Author stories Proactiveinvestors Author stories RSS feed en Tue, 22 Aug 2017 02:45:51 +0100 Genera CMS (Proactiveinvestors) (Proactiveinvestors) In the news: Base Resources FROM THE BROKING DESK


In a quick update to our piece yesterday, it seems the opposition’s call for a general strike in Kenya was largely ignored. The defeated presidential candidate, Raila Odinga, had hoped to continue to generate support for his claims that some of the voting in the recent election was rigged; foreign observers declared the poll free and fair. Thus, things seem to be calming down, and it looks like Uhuru Kenyatta will continue to head the government with an increased majority.

This is positive stuff for Base Resources*†. The company has an excellent relationship with the government, particularly with Mining Minister Dan Kazungu. We’ll be marketing Tim Carstens of Base in London on Thursday 31 August and Friday 1 September.

Tim will be around after the company’s full-year FY17 results come out on 28 August. This should also be slightly before an expected resource update for Kwale Phase 2.

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 11:39:00 +0100
In The News - Dalradian Resources FROM THE BROKING DESK
We’ve released an introductory piece on Dalradian Resources, the TSX- and AIM-listed gold development and exploration company. Given that its Curraghinalt deposit in Northern Ireland is one of the world’s highest-grade, undeveloped gold projects, and it is the largest in the UK, we thought it about time that we took a closer look at progress to date and the outlook for the project. Jim Taylor’s document can be accessed here: Dalradian Resources — Introducing the UK’s Largest Gold Deposit, 1 August 2017.

Dalradian completed a positive feasibility study on the 100%-owned Curraghinalt Gold Project in December 2016. An updated study, due in 1Q18, should benefit from a probable increase in reserves as a result of a recent infill drilling programme and soon to be completed beneficiation test-work. Permitting is also a focus, with a planning application set to be submitted for review soon.

Resources at Curraghinalt currently contain 4.4Moz of gold. The feasibility study proposed narrow vein underground mining and a flotation and CIL processing route, defining a reserve of 1.4Moz grading 8.5 g/t, which is sufficient to support average gold production of 130,000oz pa for a mine life of 8.5 years. The project has attractive operating costs (AISC of US$674/oz) and moderate initial capital costs (US$192m, or US$142/oz produced); assuming a gold price of US$1,250/oz, these combine to produce an NPV5 of US$301m and an attractive IRR of 24%.

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 09:11:00 +0100
In the news: KEFI Minerals, Neodymium & Praseodymium (Nd/Pr) & Peak Resources FROM THE BROKING DESK

KEFI Minerals (LON:KEFI)† has highlighted the Ethiopian parliament’s vote to end the country’s ten-month state of emergency. This began in October 2016 in response to some violent anti-government protests. While this is obviously a positive development for the country, whether a complete peace can be maintained without the emergency measures remains to be seen. The website Human Rights Watch has reported that the changes the protesters were calling for have not been fully addressed and that thousands of people detained during the state of emergency have yet to be released. We’ll keep a close watch on this.

Should stability be maintained, we would look to adjust our risk assessment of KEFI. An improved operating environment would lower the development/operational risk, and should also translate to a lower cost of capital for a potential equity raise. For reference, our target price of 9p (the current price is 5.075p) assumes an equity raise of 490m shares at a price of 5p/share for US$32m, representing 147% of the outstanding share capital. For full details on this please see KEFI Minerals — Tulu Kapi Financing Package Takes Shape, 17 July 2017.

Elsewhere, the world’s press is getting very excited about the first deliveries of the new Tesla Model 3. The Model 3 is regarded as a ‘step change’ for electric cars and the choice of name has clearly been carefully considered. The Model 3 is set to be for Tesla — and the wider automotive industry — what the Model T was for Ford. This is the car that is designed to move Tesla into the mainstream. With its previous Models S and X, Tesla has been a niche producer of around 70,000 rather expensive cars, which have basically only been available to affluent early adopters. The Model 3 will increase production up to around the 500,000 level, and it is priced to compete with rivals such as the BMW 3-Series, the Audi A4 and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. OK, so it’s still not exactly a ‘people’s car’, but it is affordable on a monthly PCP scheme.

As regular readers of this column can probably imagine, I have some doubts about this. It’s a competitive marketplace, so while Tesla owners — like early Apple iPhone users — are very excited about their new toy, going mainstream means production must be millimetre perfect each time or buyers may drift away. Also, production numbers remain pretty low, and this will have to be addressed in the near term. Tesla has never turned a profit (it’s just gone to the bond markets to borrow some more dosh), and it’s burning through cash at an alarming rate. Its scale is nowhere close to its immediate rivals Ford and GM, yet it has a larger market cap. What’s that about? Finally, while Tesla has made electric cars sexy, everyone else is catching up; Volvo has just announced that it will only offer fully electric and hybrid cars by 2019. Everyone is going down this route, and they’ll need to. Recent announcements by the French and UK governments that fossil fuel cars will be outlawed by 2040 tell us all we need to know. The reality is that the tipping point for electric cars will come well before that.

What’s most interesting to us about all this is the motors. The Model 3 will have a 258-horsepower AC 3-phase permanent magnet motor. And what magic metals will these motors use? Well, that would be neodymium and praseodymium (or Nd/Pr for short), and this is a pretty strong signal for what all these types of cars will use going forward. We looked at Nd/Pr in an issue of The Alchemist last year; the prices of these metals have rocketed up some 60% over the last 12 months, and this announcement can only help them further. This is also excellent news for Peak Resources (ASX:PEK), which is developing the Ngualla Rare Earths Project in Tanzania.

One-year Neodymium Oxide Price (Shanghai)

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 08:07:00 +0100
In the news: Base Resources FROM THE BROKING DESK

We will be marketing Tim Carstens of Base Resources (LON:BSE) *† in London on Thursday 31 August and Friday 1 September. This will be on the back of the company’s next full quarterly results release, which is due on 28 August, and shortly before the expected resource update for Kwale Phase 2 (KP2). This is the exploration area on the South Dune extension that should increase mine life at the Kwale Project. Our estimates are that a one-year mine life extension could add as much as US$50m to the NPV of Kwale, with a corresponding 13% increase to our A$0.49 price target.

Cash generation is front and centre of the Base story. This was shown in its 4QFY17 update in July, where net debt fell US$24m to US$99m. This compares with net debt of US$188m and US$151m at the ends of 4QFY15 and 4QFY16 respectively. We project that the company will have a net cash position by the end of FY19. For full details on this, please see Base Resources — June Quarterly Activities Report, 13 July 2017.

Stronger mineral sands pricing through 2016 and 2017 has plateaued somewhat. Ilmenite is now trading around the US$160/t level after peaking at US$200/t in April 2017. Tim Carstens has commented that this is a good level as it discourages incremental production from countries like Vietnam and China coming onto the market. Also, this is being offset to a degree by higher rutile prices; these have been as much as US$100/t this quarter, and western pigment producers are pushing through price rises to their customers. Tim described pricing to me now as “balanced and sustainable”.

The Kenyan elections have overshadowed the stock price over the summer. On the face of it, the elections progressed well, with an increased majority for the government of Uhuru Kenyatta. However, the opposition, led by presidential candidate Raila Odinga, is claiming that the electronic voting IT system was hacked, a claim that has led to sporadic violence in some of the major towns and cities, as well as a call for strikes. These claims have been vehemently denied by the head of the Kenyan electoral commission and international observers; former US Secretary of State John Kerry publicly stated that he was happy with the voting process. The situation is tense as the widespread rioting and loss of life that marred the elections ten years ago are fresh in people’s minds, although the election of four years ago passed without any major incident. Odinga has now contested four presidential elections unsuccessfully and a number of his coalition partners were not standing with him when he called for a general strike, so it could be that support for him is draining.

Another Kenyatta government is good news for Base, and the hope is that Mining Minister Dan Kazungu stays in his position. Tim has an excellent relationship with Kazungu and Kenya has been increasingly vocal in wanting to attract more mining investment into the country.

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 09:56:00 +0100
In the news: Metminco Metminco*†

ASX:MNC LON:MNC | A¢5.0 | US$5m | Speculative Buy

2Q17 Report —Miraflores Feasibility Study On Track for Completion in 3Q17

Metminco’s June quarterly report provided an update on progress towards the completion of the feasibility study at its 100%-owned Miraflores Gold Project in Colombia. The study was reported to be 70% complete. The current project milestones include:

• 3Q17 — Completion of Miraflores feasibility study

• October 2017 — Completion of baseline monitoring for the Environmental Licence (EIA)

• End-2017 — Submission of EIA application

The company also reported that the final mining report had been received and that life-of-mine operating costs were 19% lower than in previous studies, mainly due to changes to development and backfilling requirements. Also, the final metallurgical report has been received, confirming previous work and reporting recoveries of 93%.

COMMENT: We believe that the completed feasibility study has the potential to firm up the value proposition at Miraflores. We continue to recommend Metminco as a Speculative Buy.

Miraflores is 100%-owned, subject to A$13m of deferred acquisition payments — Metminco acquired Miraflores from RMB in May 2016 for 8m shares and A$0.5m in cash. Further deferred cash payments totalling A$7m were due over four years (with A$1m paid in June 2017 and A$1m due in 2018, A$3m in 2019 and A$2m in 2020). A royalty of up to A$7m is also payable from project cashflow.

Miraflores scoping study of September 2016 delivered an NPV8 of US$73m and an IRR of 26% at a gold price of US$1,300/oz — In September 2016 SRK completed an updated scoping study for an underground-only mining operation, with a mining schedule containing 451,000oz at a grade of 3.5 g/t. The operation was planned with steady-state production of 50,000oz pa and a nine-year mine life for total recovered gold production of 414,000oz. Underground mining using longhole stoping with backfill was planned in conjunction with a gravity concentration, flotation and cyanidation processing route. Initial capex was US$81m, while cash costs and AISC were US$555/oz and US$648/oz, respectively. At a gold price of US$1,300/oz, the NPV8 was US$73m and the IRR was 26%.

Feasibility study to be completed during 3Q17 — The company commenced a feasibility study work programme in November 2016, which is now 70% complete. Positively, the company has received the final mining study from Ausenco, which estimates that life-of-mine mining costs will be 19% lower than those in previous studies owing to the use of less backfill and less development.

Permitting and associated approvals key to timeline — The company plans to submit the EIA for approval by the regional environmental authority by the end of this year. The process includes: approval of the feasibility study and the Terms of Reference; and the submission of the completed environmental baseline studies, the approved development plan and the Social and Environmental Management Plan (particularly focused on the relocation of up to 70 homes and the issue of illegal miners). It also incorporates the process of consultation and assessment of the impact of the project that forms the project’s Social Licence. The project’s design includes underground mining and dry stacked tailings, limiting the surface footprint of the project, a factor that is hoped will speed the EIA approval process.

Net cash at end of June of was A$6.4m — During the quarter the company received US$5m proceeds from the sale of its 49% stake in the Los Calatos Copper Project in Peru.

Tue, 01 Aug 2017 10:35:00 +0100
In the news: The Alchemist FROM THE BROKING DESK

We’ve put out our latest edition of The Alchemist, looking at the strength of the Australian dollar. This short piece looks at a currency near a two-year high (at US$0.797/A$). While this has largely been put down to Australian macroeconomic and global factors (eg, Australian unemployment is near its lowest point in 3.5 years and the more dovish interest rate policy from the US Federal Reserve), in commodity-based terms this strength looks well supported. We feel that it’s likely to continue.

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 09:20:00 +0100
In the news: KEFI Minerals FROM THE BROKING DESK

There’s been some excellent news out on KEFI Minerals (LON:KEFI). Financing is near for the construction of its Tulu Kapi Gold Project in Ethiopia. KEFI has agreed innovative, conditional arrangements for the provision of US$155m of its estimated financing requirement of US$193m. On-site infrastructure will be funded by an SPV that will raise US$135m through debentures, with construction of the project through a fixed-price contract with the construction experts Lycopodium. Off-site infrastructure to a value of US$20m will be provided by the Ethiopian Government.

Tulu Kapi is an attractive gold development project, with planned production of 980,000oz over a ten-year mine life at LoM average AISC of US$779/oz. The company just announced an updated DFS in May. Reserves at Tulu Kapi stand at 1.05Moz, grading 2.1 g/t. This conventional open pit and CIL-based project is expected to have a competitive operating cost structure. Construction capex is estimated at US$161m, of which US$16m is deferred for a year, resulting in net initial capex of US$145m. The total funding requirement of US$193m includes US$15m of corporate working capital and US$33m relating mainly to rolled-up interest during the construction period. We’ll have a full piece out after we’ve gone over the full announcement.

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 09:52:00 +0100
In the news: KEFI Minerals & Base Resources FROM THE BROKING DESK

Jim Taylor has put out KEFI Minerals† (LON:KEFI) — Tulu Kapi Financing Package Takes Shape, 17 July 2017. KEFI is continuing to make progress towards the financing and construction of its Tulu Kapi Gold Project in Ethiopia. Having announced the results of an updated DFS in late May, KEFI has agreed innovative, conditional arrangements for the provision of US$155m of its estimated financing requirement of US$193m. On-site infrastructure is to be funded by an SPV that will raise US$135m through debentures, with construction of the project via a fixed-price contract with the experts Lycopodium. Off-site infrastructure to the value of US$20m is to be provided by the Ethiopian Government.

We reiterated our Buy rating and have revised our target price up from 8.8p to 9.0p. We are adjusting our target price after assuming that the company raises US$32m in equity at a price of £0.05/share, resulting in the issuance of 490m shares, equivalent to 147% of the outstanding share capital. We note that, should the company secure a working capital facility for the project, the equity issue could be significantly reduced, leading to a lower level of dilution. The stock is currently trading at a P/NAV of 0.5x, a significant discount to its peer group. We believe it offers a re-rating opportunity once the Ethiopian state of emergency has ended and the finance package has been completed.


Base Resources*†

ASX:BSE | A$0.26 | US$152m | Buy | TP : A$0.49

Repays Taurus Debt Facility

Base Resources has repaid the final US$11.8m of the US$20m debt facility provided by Taurus Funds Management, one of its major shareholders. The repayment is ahead of the scheduled repayment date, which was at the end of September.

COMMENT: The repayment exemplifies the significant improvement in the company’s finances over the past year. It also increases financial flexibility, removing the 75% sweep of cash at the corporate level to repay this facility. The 50% cash sweep at the project level, to pay down the project debt, remains in place.

The US$20m Taurus loan was put in place in December 2014 to satisfy the requirement of the rescheduling of the project loan to provide US$15m of additional liquidity to the project, with the remaining US$5m providing corporate liquidity. This satisfying news continues the positive developments in debt reduction, with a decrease in net debt from US$188m at the end of FY15 to US$151m at June 2016, followed by a US$52m decline in FY17 to US$99m (announced last week). With the continuing positive outlook for mineral sands pricing, we expect a similarly strong cashflow performance from Kwale in FY18, with forecast net debt set to fall to US$50m by June 2018.

We maintain our Buy rating and our target price (TP) of A$0.49. Our TP is based on long-term prices of US$180/t for ilmenite, US$1,050/t for rutile and US$1,150/t for zircon. Using a flat price deck based on estimated prices from last quarter (US$175/t, US$750/t and US$890/t respectively), our target price would be A$0.36/share, some 38% above the current share price.

Near-term upsides include ongoing exploration. We anticipate that drilling on the extensions of the South Dune to the south-west and its eastern edge could have added 1.0-1.5 years to the mine life. For reference, we estimate that a one-year mine life extension would add US$50m to the NPV for Kwale, and lead to a 13% increase to our target price (net). Base currently expects to publish a resource update in the coming quarter; this will serve as a basis for extending the mine life. Beyond these near-term targets, the NE Sector has shown high-grade drill results, but remains largely untested. Drilling of the NE Sector was put on hold earlier this year; the company now expects to resume exploration at the start of 2018.

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 08:58:00 +0100
In the news: Metal Tiger FROM THE BROKING DESK

RFC Ambrian is pleased to announce that we have been appointed Nomad and Broker to Metal Tiger plc*† (MTR LN) with immediate effect. This is a really interesting company that is developing a number of projects around the world. It’s growing a portfolio of investments in the resource space and runs an asset trading desk that covers equities, warrants and royalty trading. The group is headed up by CEO Michael McNeilly, Non-executive Chairman Charles Hall, FD Keith Springall and Technical Director Geoff McIntyre. Non-executive Directors are Geoff McIntyre, Terry Grammer and Mark Potter, founder and partner of Sita Capital Partners LLP and a former Director and CIO for the Anglo Pacific Group and Audley Capital.

The company’s flagship project is its 30% stake in the ‘T3’ high-grade copper/silver deposit in Botswana. T3 had a maiden JORC mineral resource estimate released in September 2016 of 28.36Mt @ 1.24% Cu and 15.7 g/t Ag, containing around 350,200t of copper and 14.27Moz of silver, with a high-grade core of 8.48Mt @ 2.16% Cu and 30.6 g/t Ag. Work to build on the scoping study announced in December 2016 and progress to a PFS is underway.

Metal Tiger has been active in Thailand since October 2014 after the acquisition of South East Asia Exploration and Mining (SEAM). It’s developing a pipeline of mining and exploration projects here, including the Boh Yai and Song Toh silver-lead-zinc mines and processing plants in Kanchanaburi Province. In Spain, the group is developing the Logrosan Tungsten Gold Exploration Project in a joint venture with Finnish company Mineral Exploration Network.

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 09:35:00 +0100
In the news: Weatherly International WEATHERLY INTERNATIONAL*†

LON:WTI | 0.4p | US$5.6m | Speculative Buy

Guidance Met in June 2017 Quarterly Results

Weatherly International has announced its latest quarterly numbers. Copper production for the quarter was 3,386t at a C1 cost of US$6,344/t, bringing FY17 total production to 14,759t at a C1 cost of US$5,288/t. The FY17 total production and C1 costs were in line with the most recently issued guidance. Higher volumes mined and stacked, along with lower output, have driven C1 costs 7% higher (from a historical high of US$5,907/t in the prior quarter). Over the four quarters prior to March 2017, C1 costs averaged US$4,353/t.

To accelerate construction of the extended heap leach pad, Orion has provided Weatherly with a US$10m facility at a rate of Libor +2%, due 28 February 2020, which will also be used for operating costs and general working capital requirements at Tschudi. This facility was announced previously, although the terms have now been revealed.

COMMENT: Operating costs and recovery rates reveal an increasingly difficult situation at Tschudi as it transitions through a ~20m zone of mixed ore before reaching sulphides. With C1 costs at US$6,344/t and an estimated average price received of US$5,526/t in the June 2017 quarter, Weatherly appears to have realised an operating loss in the quarter. The new US$10m facility is thus needed to cover operating expenses and working capital, along with the extended heap leach pad area. Furthermore, at current production rates, Weatherly’s sales prices are fully hedged for the next two quarters when including Orion’s option on volume, so even a rising copper price will not help in the near term. The majority of hedged volume going forward is at a price of US$6,000/t, which is below C1 costs of US$6,344/t in the most recent quarter.

Given the debt situation and higher operating costs, Weatherly is fully dependent on its relationship with Orion. This is likely to remain the case until both copper prices and operating results improve. Orion has regularly been proven to be a supportive partner, and the latest financing reaffirms this view.

We reiterate our Speculative Buy rating on the basis that Weatherly offers significant operational and financial leverage to the price of copper. We do not consider it appropriate to have a target price at this time given the ongoing support needed from Orion.


Construction of the extended heap leach pad is ongoing — The extended heap leach pad is meant to provide additional capacity to allow for the longer-than-expected leach times of mixed ore. It remains unclear why the leach time has exceeded expectations, but the company has increased stacking rates to compensate. In the June 2017 quarter, total material mined, ore tonnes stacked and ore stacked grade were all significantly above the March 2017 quarter (18%, 29% and 15%, respectively), but copper cathode production increased by only 5%. While this discrepancy is at least partially explained by the long leach time of mixed ore, we note that there may also be an issue with recovery rates given the performance over the past few quarters.

Hedging and Orion option constrain upside exposure — In the six months ending 30 June 2017, 3,400t were hedged at US$5,077/t, 1,650t at US$6,000/t and the balance of production (we assume) was captured by Orion’s option to receive 3,500t at US$5,000/t. We estimate that the average price received in the June 2017 quarter was US$5,526/t. Beyond 30 June 2017, there are hedges of 550t/month at US$6,000/t until December 2017, and an additional 450t at US$5,102/t that we assume will be fulfilled in the coming quarter. Furthermore, Orion has an option on 700t/month at US$6,000/t until the end of April 2018. Combined, this means hedged production of 4,200t in the September 2017 quarter, 3,750t in the December 2017 quarter, 2,100t in the March 2018 quarter and 700t in the June 2018 quarter. With further debt rescheduling expected in August, we expect that any remaining unhedged production will either be hedged or covered by a new option for Orion.

Support from Orion continues to be necessary — Weatherly has again announced that it does not expect to be able to meet its debt obligations if copper prices remain at current levels. On several occasions Orion has agreed to defer debt repayments and has just finalised the terms of a US$10m facility that Weatherly will use to accelerate the building of the leach pads, and fund operating costs and general working capital at Tschudi. The company is expected to remain dependent on Orion until operating results and copper prices improve. For reference, the mixed ore extends for approximately 20m.

Debt outstanding was US$110m at 31 December 2016 — The repayment due 31 August 2017 under Facilities C & D is US$8.6m. We estimate that the first repayment under Facility B due 31 August 2017 to be approximately US$11.8m. The first payment under Facility B was originally due 30 November 2015, but was recently rescheduled to 31 August 2017.


Fri, 28 Jul 2017 14:19:00 +0100