Proactive weekly mining highlights: Bluebird Merchant Ventures, Metal Tiger, Chaarat Gold...

A round-up of the week's news from small-cap mining and exploration companies

Bluebird Merchant has met spending requirements for its Kochang Mine joint venture

Bluebird Merchant Ventures PLC (LON:BMV) has made the required expenditure to farm-in to the Kochang mine in South Korea.

Under the terms of the agreement, Bluebird was required to inject A$250,000 into partner Southern Gold and spend a minimum of US$250,000 on a feasibility report into reopening the mine.

Bluebird said it will present the report to Southern Gold (ASX:SAU) within the next five weeks when metallurgical test work, the final part of the study, has been completed.

The junior added it has now found the bottom of the old silver mine that was worked at the site until 1975 and an initial assessment indicates accessible open mining areas adjoining the gold workings.

Metal Tiger PLC (LON:MTR) reported that phase one of the exploration programme at the Kalahari Metals Limited (KML) copper-silver project has been completed on schedule.

The AIM-listed investment company said it has increased its stake in KML to 34% from 18% after exercising an option to do so at a cost of US$500,000 in cash, Metal Tiger has options to raise its stake to 50%.

The increased stake size was revealed in an update by Metal Tiger on the two KML projects: Okavango and Ngami.

Metal Tiger said drilling at the Ngami Copper Project is to be allowed to proceed under an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) as agreed with the Botswana Department of Environmental Affairs. The timeframe to complete the EMP process is normally four months.

Higher vanadium and coal prices again boosted mining royalty specialist Anglo Pacific Group PLC(LON:APF).

Income rose 27% to £12.1mln in the three months to September for a nine-month total of £32.9mln (£28.9m).

Brazil-based vanadium producer Maracás Menchen was the best performer, lifting its contribution by 146% to £1.4mln as the price of the steel additive soared.

Australian coking coal asset Kestrel improved by 26% as coal prices increased, while a special dividend meant a £0.9mln contribution from the recent acquisition of Labrador Iron.

Chaarat Gold Holdings Limited (LON:CGH) has withdrawn its proposed offer to buy Centerra Gold, the owner of the Kumtor mine in Kyrgyzstan.

Back in the spring, Chaarat approached Centerra about acquiring Kumtor, one of the largest gold mines in Central Asia which produced 500,000 ounces of the precious metal last year.

After being knocked back, the AIM-quoted company returned with an offer to buy out Centerra as a whole, rather than just the asset.

Despite Chaarat proposing a bid of at least C$7.40 for each Centerra share, well above the current share price of C$4.95, and providing details of its funding, the Canadian miner refused to engage in any discussions.

“The board is convinced that Chaarat is a more natural long-term owner of the Kumtor mine,” read a statement on Wednesday.

The company also separately announced that it had entered into a special purchase agreement with the Russian mining giant Polymetal for the acquisition of Kapan Mining and Processing Company which owns a polymetallic mine in Armenia.

The consideration of US$55 million, subject to net debt, working capital and other adjustments, is payable in cash, save that US$5 million of the consideration may be satisfied in convertible notes.

Sunrise Resources PLC (LON:SRES) has completed commercial trials on bulk samples taken from the CS pozzolan-perlite project in Nevada.

Two tons of raw perlite have been successfully expanded in a commercial production furnace to produce horticultural grade perlite suitable for the cannabis industry.

And 100 tons of pozzolan has been ground in a commercial scale production mill and tested positive for compliance with industry standards for natural pozzolan.

Sunrise has now also completed its initial three phase, 15-year mine plan for the CS project.

Rainbow Rare Earths LTD (LON:RBW) exported 350 tonnes of rare-earths concentrate in the three months to 30 September 2018, an increase of 27%.

The grade per tonne of concentrate sold and exported ran at a very healthy 59% total rare earth elements, confirming once again the status of the company’s Gakara mine in Burundi as one of the highest grade rare earth projects anywhere in the world.

"A lot of positive progress has been made in the quarter, particularly with regard to an increase in exported tonnes and total ore mined from Gasagwe, the development of our next mining area at Murambi and the conclusion of the drilling programme at Kiyenzi which means we are still on track to deliver our maiden JORC Resource before the end of 2018,” said Martin Eales, Rainbow’s chief executive.

Greatland Gold PLC (LON:GGP), has identified a large, buried geophysical target at the Saddle Reefs prospect, on its Black Hills licence.

The body lies subparallel to the strike of gold mineralisation identified at the surface.

Greatland said high-quality induced polarisation (IP) data were collected and used to generate three-dimensional (3D) inversion models and that results have outlined a large, coherent conductive body over 1,000 metres (m) of the strike, spatially coincident with gold mineralisation identified at the surface.

Firestone Diamonds PLC (LON:FDI) said its majority-owned Liqhobong Diamond Mine in Lesotho had a strong start to the second quarter after selling its third most valuable stone to date. 

In the second sale of the 2019 financial year, the diamond miner sold a total of 102,835 carats for US$8.2mln on October 26.

Firestone sold a 68-carat white diamond, the third most valuable stone sold to date for just under US$10mln, and a 20-carat yellow diamond. It also recovered a 326-carat near-gem diamond - the largest to date at Liqhobong.

In the first quarter ended September 30, 194,206 carats were sold for US$13.5mln in the first sale of the 2019 fiscal year, compared to 261,985 carats for US$18.6mln in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Horizonte Minerals Plc (LON:HZM) has revealed the results of a feasibility study at the Araguaia nickel project in Brazil's Pará State.

The study shows that over a 28-year mine life Araguaia will generate US$1.6bn in cash flows, with the potential to go even beyond that.

The feasibility study worked to a design that allows for future construction of a second rotary kiln electric furnace process line, with the potential to double production capacity from 14,500 tonnes per year nickel up to 29,000 tonnes.

The study showed Araguaia to have a post-tax net present value of US$401mln and an internal rate of return of 20.1%.


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