a busy week with three key pieces of news. FastForward confirmed that Yooma Corp., in which it held a 10.65% interest, has completed its reverse take-over of Globalive Technology Inc. by way of a statutory plan of arrangement and the new combined company, Yooma Wellness, began trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange (‘CSE’) on 11 January 2021 under the ticker symbol ‘YOOM’.
Another of FastForward’s investee companies, Portage Biotech Inc., announced its 2021 research and development goals, including advancing three of its pipeline assets through clinical trials during the upcoming year. Portage has also received approval from the NASDAQ Capital Market to list its common shares on the NASDAQ exchange, and expects to commence trading on 25 February 2021 under the symbol ‘PRTG’.
Finally, FastForward invested A$1million (£560,000) in a placing undertaken by Little Green Pharma, an ASX-Listed, vertically integrated, medicinal cannabis business with operations from cultivation and production through to manufacturing and distribution. The placing raised a total of A$22m and FastForward expects to hold 0.9% of the company following the issue of the placing shares. Having been aware of LGP’s progress FastForward is delighted to now support LGP, which it believes ticks all the boxes; it has great assets, strong management, is well capitalised, and continuously delivers on its forecasts.
Harvest Minerals Limited (LSE: HMI) has relinquished its exploration licence over and returned to the National Mining Agency its 100% interest in the Capela Potash Project in Brazil to dedicate its resources and to ensure the continued growth trajectory at its 100% owned revenue generating Arapua Fertiliser Project. Harvest is focusing on strengthening its sales reach and production efficiency at Arapua, which the board believes should reflect in a year-on-year increase in sales volumes.
You may have missed…
Read more about Emmerson’s mining licence grant in Proactive and listen to CEO Graham Clarke speak to Proactive on its significance to the Khemisset potash project.
Watch Tirupati Graphite’s CEO Shishir Poddar speak with Proactive on the increased production capacity.
Have a listen to Kodal Minerals’ CEO Bernard Aylward speak with Proactive on the high grade gold samples from the Dabakala project.
In the news this week…
Read more about the Chinese New Year, and how to cook a Lunar New Year feast.
New discoveries at Stonehenge links it to its original site.
Why analysts are predicting the pound will rise past its $1.38 level against the US dollar this week to its highest level in almost 3 years.
Dating app Bumble had its US market debut, today trading at over a 70% premium to its IPO price making its female founder Whitney Wolfe a billionaire.