SP Angel . Morning View . Friday 30 07 21
Rare earth prices power ahead on strong EV and offshore wind farms
Bacanora Lithium (LON:BCN) – Ganfeng offer deadline extension
Bluejay Mining* (LON:JAY) - BUY - Valuation 37.7p – Ilmenite prices set to rise higher on suspension of Sierra Rutile mine
Glencore (LON:GLEN) – Glencore H1 production and full-year outlook mixed in the face of Covid19
Lucara Diamonds (CVE:LUC) – Karowe yields a 393 carat white diamond
Sibanye-Stillwater (JSE:SSW) - Sibanye to buy French nickel facility for €65m from Eramet
IGTV: China fearing failure in metals pricing tactic: https://youtu.be/RK4HQPrs60s
Rare Earth prices NdPr jump 29% mom on strong demand for EVs and new orders for offshore wind farms
Prices for NdPr Rare Earth Oxides in China rose to US$95,557/t overnight from US$93,095/t yesterday and US$85,443/t last week and US$73,507/t a month ago
Strong ongoing demand for rare earths should benefit: Mkango*, Rainbow Rare Earths*, Pensana*
Western Australian miners fear impact of government’s national inquiry
With the largest annual mining conference in Australia set to commence on Monday, WA miners have expressed concerns over new laws being drafted by government officials to protect Aboriginal heritage sites and endangered species.
The WA government announced that ‘the primary objective of the bill is to ensure Aboriginal people have custodianship over their heritage’.
The inquiry was triggered by Rio Tinto’s destruction of a 46,000 year old Aboriginal rock shelter at Juukan Gorge.
Investors in the mining industry, meeting at the Diggers and Dealers conference in Kalgoorlie next week, are concerned that the rules may not provide landowners with enough safeguards, increasing the risk of another damaging incident.
The bill is set to impact $18bn worth of projects planned by miners in the mining heartlands such as Pilbara.
Dow Jones Industrials +0.44% at 35,085
Nikkei 225 -1.80% at 27,284
HK Hang Seng -1.91% at 25,812
Shanghai Composite -0.41% at 3,398
US – GDP missed estimates in Q2/21 with strong personal spending partly offset by a drop in inventories component, residential investment and government expenditures.
Personal consumption climbed 11.8%qoq (annualised) up on 11.4% in the previous quarter and 10.5% forecast.
Core PCE price index, the preferred measure of inflation by the Fed, came in line with estimates at 6.1%qoq (annualised) accelerating from 2.7%in Q1/21.
Weekly jobless data came in weaker than expected in the last week with the number of continuing claims pausing its falling trend.
Amazon reported lower than expected revenue yesterday and guided for slower sales growth in the coming quarters.
The Company said it expects sales to come in at $106-112bn in September quarter, well below estimates for $119bn, weeing the stock trading 7.5% down in after hours.
GDP (%qoq, annualised, advance): 6.5 v 6.3 (revised from 6.4) and 8.4 est.
Jobless Claims (‘000): 400 v 424 in the previous week and 385 est.
Continuing Claims (‘000): 3,269 v 3,262 in the previous week and 3,183 est.
US - cargo ports report record volume as bottlenecks continue amid supply chain disruption
Fitch Ratings, commenting on cargo ports’ strong revenues, have highlighted the difficulties currently facing the shipping industry.
A combination of supply chain pressure, mismatched rolling stock and logistic networks experiencing strained capacity are hindering operational efficiency.
Coronavirus shutdowns at Chinese ports alongside these challenges have caused analysts to predict continued congestion pressures into the upcoming peak shipping season.
An increase in goods consumption triggered by back-to-school and office shopping is set to add considerable pressure to already strained supply chains at the end of the summer.
The selloff continued despite reassurances from Chinese regulators and official media.
An outbreak of Delta variant in coast province of Jiangsu also weighed on the sentiment today, Reuters reports.
CSI 300 is down 0.8% this morning and 7.9% in July.
Hang Seng is down 1.3% today taking monthly losses to ~10%.
China – Equity indices posted another day of losses paving the way for the worst monthly drop since the height of global pandemic.
The market is reflecting concerns relating to the overhaul of regulations in education, property and tech sectors.
China – Structural policy change towards consumerism and welfare as birth rate falls
China is adjusting government policies to reduce inequality and promote wellbeing as it struggles to lift its falling birth-rate.
The nation’s transition to urban living from rural subsistence farming has left families in debt or unable to afford adequate housing, schooling and medicine
The Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council are using Zhejiang province to test new policies promoting higher-quality developments with more affordable housing, cheaper education and better medical facilities.
The idea is to persuade Chinese families to have more children. Remember children are considered to be the responsibility (owned) by the state.
If the new policies work in Zhejiang then this will roll throughout China
China sentences billionaire farmer and social-justice campaigner to 18-years in prison on multiple charges including ‘provoking trouble’.
Sun Dawu of Dawu Group, one of the China’s largest private companies has criticised bureaucracy and corruption in China.
Japan – Authorities expanded a state of emergency to areas outside Tokyo and extended it to the end of August amid growing number of new infections, Bloomberg writes.
The expansion comes following three days of record Covid-19 infections in Tokyo and as nation wide infection rates increased over 10,000 for the first time since the pandemic started around 18 months ago.
Germany – GDP numbers disappoint with a rebound in growth coming short of expectations in Q2/21.
Weaker than estimated numbers follow strong rebounds in Italy and Spain as travel restrictions are being lifted.
GDP (%qoq): 1.5 v -2.1 (revised from -1.8) and 2.0 est.
GDP (%yoy): 9.2 v -3.1 in Q1/21 and 9.6est.
France – The economy returned to growth in Q2/21 despite a strict lockdown in April.
The government reiterated its 6% target for the year highlighting improvements in consumer spending, investment, and confidence.
GDP (%qoq): 0.9 v 0.0 (revised from -0.1) in Q1/21 and 0.8 est.
GDP (%yoy): 18.7 v 1.7 (revised from 1.2) in Q1/21 and 17.5 est.
Spain – Good GDP numbers are out this morning showing growth picked up more than expected in Q2/21.
The economy seems to be recovering as restrictions are being lifted helping tourism and hospitality industries.
Spain posted nearly 11% drop in 2020 as global travel drew to halt amid the heights of the pandemic.
GDP (%qoq): 2.8 v -0.4 in Q1/21 and 2.1 est.
GDP (%yoy): 19.8 v -4.2 in Q1/21 and 18.9 est.
Peru – President Castillo names Marxist Guido Bellido as prime minister
Castillo has named Bellido, a member of his Marxist party, as prime minister – dimming hopes of a moderate left administration.
Naming Bellido is likely to spook investors who previously took encouragement from Castillo’s more free-market tone towards the end of his presidential campaign.
Bellido’s naming has led to Castillo’s most prominent advisor, Pedro Francke, to decline the Finance Ministry job.
Franche is an economics professor and moderate leftist who had worked to calm investors.
Chinese power companies see earnings slashed amid record coal prices
A raft of Chinese power producers have posted first-half losses this week, squeezed by thermal coal prices which are up almost 40% year-to-date, Bloomberg reports.
Huadian Energy, a subsidiary of China’s largest power utilities company, expected a first-half loss of 550m yuan ($85m), attributed to a “continuous increase in coal prices”
Huaneng Power International saw its first half income fall 26%, while Shenyang Jinshan also warned of a loss.
So far, at least nine of China’s electricity companies have warned of more cost pressures related to fossil fuel prices.
Thermal coal prices are expected to remain high through year-end, with peak summer demand now adding to upward pressure.
UK’s largest fleet operators to go electric by 2030
Some of the UK’s largest commercial fleet operators including Royal Mail, BT and Tesco have committed to converting their fleets to British-built EVs by 2030.
Working with the Government’s Electric Vehicle Fleet Accelerator (EVFA), bp, BT, Direct Line Group, Royal Mail, ScottishPower, Severn Trent (LSE:SVT) and Tesco have agreed to work collaboratively to increase the uptake of EVs in the UK.
The companies and EVFA members have committed to converting their fleets to EVs by 2030 and to buying 70,000 British-built electric vans, provided the Government introduces enabling policies.
According to the group, these enabling policies could help unlock private sector investment of more than £50bn in infrastructure and EV fleets over the next five years.
US$1.1886/eur vs 1.8560/eur yesterday. Yen 109.58/$ vs 109.88/$. SAr 14.620/$ vs 14.711/$. $1.396/gbp vs $1.394/gbp. 0.738/aud vs 0.739/aud. CNY 6.461/$ vs 6.472/$.
Gold US$1,830/oz vs US$1,818/oz yesterday
Gold ETFs 100.5moz vs US$100.2moz yesterday
Palladium US$2,662/oz vs US$2,651/oz yesterday
Silver US$25.58/oz vs US$24.33/oz yesterday
Copper US$ 9,790/t vs US$9,774/t yesterday
Aluminium US$ 2,601/t vs US$2,545/t yesterday
Nickel US$ 19,740/t vs US$19,795/t yesterday
Zinc US$ 3,000/t vs US$2,989/t yesterday
Lead US$ 2,354/t vs US$2,359/t yesterday
Tin US$ 34,780/t vs US$34,920/t yesterday
Oil US$75.6/bbl vs US$75.2/bbl yesterday
Natural Gas US$3.971/mmbtu vs US$3.950/mmbtu yesterday
Iron ore 62% Fe spot (cfr Tianjin) US$191.6/t vs US$198.4/t
Chinese steel rebar 25mm US$840.7/t vs US$835.1/t - China to raise export tariffs on specific steel products amid ramping up of environmental regulations
Chinese officials have announced plans to increase export tariffs for both pig iron and ferrochrome. They also plan to remove current rebates on export taxes for 23 steel products.
The adjustment to policy is set to be initiated on 1st August. The change marks the second adjustment in three months.
China is aiming to guarantee its producers ample domestic supplies in addition to reducing emissions by controlling output.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance stated that these changes encourage ‘high-quality development of the steel industry’.
May 1 saw China removing export tax rebates for 146 steel products whilst also increasing export tariffs on pig iron and ferroalloys.
Chinese steel output in H1 of this year saw an increase in 11.8%. However, the industry currently faces more than 5% shortages, encouraging Chinese officials to look to protect their domestic supply.
Thermal coal (1st year forward cif ARA) US$96.5/t vs US$96.0/t
Coking coal swap Australia FOB US$208.5/t vs US$209.0/t
China Illmenite Concentrate TiO2 US$359.79/kg vs US$359.3/t
Cobalt LME 3m US$52,500/t vs US$52,500/t
NdPr Rare Earth Oxide (China) US$95,557/t vs US$93,095/t
Lithium carbonate 99% (China) US$13,154/t vs US$12,979/t - Tribes join legal battle over America’s largest lithium mine
The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and Atsa Koodakuh Wyh Nuwu/People of Red Mountain are entering a legal dispute with 4 conservation groups against Lithium Nevada Corp.
The proposed Thacker Pass site is currently suspended from digging as an archaeological survey is executed at the site near the Oregon line.
The Bureau of Land Management approved the site in the final weeks of Trump’s administration. The tribes argue the approval violates the National Historic Preservation Act.
The tribes object to a lithium mine being placed on the site where their ‘ancestors were massacred’ and have likened the project to building a lithium mine over ‘Arlington National Cemetery or the Gettysburg Battlefield’.
The news follows U.S. District Judge Miranda Du’s decision to reject pleas from environmentalists to block the decisions.
China Spodumene Li2O 5%min CIF US$760/t vs US$740/t
Ferro-Manganese European Mn78% min US$1,848/t vs US$1,844/t
China Tungsten APT 88.5% FOB US$300/t vs US$300/t
China Graphite Flake -194 FOB US$515/t vs US$515/t
Europe Vanadium Pentoxide 98% 9.7/lb vs US$9.6/lb
Europe Ferro-Vanadium 80% 40.75/kg vs US$40.75/kg
Spot CO2 Emissions EUA Price US$57.9/t vs US$57.8/kg
CATL announce first generation sodium-ion battery
In an online launch event, Chinese battery manufacturer, CATL, unveiled their first-generation sodium-ion battery alongside its AB battery pack solution which allows sodium-ion cells and lithium-ion cells to be used in one battery pack.
This is a breakthrough in battery technology as sodium-ion batteries are more reactive and need more care with structural stability when compared with Li-ion batteries.
CATL has been researching and developing sodium-ion battery electrode materials for many years and plans to establish a supply chain for the tech in 2023.
Their first-generation sodium-ion battery has the advantages of high-energy density, fast-charging capability, excellent thermal stability, great low-temperature performance, and high-integration efficiency, among other properties.
The sodium-ion battery cell has an energy density of up to 160Wh/kg and can charge to 80% in 15 minutes.
The AB battery system allows CATL to mix and match sodium-ion batteries and Li-ion batteries in a certain proportion and integrate them into one battery system.
This new battery system solution can compensate for the current energy-density shortage of the sodium-ion battery, and expand its advantages of high power and performance in low temperatures.
Lloyd’s of London plans EV and hydrogen insurance in climate action road map
Lloyd’s has published plans to offer insurance products for electric vehicles and hydrogen technology.
Last month the company launched an insurance task force with Prince Charles’ Sustainable Markets Initiative, to help reach net zero targets.
Insurance products will include cover for breakdown in internet connections for EVs as well as insurance for the transportation of hydrogen.
Last year Lloyd’s issued its first ESG strategy, with a decision to limit exposure to coal and tar sands.
Bacanora Lithium (LON:BCN) 59p, Mkt Cap £225m – Ganfeng offer deadline extension
The Bacanora Board was granted an extension to the Ganfeng takeover offer deadline by the Takeover Panel to 26 August 2021.
The potential all cash offer at 67.5p first announced in early May is subject to a number of pre-conditions that currently remain outstanding.
In July Ganfeng announced that it has received regulatory approvals and notices from Chinese authorities in regards of the Outbound Investment Pre-Condition.
The Due Diligence of the transaction is reported to be continuing.
The Company reports that the deadline may be further extended if required subject to the consent by the Takeover Panel.
Ganfeng holds 29% interest in Bacanora as well as a 50% interest in the Bacanora’s flagship Sonora lithium project in Mexico.
The Sonora project involves a lithium clay deposit hosting 4.5mt LCE in reserves to be developed in two Stages ($420m Stage 1 for production of 17.5ktpa LCE; $380m Stage 2 doubling production to 35ktpa LCE).
The Company had ~$160m in cash as of 31 May/21 (including cash of $30m in Sonora Lithium Ltd, the 50/50 JV with Ganfeng and owner of the project), enough to support ongoing construction works for the next 18 months.
The team is considering options to replace the $150m RK senior loan facility ($25m drawn in Jul/18 and $125 remaining undrawn) that was not extended earlier in June.
Stage 1 of the project is targeted to commence production in 2023.
Bluejay Mining* (LON:JAY) 10.41p, Mkt cap £102m – Ilmenite prices set to rise higher on suspension of Sierra Rutile mine
BUY - Valuation 37.7p
Consumers of ilmenite may be about to find out what happens when the music stops in a market of musical chairs.
Rio Tinto’s Richards Bay mine is closed due to persistent threats and the murder of their general manager.
The Sierra Rutile mine in Sierra Leone is due to halt production in November and stocks are thought to be at low levels
Pigment producers are looking to restock inventory levels to avoid potential disruption to supplies despite higher shipping rates causing zircon, rutile and ilmenite prices to rise.
Zircon has risen 14% to US$1,630/t since end March, Ruitle prices have risen 40% to US$1,753/t since last October.
Reports indicate prices for ilmenite are trading around US$340-400/t as demand accelerated within recovering developed nations.
Experts point to a longer term developing structural deficit requiring the development of new mines that are just not happening.
Base Resources, Toliara project in Madagascar remains suspended on the ground as management negotiates with the government over Madagascar’s Large Mining Investment Law.
Chinese ilmenite imports rose 70% yoy to 395,948t in March highlighting the effect of GDP growth in China and the impact of stimulus programs on demand for pigments for paint.
Chinese Titanium Oxide (Ilmenite) prices have ticked back to CNY2,300-2,350 ($360/t) from CNY2400-2450/t ($375/t) two wees ago.
We currently assume a price of US$250/t for Bluejay ilmenite concentrate sales in our modelling with 70% of the concentrate shipped to Asia by bulk carrier.
If we add $10/t to our assumed ilmenite price this adds a further $54m or 5p/s of value to the Dundas project in our modelling.
We currently assume Bluejay sales at $250/t with 70% of the concentrate shipped to Asia by bulk carrier.
Conclusion: Bluejay is well placed with the Dundas project permitted and ready for development. Management are busy optimising the engineering design of the mine and process plant and we believe are in discussions with major multilateral funds for the funding of the project.
The agreed sale of Bluejay’s black shale assets in Finland may be part of a strategy to separate the Greenland mining assets from the other exploration.
*SP Angel act Nomad and broker to Bluejay. The analyst has previously visited the Enonkoski mine site in Finland. The analyst holds shares in Bluejay Mining.
Glencore (LON:GLEN) 320.45p, Mkt cap £44bn – Glencore H1 production and full-year outlook mixed in the face of Covid19
Reporting on its production performance for H1 2021, Glencore describes mixed results with production increases from its copper, cobalt, zinc ferrochrome and coking coal operations and lines in lead, nickel and thermal coal output compared to H1 2020.
Chief Executive, Gary Nagle, said that “In our key copper and zinc businesses, production met our H1 guidance, while planned coal and nickel volumes were impacted by a range of factors during the half. Prodeco’s care and maintenance and market-driven Australian supply reductions since H2 2020 are mainly responsible for a 16% period-on-period decline in coal production. Nickel production was constrained by various operating issues at Koniambo, with a restart of its second production line currently expected in August”.
He also said that “Our Marketing business has again performed well, with constructive market conditions allowing us to raise our full year 2021 EBIT expectations to the top end of our $2.2-$3.2 billion p.a. guidance range”.
Ferrochrome output, on an attributable basis, rose by 66% to 773,000t “reflecting that mining and smelting operations were suspended for much of Q2 2020 due to the South African national lockdown”.
As a result, production guidance for 2021 ferrochrome output has been increased to 1.43mt ± 30,000t from the previous estimate of 1.40mt ±30,000t.
Similarly, vanadium pentoxide output of 11mlbs rose by 33% “also mainly reflecting the national lockdown in the base period”.
Copper production from Glencore’s own operations of 598.000t “was broadly in line with H1 2020”. Production at Antamina was “impacted by operational suspensions as part of Peru’s restrictions to control Covid-19” while attributable output at Collahuasi grew 3% to 145,900t “reflecting higher milling throughput.”
Australian copper output “of 81,700 tonnes was 5,400 tonnes (6%) lower than H1 2020, mainly reflecting temporary lower grades on account of mine sequencing at Cobar”.
Full year copper production guidance is maintained at 1.22mt ±30,000t.
Zinc output rose by 6% (31,700t) to 581,800t “mainly reflecting the recovery from Covid-related suspensions in Q2 2020, particularly in Peru”.
Glencore has, however, reduced its full-year production guidance for zinc to 1.17mt±30,000t from the previously published 1.25mt to reflect “a lengthier expected ramp-up at the recently-commissioned Zhairem mine in Kazakhstan”.
“Own sourced nickel production of 47,700 tonnes was 7,500 tonnes (14%) below H1 2020 due to planned maintenance at Murrin and various operational issues at Koniambo”.
Although the company indicates that it expects 55% of 2021’s nickel output to fall in the second half of the year, Glencore has reduced its full year nickel production guidance to 105,000t±5,000t from 117,000t because of “extended maintenance at the Koniambo nickel plant, delaying a return to a two-line processing operation”.
“Coal production of 48.7 million tonnes was 9.4 million tonnes (16%) lower than H1 2020, reflecting a full period of Prodeco care and maintenance (3.8 million tonnes), various movements in the Australian portfolio, mainly reflecting the continued market-driven supply reductions initiated in H2 2020 (5.0 million tonnes) and reduced export rail capacity in South Africa (1.4 million tonnes), partly offset by the recovery at Cerrejón from its Covid-related restrictions in the base period”.
Coal production guidance has been reduced to 104mt±4mt from 113mt relating to “export rail constraints and weaker domestic demand in South Africa and a slower recovery from the Australian market-driven supply reductions initiated in H2 2020”.
Lucara Diamonds (CVE:LUC) C$0.68, Mkt Cap C$308m – Karowe yields a 393 carat white diamond
Lucara Diamonds reports that it has recovered a393.5 carat white Type IIa gem diamond from its wholly owned Karowe diamond mine in Botswana.
As with other recent notable recoveries from Karowe, the latest stone came from the M/PK(S) unit of the South Lobe.
This is the 7th diamond greater than 300 carats in size recovered at Karowe so far this year and “the third gem quality +300 carat produced from the M/PK(S) unit in 2021, along with the 341 carat … and 378 carat … top white gems recovered in January of this year”.
Lucara also explains that “During the same production month a 156.2 carat top white gem quality diamond was also recovered from processing of M/PK(S) material”.
CEO, Eira Thomas, said that “This recent recovery continues to demonstrate the strong and consistent resource performance of the South Lobe. The 393 carat and 156 carat diamonds add to the collection of significant diamond recoveries in 2021, as Lucara looks to ramp up construction activities for the proposed underground expansion at Karowe.”
Sibanye-Stillwater (JSE:SSW) ZAR6,336 Mkt cap ZAR185bn - Sibanye to buy French nickel facility for €65m from Eramet
Sibanye Stillwater have entered into an agreement to buy Eramet’s Sandouville nickel hydrometallurgical facility as it steps up efforts to build presence in the battery-metals sector.
The miner intends to wholly acquire the Normandy based plant for a cash cost of €65m.
The facility includes a refinery with a production capacity of 12,000tpa of high-purity nickel, 4,000t of high-purity nickel salts and about 600t of cobalt chloride.
The site employs around 190 people and had turnover of €77m in the first half of this year, making a loss of €14m.
IGTV: China fearing failure in metals pricing tactic: https://youtu.be/RK4HQPrs60s
Evolution of Chinese construction and implications for commodity demand: https://youtu.be/jB2nURL8uPw
VOX Markets: 10/06/21: https://audioboom.com/posts/7884446-john-meyer-talks-about-cornish-metals-empire-metals-anglo-american-ncondezi-energy-mkango-r
BBC: Catalytic converters https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p09jl6c9
*SP Angel almost invariably acts as nomad or broker or nomad and broker to companies mentioned in the above videos and podcasts.
We speak more about these companies as we have a good understanding of their business and can talk with a greater degree of confidence. As ever, however, it should be noted that our views do not take into account the circumstances and needs of any particular investor or investor type. So enjoy the talks, but please do your own research, including other companies not mentioned by us but operating in the same areas, and get professional advice where appropriate.
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The SP Angel team also ranked 1st in Palladium, 3rd in Tin and 5th in Silver in the fourth quarter of 2020
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Sources of commodity prices
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, Tungsten, Spodumene, Ferro-Manganese, Graphite
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