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Tri-Star shines bright as it awaits first antimony ingot from Oman

Some of the main news-driven risers and fallers in London on Monday…

SPMP antimony roaster
SPMP is the first antimony roaster outside of China in 30 years

Shares in minerals processing firm Tri-Star Resources PLC (LON:TSTR) were shining bright on a gloomy Monday in London.

The AIM company told investors that the casting of the first ingot of pure antimony metal at its 40% owned Strategic & Precious Metals Processing roaster in Sohar, Oman is “Imminent”. Shares rose 9% to 55.5p in anticipation.

SPMP is the first antimony roaster outside of China in 30 years and will be responsible for one-fifth of the world’s antimony production once it is fully up and running.

Antimony is a minor metal used primarily in flame retardants, although it is also combined with lead to boost the latter’s strength. Another use is to help get bubbles out of glass – mostly TV screens.

BHP ‘looks expensive’, says JP Morgan

BHP Billiton plc (LON:BHP) shares look expensive after outperforming Rio Tinto PLC (LON:RIO) by 12% since January 2018, according to heavyweight investment bank JP Morgan Cazenove.

Analysts downgraded BHP to ‘underweight’ from ‘equal weight’ with a target price of 1,980p per share, saying BHP is now the only diversified miner not trading at a substantial discount versus its late cycle average multiple.

In reaction, shares in BHP fell 0.7% to 1,711p come Monday afternoon, although they been as low as 1,690p earlier in the session.

The broker otherwise remains positive on the investment case for UK diversified miners due to substantial discounts compared to historical multiples and the market.

Press reports weigh on Domino’s

Domino’s Pizza Group PLC (LON:DOM) has come under pressure on Monday following weekend reports that it could be facing a rebellion from franchisees.

The Sunday Times claimed that 90% of the FTSE 250 group’s franchisees will refuse to open any new stores unless they are given a greater share of the profits.

Analysts at Liberum said this put a hole in Domino’s plans to open 600 new stores.

“If nothing changes can this target be met and what will it take for the management team to start negotiating positively with franchisees? ...This situation is clearly unhealthy and hence risks in the UK are looming large, losses are rising internationally and debt is at an all-time high.”

They added: “In our view it is just a matter of time until this all comes to a head and a reset is required.”

Shares dropped 2.2% to 256.1p, above Liberum’s new price target of 210p, which it has cut from 250p.

Firestone loses its sparkle as production slips at Liqhobong

Firestone Diamonds PLC (LON:FDI) hasn’t exactly sparkled over this past year – its shares are down almost 70% since this time in 2018 – but any shine it did have left was almost all gone after today’s update.

Unscheduled repair work on one of the scrubbers at its Liqhobong diamond mine in Lesotho meant production fell to 224,000 carats in the final three months of 2018 – its second quarter – from 241,000 carats in the same period a year earlier.

Things haven’t got much better at the start of the current quarter either, with 2019 off to a “slower start” due to equipment failure. Those issues will almost certainly affect third-quarter production, Firestone added. Shares fell 9.6% to 2.6p.

Shell rises as oil prices hit two-month highs

Royal Dutch Shell PLC (LON:RDSB) was the top riser on the FTSE 100, climbing more than 2.2% to 2,438p as its rally over the past few sessions continues.

Rising oil prices were responsible this time, with the price of a barrel of Brent crude hitting US$63.40 earlier this morning – its highest level since the beginning on December.

Opec-led supply cuts and US sanctions against Venezuela’s petroleum industry have served to boost prices of the black stuff.

Chaarat shines on its return from suspension

Chaarat Gold Holdings Limited (LON:CGH) rose 5.3% to 28.6p as trading in its shares resumed on AIM following a brief temporary suspension.

The gold producer suspended its shares last week while it completed its acquisition of the Kapan polymetallic mine in Armenia from FTSE 250-listed Polymetal International PLC (LON:POLY) for US$55mln.

The acquisition of Kapan is an important step for Chaarat as it looks to achieve its goal of building a larger scale gold company with an initial focus on Central Asia and the Former Soviet Union.

The deal takes Chaarat’s anticipated gold equivalent production to 65,000 ounces per year.

Transense’s tech to be installed in more than 6,000 US Army helicopters

Transense Technologies PLC (LON:TRT) shares soared on Monday morning after the sensor maker confirmed its technology will be installed in more than 6,000 US Army helicopters.

GE Aviation, which licenses Transense’s Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) sensors, has been selected by US officials to start replacing aging T901 engines installed in Apache and Black Hawk choppers.

“We are very proud of the involvement of Transense's SAW technology in this engine and look forward to working with GE in the future,” said chief executive Graham Storey.

Angus Energy’s Brockham update underwhelms

Junior oil and gas explorer Angus Energy Plc (LON:ANGS) was the biggest faller in London after an update from its Brockham prospect failed to live up to the hype.

Angus, which owns a majority stake in the project, said it hit water – not oil – during flow testing at the BRX4Z well.

The company, which recently appointed Lord Lucan as its interim managing director, also bemoaned delays in December and early January due to component failures outside of its control.

“The water zone is obviously an unexpected hindrance but, with natural flow to surface and evidence of oil, we remain quietly optimistic of achieving commercial success at Brockham,” said Lucan.

Clearly investors weren’t sharing his optimism, with shares plunging 14% to 5.8p.

Trakm8 expects revenue slump this year

Trakm8 Holdings PLC (LON:TRAK) also headed lower after warning that sales will fall by as much as 35% this year.

The telematics and data supplier blamed continued delays with a number of orders in its Fleet business for the shortfall.

Still, Trakm8 bosses are expecting a profitable second half which should at least limit the bottom line damage.

That reassurance isn’t proving enough for shareholders though. Shares are down almost 10% to 28p.

Proactive news headlines:

Regenerative medical devices maker Tissue Regenix PLC (LON:TRX) remains on track to hit its target of breaking even by 2020 after revenues more than doubled last year. The company, which was spun out from the University of Leeds in 2006, saw revenue jump to £11.6mln in the 12 months ended 31 December 2018, up from £5.2mln a year earlier.

Avacta Group PLC (LON:AVCT) is set to ink an exclusive licensing agreement with US-listed Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA). The deal relates to the Affimer programme the two have been working on.

Mkango Resources Ltd (LON:MKA) has increased the mineral resource estimate at its Songwe Hill rare earths project in Malawi.

BATM Advanced Communications Limited (LON:BVC) had clinched a follow-on contract for its cyber communications technology from a government defence department.

A merger between two of the UK’s leading online video marketing firms has moved a step closer to completion after RhythmOne PLC (LON:RTHM) bosses gave their backing to the tie-up with Taptica International PLC (LON:TAP).

Circassia Pharmaceuticals PLC (LON:CIR) revealed that its partner, AIT Therapeutics Inc. has successfully completed a pre-submission meeting with the US FDA for the ventilator-compatible nitric oxide product AirNOvent.

CentralNic Group PLC (LON:CNIC) said it had delivered “strong” trading in 2018 as it issued an update including the integration of technology group KeyDrive. The internet domain services provider said trading for the year ended 31 December had been in line with market expectations with revenues expected to be around £42.5mln compared to £24.3mln the year before, while adjusted underlying earnings (EBITDA) were up to £6.7mln from £6.6mln.

Frontier IP Group Plc’s (LON:FIPP) portfolio firm, Amprologix, has won a £1.2mln UK government contract to accelerate the development of a new antibiotic to tackle antimicrobial resistant MRSA and other superbugs.

Hurricane Energy PLC (LON:HUR) will have to wait to complete the buoy hook-up operation as it makes the final, crucial preparations for its planned early production system on the Lancaster Field, in the waters west of Shetland. On Saturday (Feb 2) the pull in rope failed. There were no casualties and the buoy returned to its starting position and is not damaged.

Angus Energy Plc (LON:ANGS) remains ‘quietly optimistic’ over the potential of the Brockham prospect in Surrey even though the BRX4Z well flow test hit water. Angus is the majority owner-operator at Brockham, while Alba Mineral Resources PLC (LON:ALBA) has a 5% stake.

AfriTin Mining Limited (LON:ATM) has hailed the discovery of significant grades of lithium, in addition to tin, in pegmatites in the ML 133 License, located in the Nainais area of Nambia. The firm said recent test work indicates that the most abundant lithium-bearing mineral present is petalite, with lesser lithian-muscovite, montebrasite and cookeite.

ECR Minerals PLC (LON:ECR) will shortly commence drilling at the Black Cat prospect within the Bailieston gold project area in Victoria, Australia. This programme is in addition to the previously announced drilling which will be taking place at the Creswick gold project and the Blue Moon prospect at Bailieston.

Thor Mining PLC (LON:THR) has found extensive tungsten mineralisation in samples from the Samarkand deposit, one of thirteen deposits at Bonya in Northern Territory. Bonya is a 40/60% joint venture with Arafura Resources Limited ASX:ARU and sits adjacent to Thor’s Molyhil tungsten project.

IronRidge Resources Ltd (LON:IRR) is making good progress on its portfolio of gold projects in Côte d’Ivoire. An airborne geophysical survey has been completed over the Vavoua portfolio, where a significant shear zone that hosts 700,000 ounces Abujar project has now been defined over approximately 0 40 kilometres of strike.

Goldplat plc (LON:GDP) boosted production of gold equivalent ounces in the three months to December 2018 by 57% to 9,648 ounces.

Arc Minerals Ltd (LON:ARCM) has discovered several large new anomalies on the Zamsort copper-cobalt project in Zambia. The two most prospective are Cheyeza and Lumbeta.

Aminex PLC (LON:ARX) announced that John Bell, currently its senior independent non-executive director, has assumed the position of chairman from Keith Phair, who after nine years on the board has decided to retire as a non-executive director, both with immediate effect.

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