St Brides Partners Weekly Brief, 3rd July 2020

As we come to the start of yet another new month in lockdown, there is cause to celebrate: we have made it through the first half of the year!

Although, with these first six months in mind, which were eventful enough to say the least, one cannot help but wonder what will the second half of this year bring with it? The glass-half-empty (or rather year-half-empty) types might have their own view of things, but the optimists amongst us will be looking forward to some time out of lockdown.

Already some countries are beginning to see what a post-lockdown world will look like and tomorrow has been dubbed ‘Super Saturday’ in England in light of pubs re-opening after their hiatus (sorry to Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Leicester).

With our summer now officially underway and having had all these weeks of sunny weather with no pub garden to enjoy it in, this will surely bring the British public one step closer to normality (from one metre apart and with no more than six people, of course).

So whether you are planning on enjoying the weekend by taking advantage of the easing of lockdown rules or just continuing to enjoy your own garden, either way it is worth raising a glass to bidding goodbye to the first half of 2020! And what better way to celebrate than to see what our clients have been up to this week?

Client News

Prospex Energy Plc (AIM: PXEN) had its Annual General Meeting earlier this week, where all resolutions proposed were approved by shareholders including one to change the company’s name from Prospex Oil and Gas Plc’s to Prospex Energy Plc. The name change reflects the company’s focus on gas development and production and, following the acquisition of a 49.9% stake in the El Romeral gas and power project in Spain, electricity generation. The company now trades with the revised TIDM of AIM: PXEN. Shareholders also approved a share capital consolidation, details of which can be found in the Result of AGM here.

Armadale Capital Plc (AIM: ACP) has commenced the formal Mining Licence application process for its 100% owned Mahenge Liandu Graphite Project in Tanzania. This is a significant step in the development of the project and represents the culmination of a period of intensive work by the company’s project development team. The receipt of the mining licence will be one of the final and most important de-risking milestones for Armadale. Meanwhile, project financing discussions with multiple parties remain ongoing and are progressing well following the recently updated definitive feasibility study, which confirmed the enormous commercial potential of the Mahenge Graphite Project.

Katoro Gold Plc (AIM: KAT) announced that the JV-management and technical team for the Blyvoor gold tailings project conducted an extensive site visit from 1 to 2 July 2020 with two main objectives, the first of which was to progress the project financing process. The company is experiencing various delays as a result of COVID-19 constraints but is finalising a shortlist of potential financing partners and is working closely with them, its advisors and its JV partners, to finalise an appropriate project level financing package. The second objective was to commence the resource upgrade programme which forms part of the technical work required for the completion of the DFS and will consist of both an exploration and geotechnical drill programme as well as confirmatory metallurgical test work. This is an exciting point in the company’s development and the Board is confident that the timelines set out in previous announcements for the project will be achieved as the partners progress toward first gold production from the Blyvoor tailings facilities.

Empire Metals Limited (AIM: EEE) provided an update on the drilling programme being undertaken by Artemis Resources Limited at the Munni Munni Palladium Project, the largest unexploited primary PGE Resource in Australia. The project is subject to a proposed acquisition of a 58.6% interest in Munni Munni Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of ASX listed Artemis and the beneficial owner of a 70% interest in Munni Munni. Following completion of the acquisition Empire will hold a controlling 41% interest in the project. The drilling of 12 drill holes for 1,928 metre has been completed with drill holes spread through the entire upper portion of the mineralisation, to a maximum depth of 200 metres and results are expected in 3-4 weeks time. Empire continues to work closely with Artemis in order to conclude the transaction announced on 27 April 2020, and it is expected that the conditions precedent will be completed in a timely manner.

Emmerson Plc (AIM: EML) have appointed Mr Graham Clarke as CEO effective from 1 July 2020, a highly experienced fertiliser industry executive with 26 years experience in underground potash mining and the capability to deliver large, complex projects in the fertiliser space. As Emmerson progresses from junior explorer into a mine developer, his experience will be invaluable in joining and building the team to expedite the development of the Khemisset Potash Mine towards production. Hayden Locke will continue as Director of the Company, focusing on the financing and strategic partner discussions that are underway.

Ferro-Alloy Resources (AIM: FAR) released their final results for the year ended 31 December 2019 this week. Good operational progress was made during the year resulting in 2019’s production of vanadium pentoxide increasing 21.6% to 152 tonnes following the installation of new equipment and processes and allowing for significant progress towards a major expansion of the operation. The new equipment installed at their existing processing operation will increase capacity to 60 tonnes of vanadium pentoxide per month, whilst the installation of an entirely new pyrometallurgical production process aimed to treat higher grade vanadium-containing secondary materials, and the existing hydrometallurgical process was upgraded to provide improved product quality. Preparatory work was completed on the second major phase of its expansion with plans to take capacity up to 1,500 tonnes per year. With the price of vanadium pentoxide reaching the exceptional highs of around $30/lb at the end of 2018 to then dropping to just over $5/lb at the end of 2019 to then stabilising in 2020, there is an inevitable pressure on margins – however, the effects of this are expected to even out in the long run and can continue to operate with a very high margin. The Balasausqandiq Vanadium Project is set to be one of the world’s largest and lowest cost vanadium mines with unparalleled potential and due to be highly profitable in the fast-growing vanadium market, as the demand and need for renewable energy storage continues to increase.

Your weekly dose of non-coronavirus related news you might have missed…

The  Frugal Bottle has launched – made from 94% recycled paperboard, it is an eco-friendly alternative to glass and plastic wine bottles.

Adoption agencies are experiencing a ‘surprisingly high’ volume of inquiries during the lockdown.

Archaeological work has started on a Viking ship discovered in Norway – the first new ship discovery in 100 years.

July’s full moon will be seen this Sunday, known as the Buck Moon, named for male deer growing antlers this time of year. And not just any full moon as it will be a partial eclipse – best seen in the Americas but if you’re an early riser here in the UK, your best chance at spotting it is between 4-7am!

NASA has named their D.C. headquarters after Mary W. Jackson, the first African American female engineer who played a key role in successfully sending astronauts into space and in providing opportunities to more women and people of colour within the field – the 2016 book “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race” by Margot Shetterley and the movie based on it both feature part of Jackson’s work.

Earlier this week marked the anniversary of Marsha P. Johnson being posthumously honoured as grand marshal of the New York City Pride March. June is celebrated as Pride Month to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall uprising, which is widely regarded as a crucial turning point for the LGBTQ+ rights movement and Marsha P. Johnson is credited as a pioneer of the movement in the US. Read more about her inspirational life which she dedicated to standing up for the freedom for people to be themselves.

‘Pubs are a go, hugs are a no’: a quick guide to the new rules for this weekend


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