SP Angel . Morning View . Monday 09 03 20
Oil price fall adds momentum to equity market collapse
MiFID II exempt information – see disclaimer below
Bushveld Minerals* () – Agreement with redT energy plc to supply electrolyte for Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries
Aura Energy* (LON:AURA) – Issue of shares
Greatland Gold () –Havieron project update
Metals Exploration () – Unable to extend the Standstill Agreement, stock suspended
Oriole Resources () – Thani Stratex Djibouti
Orosur Mining* () – Orosur receives US$0.5m from Newmont as part of Anzá project earn-in agreement
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Oil prices plunge as OPEC turns taps on to punish Russia non-compliance
Saudi Arabia has decided to punish Russia under the pretext of hurting US shale gas producers.
Our guess is that oil prices will fall below $30/bbl and maybe below $25/bbl.
China is returning to work indicating that demand will rise for oil while the fall in demand for bunker oil for shipping should slowly reverse as shipping resumes into Chinese ports.
Logistical challenges will continue within China for some time as provincial boarders are monitored and as Chinese towns and cities are quarantined.
As always with China, see what they do and don’t listen much to what they say.
LME inventories show sizeable withdrawals of copper, aluminium and nickel
LME inventory data today shows reasonable withdrawals of copper, aluminium and nickel as well as some zinc and tin.
Reuters reported on Friday ‘China metal inventories scale new highs as demand makes slow recovery from virus’
Metals prices continue to follow equity markets lower though miners should take some comfort from the LME stock withdrawls
Steel stocks in China hit an all-time high as traders wait for construction sites to resume work while copper inventories in ShFE warehouses are close to a four-year high
Stocks of rebar for construction, hot-rolled coil for autos and domestic appliances and three other key steel products rose to a new high of 25.27mt last week (Mysteel).
Traders are waiting for permission to ship orders of steel and other products
China lowers emergency response levels as government gets nation back to work to avoid ‘economic meltdown’
China now understands better how to slow and possibly stop the spread of the Coronavirus
Chinese officials may prefer to get the nation back to work while allowing the virus to work its way through the community particularly now that the rest of the world is infected..
A return to work in China will give the nation substantial economic advantage as the rest of the world goes into lockdown as local healthcare services are overwhelmed.
China released import and export figures for the first two months of the year. Exports fell by 17.2% while imports dropped by 4%
This gave the Chinese economy a trade deficit of $7.1 billion as it struggles with the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
Dow Jones Industrials -0.98% at 25,865
Nikkei 225 -5.07% at 19,699
HK Hang Seng -4.20% at 25,048
Shanghai Composite -3.01% at 2,943
FTSE 350 Mining -11.38% at 13,121
AIM Basic Resources -0.90% at 2,139
US – S&P 500 index futures hit the limit-down level this morning after recording a ~5% drop pointing to weak opening later today.
US 10y bond yields reached new lows of 0.318% earlier today as investors rushed into safe haven assets amid a general market sell off.
Gold briefly spiked and hit $1,704/oz, the highest level since 2012.
Brent were down ~30% this morning hitting $31/bbl before bouncing back slightly and currently hovering around $36/bbl as a breakdown in OPEC+ talks led Saudi Arabia to announce discounts and a ramp up in production in an all-out price war.
That was the second-largest decline on record in the opening second of trading, coming behind the drop during the Gulf War in 1991.
On Saturday, Saudi Arabia announced massive discounts to the official prices for April as the lowest cost producer plans to increase daily output rates to above the 10mmbbl mark.
The kingdom currently runs at 9.7mmbbl per day, but has the capacity to go up to 12.5mmbbl.
Saudis has previously suggested additional production cuts of 1.5mmbbl starting in April and extending until the end of the year.
Russia, however, rejected the proposal on Friday leading to fall out with other OPEC+ members.
“As from 1 April we are starting to work without minding the quotas or reductions which were in place earlier,” Russian Energy Minster Alexander Novak said on Friday.
An expected build in production rates comes on top for forecast reduced demand amid an outbreak of the coronavirus.
Japan – The government will triple its special financing for small and mid-size firms hit by the coronavirus to 1.6tn yen ($11.9bn), up from roughly 500bn yen previously announced.
Authorities will use public financial institutions including the Japan Finance Corporation and the Development Bank of Japan to provide financing, according to Reuters.
The economy contracted more than initially estimated in Q4/19 fuelling concerns the nation is on course to record a recession this quarter.
GDP dropped 7.1%qoq (annualised) last quarter versus a preliminary reading of 6.3% and a median market forecast of 6.6%.
The reading marks the steepest decline since April-June 2014, when a sales tax increase to 8% from 5% in April of that year pushed the economy into recession, Reuters reports.
The revision has been attributed to a more pronounced drop in business spending (-4.6% v -3.7% estimated previously).
UK – UK benchmark gilt yields turn negative – 2-, 3-, 4-, 6- and 7-year benchmark gilts now in negative yield territory.
PM Johnson will hold an emergency meeting on coronavirus with 278 total recorded cases and three confirmed deaths in the country.
“The number of coronavirus continues to rise in the UK and around the world… we are well prepared and will continue ot make decisions to protect the public based on the latest scientific advice,” Boris Johnson said.
Authorities have so far ruled against shutting large public places like museums, galleries, art galleries or concert halls while allowing sporting events to continue as normal.
FTSE 100 hit 5,834 earlier today marking a 25% drop from 52 week high while 2y and 5y bond yields slipped below 0%, the first UK benchmark securities to do so.
France – The central bank cut its GDP growth forecasts to 0.1% in Q1/20 compared to 0.3% estimated previously.
“Business leaders predict a decline in most sectors in March given the new context of the coronavirus epidemic,” the bank said.
French Finance Minister Bruno le Maire, speaking on the radio this morning, said that the impact of the virus on growth in 2020 would be “severe”.
Italy – Authorities are looking at a state guarantee scheme to support banks offering debt moratoriums to households and companies, according to government officials.
Bank lobby earlier asked European authorities to ease rules on bad loans for at least six months, according to Reuters.
Eurozone – Inflation expectations measure dipped below 1% for the first time ever on coronavirus related concerns and a dip in oil prices.
The five year breakeven inflation forward slid to 0.9737% today.
Faltering growth and inflation outlook builds pressure on the ECB to come up with a monetary stimulus response with rates already at record lows.
Lebanon – The nation is set to default on the $1.2bn Eurobond payment due today and is looking at restructuring its debt.
The nation’s public debt to GDP ratio currently stands at 170% with a total of $31bn in US$ denominated debt.
The nation imports some 80% of its need from abroad making it heavily reliant on the amount of FX reserves available.
A set of Lebanon’s bond holders are to step up efforts to form a credit group in the coming days, according to Reuters.
US$1.1429/eur vs 1.1274/eur last week. Yen 102.38/$ vs 105.70/$. SAr 16.108/$ vs 15.605/$. $1.316/gbp vs $1.298/gbp. 0.656/aud vs 0.664/aud. CNY 6.952/$ vs 6.934/$.
Gold US$1,671/oz vs US$1,678/oz last week
Gold ETFs 85.9moz vs US$85.2moz last week
US$873/oz vs US$866/oz last week
Palladium US$2,456/oz vs US$2,485/oz last week
Silver US$16.91/oz vs US$17.37/oz last week
Copper US$ 5,446/t vs US$5,664/t last week
Aluminium US$ 1,654/t vs US$1,714/t last week
Nickel US$ 12,330/t vs US$12,855/t last week
Zinc US$ 1,919/t vs US$2,014/t last week
Lead US$ 1,806/t vs US$1,832/t last week
Tin US$ 16,490/t vs US$16,970/t last week
Oil US$36.0/bbl vs US$49.0/bbl last week –
In the largest one-day drop since the 1991 Gulf War, oil prices fell by as much as 30% due to the threat of a price war between oil exporting group OPEC and its main ally Russia
This follows last Thursday’s OPEC+ meeting in Vienna where Russia appears to have refused to abide by production cuts to counteract the effects of Coronavirus on global growth in turn energy demand
Saudi Arabia has cut its official selling prices for oil and plans to increase production by as much as 20%
Energy shares have taken the brunt of the sell off the FTSE sell off with BP and Shell currently 18.1% and 19.8% down respectively
Brent futures are down 18% to $37.4/bbl, whilst WTI futures are down 19.2% at US$33.1/bbl
Natural Gas US$1.613/mmbtu vs US$1.748/mmbtu last week –
Expectations of sharply lower crude oil prices should also be a drag on natural gas prices as that market tries to first find value then form a support base in the wake of OPEC+’s inability to come to an agreement on production cuts
The weather is expected to be warmer than normal over the next 6-10 and 8-14 days, according to the latest forecast from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration
This should put downward pressure on natural gas demand, ahead of the spring when demand generally declines
Uranium US$24.35/lb vs US$24.45/lb last week
Iron ore 62% Fe spot (cfr Tianjin) US$86.3/t vs US$88.3/t
Chinese steel rebar 25mm US$526.9/t vs US$531.5/t
Thermal coal (1st year forward cif ARA) US$54.7/t vs US$56.9/t
Coking coal futures Dalian Exchange US$154.0/t vs US$156.0/t
Cobalt LME 3m US$33,500/t vs US$33,500/t
NdPr Rare Earth Oxide (China) US$39,223/t vs US$39,656/t
Lithium carbonate 99% (China) US$5,768/t vs US$5,768/t
Ferro Vanadium 80% FOB (China) US$28./kg vs US$28./kg
Antimony Trioxide 99.5% EU (China) US$5.3/kg vs US$5.2/kg
Tungsten APT European US$240-245/mtu vs US$240-245/mtu
Graphite flake 94% C, -100 mesh, fob China US$540/t vs US$540/t
Graphite spherical 99.95% C, 15 microns, fob China US$2,550/t vs US$2,550/t
EV winning over investors
EVBoosters in cooperation with Venture IQ estimated that 240 companies raised up to $17bn in 2019. (Cleantechnica)
The average value of a transaction was $72m across 164 traceable deals. 76 companies did not disclose financial information.
Market experts extrapolate these numbers to suggest EV companies raised between $15 and $17bn in 2019.
EVBoosters founder Jan Jacobs believes the space will raise upwards of $20bn in 2020 as EV adoption is on the rise and momentum is begin to shift towards the space.
The US had the greatest concentration of firms seeking financing, while EV manufacturing had the highest number of fundraisers.
Notable companies that raised money:
Bird (electric scooter rental): $275m
: $50m raised through crowd funding
Zinc batteries turn heads as they triumph in New York innovation challenge
Zinc8 singed a 3-yr contract with the New York State Power Authority in January to develop a demonstration project. The project specifications were to produce back up power for a municipal or college building for 8 hrs at a cost of $250/kWh. (Bloomberg)
The power authority is targeting 3 gigawatts of energy storage state-wide by 2030 as part of Governor Cuomo’s pledged for 100% of New York’s electricity to come from clean sources by 2030. The Vancouver based Zinc8 is in the process of finding a suitable site for the project.
Batteries built using Zinc do not catch fire like their lithium-ion compatriots, they run for longer and are cheaper as the metal is more widely available. (Lithium: $8500/ton, Zinc: $1984/ton) (Yahoo Finance)
Zinc’s abundance makes it an attractive proposition as lithium’s scarcity raises the possibility of a situation similar to that with OPEC in the oil market.
To date zinc batteries have been limited to hearing aids, until it was discovered they could be rechargeable on a commercial scale. Zinc-air systems similar to the one produced by Zinc8 draw in oxygen which then reacts with the porous zinc. The process of drawing in oxygen makes the batteries less flammable.
Zinc is also a less toxic material than lithium which is corrosive when it comes into contact with the eyes or skin.
Canada and Indonesia are funding their own zinc based battery projects.
Tesla receives government approval to produce the long-range rear-wheel-drive version of the Model 3 at its Shanghai Gigafactory (Reuters)
Tesla had previously discontinued production of the long-range RWD Model 3 in the US and had planned to only sell the more basic version of the Model 3 in China.
The standard-range-plus Model 3 has a range of 276 miles.
Working for Tesla might not be all sunshine and roses!
A memo from the Californian Division of Occupational Safety and Health shows that Tesla has repeatedly failed to disclose injuries at its main assembly plant in the state. Some of the documents were obtained through a public record request. (Business Insider)
Contrary to Tesla’s claims that the Californian regulators had praised the company for 99% accuracy of their record keeping, at least 36 injuries went unreported in 2018 and 44% of incidents in 2016 were absent. (Energy Voice)
Cal/OSHA provided Tesla with a $400 citation in December for failing to properly record injuries in logs since 2015. Tesla is appealing the citation. (Bloomberg)
This is not the first time Tesla has given authorities incomplete or inaccurate data. A study released in 2019 showed that Tesla handed incomplete or contradictory data to the National highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation into the company’s defective autopilot in 2017.
Bushveld Minerals* () 16.3p, Mkt Cap £187m – Agreement with redT energy plc to supply electrolyte for Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries
(Bushveld Minerals owns 74% of Vametco, 100% of Vanchem, 84% of Bushveld Energy in South Africa, 100% of Lemur Holdings, 9.5% of Afritin)
Valuation xx p
Bushveld Minerals report the signing of a an agreement with redT energy plc to form a Vanadium Financing Partnership for the supply of vanadium electrolyte to be used in third party-owned Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries developed by redT.
The deal is part of Bushveld’s VIP, Vanadium Investment Program and is reported to be an attractive commercial opportunity in itself.
VRFB batteries have a number of key advantages which should make them popular with Utilities looking to better balance new wind and solar power plants.
Key positive points:
Reliability – should be better than Li-ion given low fire risk,
Fire risk – negligible, unlike Li-ion,
Simple recycling of vanadium electrolyte and also vanadium from the electrolyte
Temperature sensitivity – very low,
No need to cool batteries in heat – avoids costs related to cooling
No need to warm batteries in the cold – avoids costs related to heating
Better for longer-term energy release
Power loss – slightly higher than Li-ion,
Power availability – slightly lower than Li-ion
The Partnership with hold physical vanadium for conversion into vanadium electrolyte for VRFB projects over the next two years and builds on a similar contract executed in 2019 in the US with Avalon Battery Corporation.
The redT partnership targets delivering ~15MWh of VRFBs which would require ~80mt of Vanadium or 143mt of Vanadium Pentoxide to be supplied by Bushveld. The 15MWh is just a starting figure with relatively simple scalability.
eg ~5mtV per MWh of battery capacity.
The value of the vanadium at today’s price is around £2.24m.
The electrolyte is to be supplied at market prices via long-term lease or rental arrangements which are being negotiated at the moment with external financing partners.
Bushveld will use an industrial partner in the United Kingdom to produce the electrolyte using Bushveld feedstock.
Prices: Vanadium pentoxide prices fell by 6.2% on Friday to $5.8 – 7.1/lb V2O5 in Rotterdam according to prices by FastmarketsMB
Ferro-vanadium prices also fell 0.8% to $25.65-26.95/kgV in Westerm Europe and by 1.3% to 13.5-13.75/lb in the US (FastmarketsMB)
Chinese exports of vanadium fell >20% last year due to ‘favourable’ domestic prices with a 20% fall to 4,902t of ferro-vanadium exported vs 6,142t in 2018.
While steel rebar stock levels are high in China we expect the return to work in China to see the restart of stalled construction and a resumption in buying in many commodities relatively soon.
China and other nations are looking to use construction and new infrastructure spend to restore economic growth. This should result in substantial new demand for a number of commodities.
New energy instillations will be high on European, US and Chinese government agendas as the impact of pneumonia caused by the Coronavirus causes government to look to improve air quality further in cities and around manufacturing complexes.
Conclusion: The new partnership with redT should help redT roll out commitments to contracts in VRFBs and lower the up-front cost of future VRFB instillations. We expect power utilities in hot climates, such as Australia and California to move to add VRFB batteries in preference to Li-ion due to their lower fire risk, better long-term power capacity and reliability. We expect this market to start to grow quite quickly from here.
*SP Angel acts as Nomad & Broker to Bushveld Minerals.
Aura Energy* (LON:AURA) 0.225p, Mkt Cap £3.6m – Issue of shares
Aura Energy has announced that it has issued 50m shares to the Lind Global Macro Fund on conversion of convertible notes.
“The issue of shares referred to above relates to the eighth Conversion Notice received from Lind to convert A$200,000 of convertible notes into fully paid ordinary shares. Lind has now converted $1,095,000 of the Convertible Security Facility”.
In April 2019, Aura Energy secured A$2m from Lind for the issue of convertible notes with a face value of A$2.4m.
We estimate that the new shares represent approximately 3% of the enlarged capital of the company.
*SP Angel act as Nomad & Broker to Aura Energy
Greatland Gold () 4.45p, Mkt Cap £162.5m –Havieron project update
Greatland Gold’s interim results for the six months to 31st December 2019 includes a summary of progress at its flagship Havieron gold/copper project in the Paterson region of Western Australia where Newcrest Mining is funding exploration of up to US$65m to earn a 70% interest in the project.
Currently Newcrest is accelerating the Stage 1 programme of US$10m with eight drilling rigs now operating on site.
Exploration to date has shown continuity of mineralisation over 450m of strike length within an envelope up to 150m wide and extending over “in excess of 600m vertically”. The mineralisation is reported to remain open both towards the north-west and at depth.
Newcrest Mining is reported to be planning “an additional 20,000 to 30,000 metres” of drilling by 30th June “to support the potential delivery of a maiden resource by the end of calendar 2020”. In addition, “Newcrest [is] investigating the potential to start an exploration decline by the end of calendar year 2020, and studying both a stoping operation and potential for a bulk underground operation”.
The Havieron project drilling has consistently reported lengthy mineralised intersections of gold/copper mineralisation and although the mineralisation is relatively deep the emerging picture of a potentially large resource, possibly amenable to bulk underground mining techniques, only 45km east of Newcrest’s existing Telfer mine has sparked Newcrest’s attention and appears to lie behind the view that following the initial resource estimate it might achieve “commercial production within [the] subsequent 2-3 years”.
Greatland Gold reports that it is well-funded with a cash balance at 31st December 2019 of more that £4m and subsequent receipts of approximately £2m arising from the conversion of warrants. As well as Havieron, the company has identified a number of additional potential exploration targets within the Paterson Region, including Scallywag, Paterson Range East and Black Hills.
The Paterson Region is attracting considerable exploration interest, with Newcrest also concluding a $60m farm-in agreement with Antipa Minerals for the exploration of the Wiki project and taking a 9.9% interest in the company and Rio Tinto deploying its resources to evaluate the Winu deposit. Antipa Minerals is also in joint-venture with Rio Tinto on the Citadel project where Rio Tinto has already earned a 51% interest through the expenditure of $11m and has the right to increase to a 75% holding via $60m of expenditure. Citadel includes the 1.3moz Calibre deposit as well as the Magnum gold copper silver deposit.
Conclusion: Newcrest Mining is accelerating its exploration effort under the earn-in agreement at Havieron and is indicating that it expects to produce an initial mineral resource estimate by the end of 2020. Newcrest is also said to be giving consideration to starting an exploration decline by the end of the year and to be evaluating the merits of different mining methods.
Metals Exploration () 0.7p, Mkt Cap £15m – Unable to extend the Standstill Agreement, stock suspended
The Company has been unable to reach an agreement with the new lenders on the continuation of the Standstill Agreement.
Metals Exploration currently owes $69.0m under the Senior Facility and $59.6m under Mezzanine Debt Facilities.
The Company is in default under the Senior Facility.
The stock has bene suspended this morning pending further clarification and discussions with the New Lenders.
Rights and obligations to the Senior Facility have been purchased by two major shareholders (Runruno Holdings and MTL (Guernsey) Ltd, an associated company of MTL Luxembourg SARL), earlier this year.
Oriole Resources () 0.29p, Mkt cap £2.0m – Thani Stratex Djibouti
Oriole Resources reports that its 11.8% owned Thani Stratex Djibouti, has commenced “an ambitious exploration programme” following its spin-out from Thani Stratex Resources and subsequent US$2.5m investment by African Minerals Exploration & Development (AMED) in the form of convertible loan notes.
The company reports that 13 drill holes totalling around 1200m, have been completed at the Pandora project with “successful intersection of vein in all holes”. Results are expected in late Q1 2020.
At the Hesdaba project, located 10km north-west of Pandora, a programme of 1800m of diamond drilling and 4000m of reverse-circulation drilling is underway to test epithermal mineralisation with results expected in late Q1/Q2.
At Assaleyta,16km north of Pandora, a Phase 2 diamond drilling programme of 200m is planned for Q4 2020 to test disseminated and vein gold mineralisation associated with rhyolite domes. Drilling is to be preceded by road construction and camp construction.
Oriole Resources’ CEO, Tim Livesey, is to join the board of Thani Stratex Djibouti.
Conclusion: We look forward to results from the further exploration of the projects in Djibouti.
Orosur Mining* () 2.7p, Mkt Cap £4.3m – Orosur receives US$0.5m from Newmont as part of Anzá project earn-in agreement
Orosur Received US$500,000 in cash from Newmont last week as the third instalment on Newmont’s commitment for Orosur’s Anzá project in Colombia in Phase 1 of the earn-in to Anza.
Newmont is earning into a 75% stake in the Anza project by making semi-annual cash payments to Orosur up to US$4m in Phases 1 and 2 and by spending >US$30m in in qualifying expenditures over 12 years along with the delivery of NI 43-101 compliant pre-feasibility and feasibility studies as part of Phase 3.
In Phase 1, Newmont may earn a 51% ownership interest in Anzá by spending US$10m in qualifying expenditures over four years and making cash payments to Orosur equalling a total of US$2 million during the first two years of the Phase 1 earn-in period.
Newmont is committed to spend a minimum of US$1m pa in the first two years or pay Orosur cash in lieu of completing said minimum work commitment, in order to maintain the Phase 1 earn-in right. In years 3 and 4, the Minimum Work Commitment increases to US$4m pa.
Orosur has so far received US$1.19m from Newmont to maintain its Phase 1 commitment to the exploration of the Anza project project.
We expect Orosur to have a cash balance of >$1m.
Conclusion: Anzá remains the Orosur’s core following the closure its exhausted gold mine in Uruguay. The Orosur team is well placed to move to develop its next gold project in Latin America. We expect further news on the team’s progress later this year.
*SP Angel act as Nomad and broker to Orosur Mining
John Meyer – 0203 470 0490
Simon Beardsmore – 0203 470 0484
Sergey Raevskiy – 0203 470 0474
Richard Parlons – 0203 470 0472
Abigail Wayne – 0203 470 0534
Rob Rees – 0203 470 0535
Prince Frederick House
35-39 Maddox Street London
*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.
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, Antimony