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Today's Market View - Chinese executive arrest spooks global markets

Today's Market View - Chinese executive arrest spooks global markets

SP Angel – Morning View – Thursday 06 12 18

Chinese executive arrest spooks global markets


MiFID II exempt information – see disclaimer below

AfriTin Mining (LON:ATM) – BUY – First blast at Uis tin mine

Ceres Power Holdings (LON:CWR) – Trading update - Bosch & Weichai collaboration fuels growth

Estrella Resources (ASX:ESR) – Spargoville delivers good nickel grades in maiden drill campaign

KEFI Minerals* (LON:KEFI) – Tulu Kapi update

Keras Resources* (LON:KRS) – Calidus reports high grade extensions at depth at Klondyke

Kodal Minerals* (LON:KOD) – Gold exploration joint venture update

Oriole Resources (LON:ORR) – Reverse circulation drilling underway at Dalafin

Strategic Minerals* (LON:SML) – Progress report on Leigh Creek Copper


Tesla’s China factory set to begin production late next year

  • In a bid to by-pass the growing US-China trade war, Tesla has expanded its global presence with a domestic Chinese factory.  
  • Land levelling is basically complete and construction is about to begin, with the factory expected to be put partially into operation in the second half of 2019, according to an official WeChat post from the government. The article described a visit by Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong and Vice Mayor Wu Qing.
  • In mid-October, Tesla officially acquired an 864,885m² plot in Shanghai's Lingang area for the electric car maker's first factory outside the U.S.
  • Producing in China, the world's largest market for electric vehicles, would allow Tesla to reduce costs significantly.
  • Tesla reckon the company is operating at a 55-60% cost disadvantage with a domestic Chinese peers due to ocean transport costs and tariffs.


Vanadium - Structure of electrolyte controls calcium-ion battery performance

  • Adding water into an electrolyte improves the function of vanadium oxide in batteries according to the research team at the Department of Electrical and Electronic Information Engineering, Toyohashi University of Technology.
  • Water is seen to induce a phenomenon that speeds up the conventionally slow reaction of calcium-ion batteries.
  • Results indicate that the phenomenon is caused by changes in the electrolyte structure.
  • The researchers believe that this discovery will greatly benefit the development of electrolytes for implementing calcium-ion batteries in the future.
  • Calcium-ion batteries are seen as a potential rival to lithium-ion batteries and may one day be cheaper to produce.
  • So far calcium-ion batteries are seen to work more slowly than lithium-ion batteries with overvoltage decreasing with the addition of water into the electrolyte.


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AIM Basic Resources







US – Markets are in a risk off mode with US equity futures trading lower with European and Asian stocks on course to give up post G20 gains.

  • Base metals and oil prices are off while the yen, Swiss franc and gold are generally rangebound.
  • News over Huawei CFO arrest hurt the sentiment only days after a reported breakthrough on trade between the US and China.
  • US Fed Beige Book report released yesterday showed fading optimism over growth prospects at US firms although most districts continued to report a modest expansion.


China – Huawei CFO was arrested in Canada following a US extradition request fuelling concerns over the sustainability of the latest trade conflict truce between Washington and Beijing.

  • Some US media reported that the extradition request was related to Iran sanctions, but the US justice department declined to comment.
  • Meng Wanzhou is the daughter of Ren Zhengfei, founder and CEO of the telecoms group, and is due to face a bail hearing on Friday.
  • Western government stepped up pressure on Huawei lately on the grounds of potential corporate espionage and cyber security risks.
  • The Company has repeatedly denied it had any connections to the Chinese security services or military, insisting it is a privately owned company.
  • But it has struggled to erase doubts because Mr Ren is a former People’s Liberation Army officer, FT reports.
  • US telecoms networks are not allowed to use Huawei equipment while Australia and New Zealand blocked Huawei and other Chinese suppliers on security grounds.


UK – The pound is trending lower as the Brexit vote in Parliament draws closer.

  • PM May argued today that lawmakers are facing three choices moving forwards including approving her deal, facing a no-deal Brexit or a second referendum.
  • “It’s clear that there are those in the House of Commons who want to frustrate Brexit… and overrun the vote of the British people and that’s not right,” may told BBC radio.
  • When asked about Plan B should the deal be voted down by parliament PM did not directly answer the question.
  • PMI reports released yesterday morning showed general business activity slowed to the lowest level in over two years last month driven by weak services sector.
  • Services sector growth eased to 28-month low in November on the back of subdued business and consumer spending while new orders growth dropped for the third month running.
  • “A contraction of service sector business activity in November was only avoided by firms working through backorders to an extent not exceeded since 2009… as such, unless demand revives, a slide into economic decline at the turn of the year is a distinct possibility,” Markit wrote in the report.


Germany – Factory orders climbed in October driven by demand in the rest of the Eurozone compensating for a fall in domestic orders.

  • The Economy Ministry highlighted a slowdown in new car registrations stemming from the introduction of stricter pollution standards, known as WLTP, continued to weigh on orders.
  • Factory Orders (%mom/yoy): 0.3/-2.7 v 0.1/-2.6 in September and -0.4/-3.1 forecast.


OPEC – Major oil producers are meeting in Vienna today to discuss potential output quotas cuts.



US$1.1333/eur vs 1.1328/eur yesterday  Yen 112.98/$ vs 113.04/$  SAr 13.873/$ vs 13.812/$  $1.272/gbp vs $1.271/gbp  0.723/aud vs 0.729/aud  CNY 6.885/$ vs 6.869/$


Commodity News

Precious metals:         

Gold US$1,236/oz vs US$1,234/oz yesterday

  • Gold regains the throne of the most valuable precious metal, as palladium retreats from record highs of $1,261.8/oz during Wednesday trading. Gold, the safe-haven investment, remains on track for the highest close since July as stocks dropped in Asia along with US equity futures, while a report from the Federal Reserve found waning optimism over prospects for growth in some regional districts.
  • The arrest of a senior China mainland executive is applying pressure on already strained US-China relations, creating anxiety in global markets. US equity futures lurched lower during early morning trading in Asia, with S&P500 Index contracts plunging as much as 1.9% on heavy volume.
  • U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May sends chief whip to negotiate with Brexit opposition after she suffered three Brexit defeats in key votes in Parliament.
  • Investors are watching shifts in the Treasury yield curve after portions of it inverted, something that’s historically been a warning sign about the economic outlook.
  • The crown may be handed back to palladium as the metal’s deficit is set to widen to around 1.4Moz into 2019, exacerbating the 1.2Moz shortfall this year, according to Metals Focus Ltd.
  • While supply is likely to remain broadly stable in 2019, consumption of palladium in autocatalysts could rise in-line with the production of electric vehicles amid the global effort to cut emissions for cleaner air, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. “The EU has a binding target of cutting emissions by at least 40% by 2030 from 1990 levels, while China aims for 26-28% cuts from 2005 levels,” BI wrote.

   Gold ETFs 68.8moz vs US$68.8moz yesterday

Platinum US$794/oz vs US$796/oz yesterday

Palladium US$1,220/oz vs US$1,240/oz yesterday

Silver US$14.39/oz vs US$14.43/oz yesterday


Base metals:   

Copper US$ 6,107/t vs US$6,146/t yesterday

Aluminium US$ 1,951/t vs US$1,968/t yesterday

Nickel US$ 11,035/t vs US$11,065/t yesterday

Zinc US$ 2,585/t vs US$2,589/t yesterday

Metals tumble as ‘shocking’ arrest applies downside pressure

  • Metals continue retreating, led by declines in nickel, zinc and copper amid US-China trade relations, while facing further strain after the arrest in Canada of a senior mainland executive. The arrest will complicate ties just as the sides seek to resolve differences on trade after progress at the G-20. “The timing and manner of this is shocking,” said Andrew Gilholm, director of North Asia analysis at Control Risks Group.
  • Huawei Technologies Co.’s chief financial officer, Wanzhou Meng, was arrested in Canada over potential violations of US sanctions on Iran, and may be extradited to the US. China protested the detention amid concern U.S.-China relations, already weighed down by the trade war, are set for further strain.
  • The arrest has sent waves of panic across global markets, having swung between optimism and skepticism about a US-China trade war truce through February. Most global equities are down, with miners and energy companies tumbling the most.
  • Zinc fell after a six-day advance, the longest winning run since January, even as the cash-three month spread hit a fresh high, signaling tightening immediate supply. The zinc spot prices traded at a $125/t premium to the three-month contract; the widest backwardation since 1997.

Lead US$ 1,976/t vs US$1,985/t yesterday

Tin US$ 19,000/t vs US$19,135/t yesterday



Oil US$60.9/bbl vs US$61.1/bbl yesterday - Opec and Russia set to defy Trump with oil output cut

  • Saudi Arabia and Russia are on the verge of agreeing on a deal to cut oil production, defying calls from US President Donald Trump to keep prices low.
  • Opec and allies led by Russia said in Vienna on Wednesday there was a need to reduce output to respond to the recent near 30% drop in benchmark crude prices.
  • But the group has not yet decided on how big the supply reduction will be, with Russia dragging its feet over how much it was willing to reduce supply.

Natural Gas US$4.443/mmbtu vs US$4.571/mmbtu yesterday

Uranium US$28.95/lb vs US$28.90/lb yesterday



Iron ore 62% Fe spot (cfr Tianjin) US$65.9/t vs US$65.5/t

Chinese steel rebar 25mm US$604.7/t vs US$606.7/t

Thermal coal (1st year forward cif ARA) US$85.5/t vs US$85.7/t

Coking coal futures Dalian Exchange US$200.4/t vs US$200.9/t



Cobalt LME 3m US$55,000/t vs US$55,000/t

China NdPr Rare Earth Oxide US$46,479/t vs US$46,590/t

China Lithium carbonate 99% US$10,167/t vs US$10,191/t

Tungsten APT European US$275-295/mtu vs US$275-295/mtu


Battery News

Alphabet's Wing delivery drones head to Europe

  • Alphabet, will test its drone delivery service in Finland next year, it has announced.
  • Helsinki will be the first European location for Wing, which has been testing drones in Australia.
  • Its aircraft will deliver packages weighing up to 1.5kg within minutes of an order being placed.
  • Wing said its drones had made 55,000 journeys in Australia, delivering items such as medicine, coffee and household goods.


Air travel initiative to take off with £150m investment

  • The government will commit up to £150m today to develop the next generation of electric aircraft, including advances such as vertical take-off and autonomous capability, and drones by 2025.
  • The “Future Flight” initiative will be announced in Bristol by Greg Clark and is intended to support the next generation of transport in Britain to tackle ground congestion and pollution in towns and cities.
  • The new package will include up to £125m to develop technology such as autonomous aircraft and a £15m investment in GKN Aerospace’s new Global Technology Centre in Bristol. This is expected to open in 2020 and will have funding of £17m from GKN itself.

See SP Angel research note on Electrifying Flight


Company News

AfriTin Mining (LON:ATM) – 3.2p, Mkt cap £17.4m – First blast at Uis tin mine


  • AfriTin reports the first blast and initial ore production at its UIS tin mine in Namibia. The ore is to be stockpiled “in anticipation of the completion of the Phase 1 pilot plant”.
  • The company explains that “Uis is formerly the world's largest hard-rock tin mine”. The phase 1 plant “is designed to process approximately 500,000 tonnes per annum producing approximately 60 tonnes of tin concentrate per month as part of Phase 1. Phase 2 will comprise a planned operation of a 3 million tonne per annum processing facility, producing approximately 5,000 tonnes per annum of tin concentrate.”
  • Speaking at an on-site ceremony to mark the first blast, CEO, Anthony Viljoen commented that “This marks the first blasting of ore since the mine closed down in 1991. We are very excited to start stockpiling ore and begin the production activities of Phase 1 in anticipation of the Pilot Processing Plant being completed”
  • Mr. Viljoen went on to express thanks for the “significant support shown by the Minister of Mines and Energy and his team, our local partners and communities which have provided the framework and planning to get us here”.

Conclusion: The start of ore production marks a milestone for the reopening of the Uis tin mine as work progresses to complete the Phase 1 pilot plant.


Ceres Power Holdings (LON:CWR) 170p, mkt cap £229m - Trading update - Bosch & Weichai collaboration fuels growth

  • Ceres Power forecast sales should be some up 125 % to £7m for the six months to December 2018 on last year.
  • Full year 2018 revenue is expected to more than double from £7m to £15m.  
  • A £9 million joint development agreement has been signed with Weichai that includes up to £30 million in stage payments under a License Agreement and has triggered a further £28m equity investment into Ceres Power, which is due to complete shortly. 
  • Once complete, Weichai's total investment in Ceres Power will be £48 million for a 20% stake.  
  • A second milestone payment of €5m has been received from Bosch, part of a £20m deal announced in August 2018.
  • The business is funded for growth and anticipates having £77m in cash by December close.
  • The Group announced in October 2018 that it was to invest in interim manufacturing capacity is to meet demand from six OEM partners that include Bosch, Cummins, Honda, Nissan, Weichei Power and one unnamed.
  • Future larger scale manufacture of Ceres fuel cell technology is expected to come from licence partners.
  • Ceres has been developing patented fuel cell technology over a number of years and is now finding applications in growth markets such as EV range extenders in automotive and data centre power.
  • The Company is winning mandates, achieving funding and clearly making firm step towards to commercialise its Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) technology.


Estrella Resources (ASX:ESR) A$0.02, mkt cap A$9.8m – Spargoville delivers good nickel grades in maiden drill campaign

  • Estrella Resources report a number of interesting drill results from the Spargoville project, 30km south west of Kambalda in W Australia.
  • The results include:
    • 15m at 10.45% Ni, 0.78% Cu, 0.20% Co, 0.87g/t Pb, and 1.15g/t Pt from 20m in KWC0004
    • 5m at 11.32% Ni, 0.54% Cu, 0.21% Co, 0.42g/t Pd, and 0.22g/t Pt from 61m in KWC0001
    • 3m at 12.90% Ni, 1.37% Cu, 0.29% Co, 1.86g/t Pd, and 0.67g/t Pt from 69m in KWC0002
  • The results are from drilling below the shallow 5A open pit floor and show mineralisation continuing at depth.
  • Most of the holes are drilled at a dip of 60 degrees, eg to drill below the open pit with high nickel grades generally some 60-70m down hole
  • This are nice results and confirm continuation of the near-vertical mineralised vein at Spargoville.



KEFI Minerals* (LON:KEFI) 1.4p, Mkt Cap £7.6m – Tulu Kapi update

  • The Company expanded the team on the ground at Tulu Kapi with latest additions of construction manager and senior site risk manager who are due to relocate to site next week.
  • Around 100 locally recruited personnel have already been hired for land clearing and the drilling rigs required to complete geotechnical surveys for the initial design of the foundations for the processing infrastructure and dam walls.
  • Final approvals from government agencies for triggering Tulu Kapi including agreement over final community resettlement plans, approvals of project financing details and the updated works programme are expected in the coming weeks.
  • Upon receipt of government consents, local investment syndicate ANS Mining Share Company will be releasing $9m of equity funds into the Company’s subsidiary TKGM which is expected towards the end of the month.
  • Additionally, ANS agreed to to commit to release an additional $9m at the end of Q1/19 to fund the planned Q2/19 programme.
  • The remainder of the $30-38m equity investment is expected to be completed together with full project financing.
  • The proposed $160m bond/lease project finance is moving forwards as the KEFI and TKGM boards approved the mandated bond/lease indicative terms and the other stipulation of the bond arranger.
  • The $160m funding package is expected to be completed in Q2/19.
  • Technical due diligence reports have been completed with detailed legal documentation due to be put forward after securing official consents confirming capital structure.

*SP Angel act as Nomad and Broker to KEFI Minerals


Keras Resources* (LON:KRS) 0.36p, Mkt Cap £8.2m – Calidus reports high grade extensions at depth at Klondyke

  • Keras Resources has drawn attention to the announcement from its 32% owned Calidus Resources of extensions to high grade mineralisation at depth on the company’s Klondyke deposit at Warrawoona in Western Australia.
  • Recent drilling results from the first 14 holes of a planned 22 hole diamond drill programme beneath the current indicated JORC resource of 9.9mt at an average grade of 2.06g/t gold for 654,000 contained oz have yielded a number of high grade intersections including:
    • 6.50m averaging 3.43g/t gold from 207.8m in hole 18KLDD014, with a 0.73m section averaging 14.48g/t gold; and
    • 6.97m averaging 4.33g/t gold from a depth of 223.85m in hole 18KDD015 including a 1m long sample averaging 12.24g/t which also intersected 0.5m at an average grade of 29.29g/t from 220.8m; and
    • 6.55m at an average grade of 3.42g/t gold from a depth of 221.65m in hole 18KLDD019, including 1m at an average grade of 7g/t; and
    • 12.65m at an average grade of 3.25g/t gold from a depth of 253.3m in hole 18KLDD022, including a single metre assaying 14.27g/t; as well as
    • A number of other narrower intersections of up to 2.4m width at similar or improved grades in holes 18KLDD12, 19,24,28,29 and 32
  • Gold mineralisation at the Klondyke deeps project is located within a sub-vertical shear zone and is understood to have been emplaced in two separate episodes with an earlier phase of low grade disseminated mineralisation forming a halo around a later coarse grained mineralisation thought to represent a partial re-mobilisation of the earlier mineralisation.
  • Assay results from the rest of the 22 hole programme at Klondyke deeps, comprising 2,185m of drilling have yet to be received.
  • In addition, the company reports drilling results from the recently identified St George Shear zone, approximately 150m north of the Klondyke structure, including:
    • 9m averaging 3.41g/t gold from a depth of 73m in hole 18SGRC026 which includes 1m averaging 14.27g/t; and
    • 11m averaging 2.25g/t from 3m in hole 18SGRC035; and
    • A number of other intersection of up to 4m width at grades between 2-7g/t gold
  • Commenting on the results, Calidus Resources’ Managing Director Dave Reeves said that “These results will be included in the resource upgrade due in Q1 next year”.
  • Russell Lamming CEO of Keras Resources said that “All indications from this drill programme, and previous programmes conducted at the wider Warrawoona Project over the past two years, point to this asset hosting a large and high-grade gold mineralised system.  Calidus has already proved-up a significant Resource of +700,000oz gold at Warrawoona, however we are confident that this has potential for substantial upside and we look forward to the publication of a Resource upgrade, due in Q1 2019, as we look to better define and translate the tangible value of this exciting gold asset for Keras investors”.

Conclusion: The continuing drilling at Warrawoona seems to be setting the stage for an increased mineral resource estimate when the update is available in Q1 2019. We look forward to the revised estimate.

*SP Angel act as Nomad and broker to Keras Resources


Kodal Minerals* (LON:KOD) 0.15p, Mkt Cap £11.1m – Gold exploration joint venture update

  • Kodal Minerals announce exploration updates for three 100% owned gold exploration licences held in central and northern Cote d’Ivoire.  Project development is in Joint Venture with Resolute, which is financing and managing the exploration programme, earning into a maximum 75% interest.
  • Nielle prospect exploration programme yields 27 Reverse Circulation (“RC”) drill holes for 3,117m completed, with results highlighting 8m @ 4.26g/t Au including 2m @ 11.62g/t Au and 26m @ 1.95g/t Au including 4m @ 5.51g/t Au.
  • The programme results confirm wide zones of gold mineralisation, with areas of high-grade gold up to 13.88g/t Au over 2m reported. Mineralisation is associated with shear zone and quartz veining with alteration in mafic volcanics and mineralisation in altered granitoid intrusion.
  • A strike length of 1,100m has been targeted by this initial reconnaissance RC drilling programme. Mineralisation remains open along strike and depth, with exploration expanding to delineate a greater resource. Exploration activity completed by Resolute consists of geological mapping, surface geochemical sampling, auger geochemistry, aircore drilling and this subject campaign of RC drilling.
  • Resolute has requested, and granted, an extension of term for the earn-in period of the Joint Venture to February 2021. The company are required to spend a minimum of US$3m on three concessions ((Tiebissou, Nielle and the application M’Bahiakro) to earn a 75% interest. Kodal will remain ‘free carried; through to completion of the Feasibility Study.

Conclusion: Preliminary assay results from the RC drill programme yields positive gold grades, and we look forward to understanding the scale of mineralisation as Resolute continue advancing exploration to earn in the 75% interest.

*SP Angel act as Financial Advisor and broker to Kodal Minerals. A partner at SP Angel acts as Chairman to the company.


Oriole Resources (LON:ORR) 0.36p, Mkt cap £2.5m – Reverse circulation drilling underway at Dalafin

  • Oriole Resources, formerly Stratex International, reports that, as part of its earn-in commitments, IAMGOLD has recently started a 3000m reverse circulation drilling programme at Dalfin in eastern Senegal.
  • The “majority of the holes will be drilled towards the north-west, at a 50m hole spacing and to a downhole depth of 100m (58 degree declination; true depth 85m).“
  • The company also reports that a second rig has been mobilised to Dalafin and that a 500m campaign of diamond-drilling is to start shortly in order “to validate the two best intersections previously reported by Oriole: MBDD-002 (9.6m grading 16.08g/t Au) in the southeast …  and MBRC-117 in the west which returned 15m grading 6.10g/t Au …. Holes will be drilled towards the east and to a depth of 100m and 150m (87m and 130m true depth) at each target, respectively”.
  • Both the RC and diamond drilling programmes are expected to be completed during 2018.

Conclusion: The IAMGOLD drilling form part of its commitment to spend US$4m over a four year period in order to earn a 51% interest in the project. IAMGOLD has the option to increase its interest to 70% by funding a further US$4m over the following 2 years. We look forward to the results of the initial RC and core drilling programmes.


Strategic Minerals* (LON:SML) 1.38p, Mkt Cap £19m – Progress report on Leigh Creek Copper

  • Strategic Minerals has provided an update on its work at the Leigh Creek copper project in South Australia including the results of two reverse-circulation drill holes beneath the existing Rosmann East open pit, further drilling between the Lorna Doone and Lynda pits and progress on refurbishment of the Mountain of Light processing plant which is expected to complete wet-commissioning during Q1 2019.
  • Drilling beneath the Rosmann East pit, which had previously been mined for oxide copper ore down to the water table, has confirmed that “that copper mineralisation has a significant depth extension below the current pit floor”.
  • The company has engaged a drilling contractor for a programme of 7 diamond drill holes aimed at providing “support for a Resource estimate in Q1 2019” and supporting a programme of metallurgical test-work for Rosmann East to “potentially provide an early feed into the Mountain of Light processing plant”.
  • Results from the two holes drilled to date at Rosmann East include:
    • A 50m long intersection from a depth of 12m in hole RERC-01 which averaged 0.43% copper; and
    • A 54m long intersection from a depth of 13m in hole RERC-02 which averaged 1.41% copper and ended in ore at a depth of 67m and included a higher grade portion over 22m averaging 2.58% copper between 27m and 49m depth.
  • We observe that the grades from hole RERC-02 are higher than the 0.69% copper average of the existing 3.6mt indicated and inferred resource published for Leigh Creek which may provide encouragement that a future resource update could show improved grade although we caution against extrapolating the results of a single drill-hole too far.
  • Sterilisation drilling between the two unmined deposits at Lynda and Lorna Doone has confirmed that the 500m interval between the two deposits is largely unmineralised and hence suitable for the future “infrastructure and processing plant … located between the two deposits”
  • The drilling between the two deposits has, however, “resulted in a greater understanding on the diapir location and hence the controls of copper mineralisation for the Lynda and Lorna Doone deposits” and consequently provides important geological data to guide future exploration.
  • Metallurgical test-work for the Paltridge North deposit is expected to see initial column testing during early December and a more detailed test programme during January 2019.
  • The company also reports that wet commissioning of the refurbished Mountain of Light processing plant is “scheduled to be completed in Q1 2019.  This refurbishment programme will provide a meaningful step towards recommencement of copper production, with the initial feedstock planned to be sourced from existing heap leach pads”.
  • Commenting on progress at Leigh Creek, Managing Director John Peters said that “. The prospect of the plant being ready ahead of schedule provides an opportunity to start copper production potentially earlier in the first half of 2019.”
  • Mr. Peters also highlighted “the excellent results from drilling below the historically mined Rosmann East pit”  which potentially could add significantly to the Resource base available to feed the Mountain of Light plant and noted that “To explore this possibility further, the Company has allocated funds for additional diamond drilling and metallurgical testwork, with the results expected to be available in Q1 2019.”

Conclusion: The planned re-opening of Leigh Creek is progressing on a number of fronts with recent drilling suggesting that there is potential to increase the existing resource base of 3.6mt (indicated and inferred) at an average grade of 0.69% copper. The recommissioning of the Mountain of Light processing plant is likely to be ahead of schedule due now in Q1 2019.


*SP Angel act as Nomad and broker to Strategic Minerals


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