SP Angel – Morning View – Monday 15 07 19
US trade war causes China growth to slow to 27-year low
Uranium rises as US section 232 uncertainty resolved
MiFID II exempt information – see disclaimer below
Anglo Asian Mining* (LON:AAZ) – Robust production and strong margins driven net cash to $15.4m in Q2/19
Shanta Gold (LON:SHG) – Resource update extends the life of mine to 2025
Strategic Minerals* (LON:SML) – Cobre sales and update
Tertiary Minerals* (LON:TYM) – new zones of zinc/silver mineralisation identified at Paymaster
Uranium rises as US section 232 uncertainty resolved
- Following submission of a petition for the DoC to undertake Section 232 trade law review, the Trump administration has decided to implement no new trade restrictions on uranium imports.
- As part of the decision, President Trump also announced the establishment of the United States Nuclear Fuel Working Group. The group will report back to the President within 90 days, and will examine the current state of US domestic nuclear fuel production to reinvigorate the entire nuclear fuel supply chain, consistent with United States national security and non-proliferation goals.
- Yellow Cake CEO, Andre Liebenberg adds “the Section 232 investigation has created an 18 month period of uncertainty which has severely restricted activity in the uranium market. We view the decision that no new trade restrictions will be implemented at this stage as positive, and likely to support a return to more normal levels of activity.”
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FTSE 350 Mining
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US – Steve Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary reckons US will run out of cash in September
- That is if Congress does not raise US borrowing authority (Bloomberg)
US – Tropical Storm Barry cost 1.38mmbbl/day in production with 73% of crude oil and 62% of natural gas production shut in the Gulf of Mexico.
- The gulf accounts to 16% of total US crude oil production and under 3% of natural gas production.
China – US trade war causes China growth to slow to 27-year low
- The US / China trade war is highlighting China’s dependence on US trade and susceptibility to tariff introductions.
- GDP growth slowed down to 6.2% in Q2 marking the lowest growth rate in 27 years versus 6.4% recorded in Q1 and 6-6.5% 2019 government target.
- Economic data released together with GDP numbers while beating estimates and rebounding from the previous month remain close to multi year lows.
- Fixed assets investments growth in H1/19 accelerated at private firms while eased back at government companies (+5.8%ytd v 5.5% forecast).
- Retail sales jumped in June with a large contribution from a little sustainable surge in auto sales driven by dealers’ promotion discounts (+8.4%ytd and 9.8%yoy in June alone).
- Industrial production growth was little changed in the first six months of the year (6.0%ytd v 5.9% through May and 6.0% forecast).
- The slowdown has been managed by the fiscal stimulus the government embarked on this year including tax cuts with c.2tn CNY and a quota of 2.15tn CNY for special bond issuance by local governments.
- Overall, markets seem to have welcomed the signs of some stabilization in the economic data with local equity markets up on Monday, the CNY slightly up, the A$ hitting its highest level in more than a week and copper prices up 1.04% this morning.
- China had previously committed to stimulate domestic demand to replace its reliance on US trade but failed to deliver.
- China’s massive Belt & Road infrastructure initiative is designed to help diversify Chinese trade flows but delays to the program have slowed this diversification.
Turkey – Erdogan pledged to significantly lower interest rate by the end of the year calling the 24% rate “unacceptable” with comments coming in only a week after the nation’s central bank was ousted.
- Inflation has been slowing since reaching +25% in H2/18 coming down to 15.7% in June, although it still remains nearly 3x times the 5% target.
- Fitch has recently cut its sovereign foreign currency credit rating by one notch to BB- following the sacking of the central bank governor arguing the decision undermines investors’ confidence in the commitment of government structural reforms and management of the public sector finances.
- Both S&P and Moody’s rate the debt further down in the junk territory (one notch lower than Fitch) at B+ and B1, respectively.
UK – PMI shows business sentiment improve (IHS Markit)
- Capital spending plans are weakest since 2011.
- R&D programs are hit with much funding on hold due to Brexit uncertainty
DRC – The first Ebola case confirmed in the regional capital of Goma housing more than a million people, according to the Ministry of Health.
- The victim, a priest, had travelled by bus from the town of Butembo located in the former epicentre of the outbreak and around six hours drive north of Goma, FT reports.
- The man was able to reach the city passing through three road health checkpoints between the two towns designed to intercept people with symptoms of the virus.
- Authorities said they have already identified the other passengers on the bus that would be vaccinated later today.
- Since the first case last August, the outbreak of the virus claimed 1,665 lives with a further 698 people reported to have survived after receiving treatment.
Tanzania – The government will “soon conduct an inspection “ of the North Mara gold operations before issuing the mine export permits.
- The Company reported it is currently seeking clarification on the timing for completion of the inspection.
- The mine has been unaffected by 2017 export ban with the operation producing clean gold dore bars rather a concentrate.
- The news comes just a week before a deadline for Acacia’s majority shareholder Barrick Gold is due to make a final offer for the Company (5pm 19 July deadline).
Zimbabwe – Inflation doubled in June from the previous month climbing to the 39%mom/176%yoy rate, the highest in 10 years.
Zimbabwe inflation hits 176% in June
- Zimbabwe is no stranger to hyperinflation but the near doubling of its inflation in June to 176% must surely lead to significant problems for the population.
US$1.1281/eur vs 1.1269/eur yesterday Yen 107.98/$ vs 108.34/$ SAr 13.883/$ vs 13.923/$ $1.257/gbp vs $1.255/gbp 0.703/aud vs 0.700/aud CNY 6.872/$ vs 6.874/$
Gold US$1,413/oz vs US$1,411/oz yesterday
Gold ETFs 74.3moz vs US$74.3moz yesterday
Platinum US$838/oz vs US$826/oz yesterday
Palladium US$1,563/oz vs US$1,560/oz yesterday
Silver US$15.27/oz vs US$15.17/oz yesterday
Copper US$ 5,977/t vs US$5,954/t yesterday
- Copper resumed its advance towards $6,000/t level following Chinese data signaling stabilising economy. While China’s economy slowed to the weakest pace since quarterly data began in 1992, investors broadly refocused on more positive indicators as factory output and retail sales both outperformed estimates.
- Gross domestic product rose +6.2% in the April-June period from a year earlier, below the +6.4% expansion in the first quarter.
- In June, factory output and retail sales growth beat estimates, while investment in the first half of the year also gave further evidence that stimulus measures to curb the slowdown are feeding through.
- The National Bureau of Statistics also report that the effects of government policies – which have included tax cuts and targeted monetary stimulus – will strengthen in the second half of the year. According to Bloomberg Economics, more policy support, including easing in monetary policy, is needed to stabilise growth.
Aluminium US$ 1,828/t vs US$1,820/t yesterday
Nickel US$ 13,470/t vs US$13,140/t yesterday
Zinc US$ 2,430/t vs US$2,396/t yesterday
Lead US$ 1,976/t vs US$1,967/t yesterday
Tin US$ 18,070/t vs US$18,240/t yesterday
Oil US$66.8/bbl vs US$67.0/bbl yesterday
Natural Gas US$2.436/mmbtu vs US$2.412/mmbtu yesterday
Uranium US$25.05/lb vs US$24.80/lb yesterday - Uranium – Section 232 investigation by US Department of Commerce
- The investigation finds that imports of uranium impair US national security.
- But President Trump has not imposed measures to restrict uranium imports.
- US utilities who had frozen contract negotiations during the investigation may now re-engage in contract negotiations with global uranium miners and other producers.
- While the US has plenty of domestic uranium production much of it has been closed or suspended due to prevailing low spot market prices.
- Long-term contracts with utilities are expected to be set at significantly higher prices than seen in today’s spot market which is depressed by an ongoing overhang as a result of surpluses built up after the closure of nuclear power stations in Japan following Fukushima.
Iron ore 62% Fe spot (cfr Tianjin) US$113.0/t vs US$114.3/t
Chinese steel rebar 25mm US$613.7/t vs US$616.4/t
Thermal coal (1st year forward cif ARA) US$68.9/t vs US$69.1/t
Coking coal futures Dalian Exchange US$207.2/t vs US$210.9/t
Cobalt LME 3m US$27,050/t vs US$27,050/t
NdPr Rare Earth Oxide (China) US$46,932/t vs US$46,916/t
Lithium carbonate 99% (China) US$9,168/t vs US$9,165/t
Ferro Vanadium 80% FOB (China) US$36.7/kg vs US$36.7/kg – containers sold at lower levels
- Vanadium prices dippe further last week according to prices on Fastmarkets MB.
- Ferro-vanadium prices fell 4% to $29-31.5/kgV in Western Europe as a significant number of shipments were sold at $30/kgV and $29/kgV in an unusually busy looking market.
- Offers for ferro-vanadium were heard at $35/kgV fob China
Antimony Trioxide 99.5% EU (China) US$5.5/kg vs US$5.5/kg
Tungsten APT European US$210-225/mtu vs US$230-242/mtu – APT prices falls further to $210-225/mtu
- China is reported to be cutting back on mine production due to uneconomic production at current price levels indicating a level of economic discipline not often seen in communist nations. Production is being mothballed in an effort to arrest further falls in the tungsten price.
- Ormonde Mining* is currently commissioning the Barecupparo tungsten mine in Spain with an update in May highlighting throughput rates of 190t per hour achieved on fresh ore.
- Good concentrate grades of >74%WO3 are seen from the processing of low-grade feedstock from the northern starter pit.
*SP Angel acts as broker to Ormonde Mining
US battery capacity to triple by 2023
- Battery storage projects are surging across the US, with the nation forecasting a tripling of utility-scale storage power operating capacity by 2023. According to an update from the US Energy Information Administration, 1623MW of new utility-scale battery storage capacity is set to come online by 2023, up from a current total of 899MW.
- Total capacity is expected to be around 2.5GW of utility-scale battery storage by that year, nearly tripling the current capacity.
- Renewable energy and battery costs are both falling — the EIA notes “pairing utility-scale battery storage with intermittent renewable resources, such as wind and solar, has become increasingly competitive compared with traditional generation options” — and the administration also points to agreeable state policies and a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission order as major factors in the rise.
- The EIA points to larger utility-scale projects, including the 409MW/900MWh Manatee Energy Storage Center in Florida which will be the largest battery in the US.
- Project scale is also expected to increase, with the Gemini Solar project in Nevada awaiting approval for a 531MW/2125MWh battery system.
- Volkswagen and Ford have announced the long-expected expansion of their alliance, as the two companies will collaborate on electric and self-driving cars.
- The automakers first announced their global alliance in January, and at the time, they discussed expanding it to include EVs and other tech.
- Later reports noted VW was set to invest in Ford’s self-driving subsidiary Argo AI, and all recent signs have pointed to the expansion as imminent.
- Ford will use VW’s MEB electric platform for 600,000 vehicles, on an all-new EV model that will arrive in Europe in 2023. It will be designed and built in Europe, and VW will supply MEB parts and components.
- As part of the alliance, “both companies also will continue to target additional areas where they can work together on electric vehicles – a key strategic priority for both companies as they drive to accelerate the transition to sustainable and affordable mobility”, according to Ford CEO Jim Hackett.
- During the press conference, an investor asked the two CEOs why VW’s MEB would only be shared in Europe, and Hackett said that Europe’s market is moving faster toward zero emissions, and noted Ford’s own EV pursuits in the US. Ford is also making an EV with Rivian.
- Volkswagen will invest $2.6bn in Argo, through $1bn in funding and contributing its own $1.6bn Autonomous Intelligent Driving (AID) company. VW will purchase $500m worth of Argo shares over the next three years. Ford will also invest $600m in Argo, fulfilling its $1bn cash commitment. Argo will treat the two companies as separate clients, but there looks to be some collaboration.
Elektron Energy awarded innovation grant
- Elektron bi-polar cells are reported to deliver > 50% better performance over lead-acid cells and may become cheaper to manufacture.
- The grant is from Eureka Eurostars, which is supported by the South African Department of Science and Technology. (engineeringnews.com)
Research investment to develop solar power system that works at night
- R&D investment at Curtin University hopes to yield a thermal battery as part of the Concentrated Solar Power system developed by United Sun Systems, which requires batteries to store and release non-stop solar power generation.
- Professor from the School of Electrical Engineering, Computing and Mathematical Sciences who is working on the project highlights the battery use of high-temperature metal hydride or metal carbonate as the heat storage medium and a low-temperature gas storage vessel for storing the hydrogen or carbon dioxide.
- “At night, and in times of cloud cover, hydrogen or carbon dioxide is released from the gas storage vessel and absorbed by the higher temperature metal to form a metal hydride/metal carbonate, which produces heat used to generate electricity,” Buckley said, allowing solar energy to be released without the reliance on sunlight at all times.
- The overall idea is to integrate thermochemical energy storage via a thermal battery into a dish-Stirling system, providing up to 46KW power.
Anglo Asian Mining* (LON:AAZ) 122p, Mkt Cap £139m – Robust production and strong margins driven net cash to $15.4m in Q2/19
BUY – TP under review
- Production amounted to 19.6koz GEO in Q2/19 (+3%yoy) taking total for H1/19 to 39.9koz GEO (+7%yoy).
- The Company remains on track to achieve 2019 annual guidance of 82-86koz GEO.
- GEO output was slightly lower on the previous quarter (Q1/19: 20.3koz) on the back of lower copper grades processed that are expected to pick up in H2/19.
- Breaking down between commodities, gold production amounted to 17.1koz (Q1/19: 17.2koz), copper output was 450t (Q1/19: 513t) and silver was 33koz (Q1/19: 51koz).
- Agitation leaching plant performed well contributing 12.8koz treating 177kt at 2.4g/t and demonstrating best gold recoveries (c.94%) since commissioning in 2013.
- Heap leaching operations contributed 3.3koz with 438kt at 0.63g/t stacked on heaps during the quarter.
- Flotation plant produced 0.4kt of copper (Q1/19: 0.5kt) and 1.1koz of gold (Q1/19: 1.7koz) treating 131kt at 0.46% Cu.
- Total concentrate production from flotation and SART plants totalled 2.4kt (Q1/19: 3.0kt).
- Q2/19 gold bullion sales amounted to 13.5koz at $1,332/oz (Q1/19: 13.1koz at $1,306/oz) after deducting 12.75% in government share of sales under the PSA.
- Concentrate sales totalled 4.0kt of concentrate generating $6.7m in post PSA revenues (Q1/19: 0.3kt for $0.7m).
- Higher concentrate sales are attributed to the disposal of concentrate production backlog from the previous quarter following a resolution to logical issues by off-taker.
- Strong cash flow from Gedabek operations led to further build up in the net cash position that climbed to $15.4m as of Q2/19 end, up on $10.8m as of Q1/19 end and $6.1m as of Dec/18.
- The net cash balance is made of $20.5m in cash and $5.1m in outstanding Pasha Bank loan facility.
- The Company paid $2.2m in taxes during the quarter taking the total paid in H1/19 to $3.0m.
Conclusion: Good quarter with production up 7%yoy in H1/19 and the Company remaining on target for 82-86koz in FY19. Cash flow generation remains strong (Net Cash up by $9.3m since start of the year and standing at $15.4m) supported by low cash costs of operations. We remain buyers of Anglo Asian highlighting robust cash flows and exploration upside of the currently carried programme at Gedabek as well as Ordubad contract areas amid high gold price environment.
*SP Angel act as Nomad and broker to Anglo Asian Mining
- Avesoro Resources reports that, it has reached an open-pit mining agreement with the Orkun Group for its Youga mine in Burkina Faso.
- The contract covers the extraction of between 800-900bcm per month, including a minimum of 120,000tpm of ore. “The Contract price of excavation during the Minimum TMM period is US$4.26 per BCM (approximately US$1.60 per tonne) reducing to US$3.75 per BCM thereafter (approximately US$1.41 per tonne) for the remainder of the Contract.”
- “Orkun has also committed to supplement the existing HME [Heavy Mining Equipment] fleet with US$5 million of additional equipment at its own cost. This includes five excavators, 15 haul trucks and auxiliary equipment to ensure that the contracted material movement is achieved. The first batch of this additional HME is due to arrive at Youga in early Q3 2019.”
- The company says that “under the terms of the mining contract with Orkun, the contractor assumes responsibility for all future mining fleet overhaul costs. As a result, the Company has reduced its expected H2 2019 capital expenditure requirement by c.US$4 million.”
- The reduced capital expenditure, taken in conjunction with the recent move in gold prices above the US$1400/oz level leads the company to indicate that “If the gold price averages c.$1,400 per ounce during H2 2019 the Company, on its current production guidance, would generate c.US$11 million more revenue from H2 2019 gold sales than was anticipated in the June 10, 2019 announcement … [and that under these circumstances] … the H2 2019 funding gap would reduce to US$10 - US$15 million from our previous guidance of a shortfall of between US$25 - US$30 million later in 2019”.
- Avesoro Mining explains that the “funding gap includes US$12.9 million of debt provided by a related party lender falling due for repayment in 2019. The Company is holding constructive discussions with the related party about deferral of these debt repayments”.
- Continuing work on further reductions of the funding gap include additional capital expenditure reductions “at New Liberty if a similar agreement can be reached with the preferred mining contractor for that mine as has been achieved with Orkun at Youga”.
Conclusion: Avesoro Mining is expecting that the transition to contract mining at its Youga mine, in conjunction with the recent improvements to the gold price will reduce its previously announced funding shortfall during H2 2019 and is exploring the opportunities for a similar strategy at the New Liberty Mine in Liberia. The recent quarterly results described labour unrest at both mines arising from the plans to move to mining contractors, however the company is likely to persist given the potential to ease funding pressure.
Shanta Gold (LON:SHG) 8.2p, Mkt Cap £65m – Resource update extends the life of mine to 2025
- The Company converted 127koz at 3.15g/t in the Inferred category into 83.5koz at 7.85g/t in the Indicated resource at the Bauhinia Creek (BC) high grade underground mine.
- Additionally, the team added 58.6koz at 4.79g/t to the Inferred resource.
- The update incorporate drilling completed in April and May providing a low cost ($2/oz) conversion of Inferred ounces in the higher confidence Indicated category.
- New resources are expected to extend the current life of mine to at least 2025.
- The Company is targeting to maintain a rolling 5-8y life of mine with an infill and step out drilling at the existing deposits as well as new exploration targets.
- 220.3koz of Inferred resource is targeted for infill drilling at BC as well as Ilunga, Luika and Elizabeth Hill.
- 5,000m of exploration drilling planned for H2/19 at regional targets.
- The BS resource is currently estimated at 348koz at 5.82g/t in the Indicated category and 96koz at 2.86g/t in the Inferred category (no depletion applied from Jan/18 to Jul/19; COG 1g/t).
Strategic Minerals* (LON:SML) 1.4p, Mkt Cap £20.5m – Cobre sales and update
- Strategic Minerals has reported its quarterly sales for its Cobre magnetite operations in New Mexico for the three months ending 30th June 2019.
- The operation sold 8,139t of magnetite material (2018 – 11,694t) bringing the total for the year to date to 17,611t (2018 – 33,279).
- Sales revenue of US$841,000 during the quarter includes “the recognition of US$375,000 of payments from the major Cobre client now forfeited”.
- The company points out that the “Major Cobre client continues to express intention to pay with legal proceedings expected to commence soon should payment not be forthcoming … [although] ” …the Board is confident that a satisfactory resolution can be reached with the major client at Cobre”.
- Strategic Minerals also explains that the Cobre operations continue to be profitable, despite the issues with its main client saying that “profits and cash were again generated by SMG's Cobre operations”.
- The cash generated by Cobre, taken with the group’s existing cash resources amounted to US$319,225 at 30th June, and since then the company has received a further £820,000 received from the equity raising earlier this month.
- In other areas pf the company’s business, Strategic Minerals reports that it has invested over US$1m during the quarter, including in excess of US$0.9m on the re-opening of the Leigh Creek copper operation in South Australia where initial production and sales of copper cement concentrate was reported in May.
- Commenting on the quarter, which he described as “a busy and productive period for SML”, Managing Director, John Peters, underlined that, despite the events with the major customer at Cobre, Strategic Minerals remains “focussed on developing the Company's broad multi-mineral portfolio and steering SML towards its goal of commencing a second, major income stream, expected in Q1 2020.”
Conclusion: Strategic Minerals continues to press ahead with the development of Leigh Creek despite a slow down in sales at Cobre where, despite confidence of a satisfactory outcome to discussions with its main customer, the company is preparing its legal position in the event that the issues cannot be resolved without recourse to litigation.
*SP Angel act as Nomad and Broker to Strategic Minerals
Tertiary Minerals* (LON:TYM) 0.275p, Mkt Cap £1.2m – new zones of zinc/silver mineralisation identified at Paymaster
- Tertiary Minerals reports that geochemical soil sampling at the recently acquired Paymaster poly-metallic prospect in Nevada has identified two zones of zinc/silver mineralisation which merit follow-up exploration and drilling.
- At the Valley Prospect, a 350m long zone of skarn mineralisation up to 8m thick has been identified and a rock sample taken from an historic shaft estimated to be 200 feet (approximately 61m) deep yielded an assay of 7.5% zinc, 4.3% lead and 180g/t silver. “Further mapping and sampling is now planned to define drill sites for testing this newly identified zone of mineralisation”.
- Soil sampling over the East Slope Prospect has outlined a 650m long zinc anomaly in an area including a ”small exposure of skarn mineralisation where a previous sample returned a grade of 20.9% zinc, 0.11% cobalt and 198 ppm silver.”
- The company plans to conduct infill soil sampling and trenching at the East Slope Project to assist in defining potential dill targets.
- Tertiary Minerals’ Managing Director, Richard Clemmey expressed satisfaction that the initial exploration work had enabled the company “to be closing in on drill targets at such an early stage in the life of the project … [and said that] … These results demonstrate how value can be added at low cost as we build up a new portfolio of base and precious metal projects in the western USA".
Conclusion: Tertiary Minerals is reporting early success in the exploration of its recently acquired Paymaster polymetallic prospect in Nevada and is moving towards defining drill targets at two prospect area. We Look forward to further news as the exploration proceeds.
*SP Angel act as Nomad and broker to Tertiary Minerals
John Meyer – 0203 470 0490
Simon Beardsmore – 0203 470 0484
Sergey Raevskiy – 0203 470 0474
James Mills -0203 470 0486
Richard Parlons – 0203 470 0472
Jonathan Williams – 0203 470 0471
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