AfriTin* (LON:ATM) – Uis tin mine Q4 and 2020 production report

Beowulf Mining* (LON:BEM) – MoU signed with EAMPL

Bluejay Mining* (LON:JAY) – BUY – Valuation 40p – Ilmenite prices rise 4% to $260-270/t

W Resources (LON:WRES) – Proposed share consolidation

SP Angel . Morning View . Monday 08 03 21

China GDP likely to hit 8% this year

 

AfriTin* () – Uis tin mine Q4 and 2020 production report

Beowulf Mining* () – MoU signed with EAMPL

Bluejay Mining* () – BUY – Valuation 40p – Ilmenite prices rise 4% to $260-270/t

W Resources () – Proposed share consolidation

 

China’s NPC ‘National People’s Congress’ started on Friday in Beijing

China grew by 2.3% last year its slowest official recorded rate in the past 44 years.

The administration forecasts growth at 6% this year but will probably exceed 8% this due to stimulus spending (SCMP).

This year’s expected GDP growth is higher than the new official target and is in reaction to stimulus to recover from last year.

China has now set a national budget deficit-to-GDP target to 3.2% down from the target of 3.6% last year.

The government may simply be adjusting its provincial GDP calculation to reflect reality as calculated by and other forecasters

The local government special purpose bond issuance quota has also been pared to Rmb 3.65tn (US$564bn) from Rmb 3.75tn last year.

China will not issue additional “Covid-19” bonds this year after selling Rmb 1tn last year to fund the recovery.

The 6% pronouncement pulled back very high futures prices for iron ore, steel, coking coal, stainless steel.

China is targeting the creation of 11m new jobs this year up from 9m last year and actual job growth of 11.86m in 2020.

The state is also targeting consumer inflation of around 3% down from a 3.5% target last year

Inflation was held up by food price inflation through 2020 due to the Yangtze flooding but offset by lower oil prices.

 

Indonesia seeks nickel royalty cut to attract battery investment

The Indonesian government is considering lowering royalties for low-grade nickel ores to attract investment in lithium battery production, according to the country’s Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment.

 

China Jan-Feb iron ore imports rise 2.8% YoY

Iron ore imports rose to 181.5mt in the first two months of the year, with demand supported by a firm consumption outlook.

The China Iron and Steel association forecasts steel demand to grow slightly this year, although the industry ministry has repeatedly urged companies to cut China’s crude steel output this year to meet climate goals.

China exported 10.14mt of steel products in Jan-Feb, 30% higher than the same period last year (Reuters).  

 

Recent Interviews:

VOX Markets:

03/03/20: https://www.voxmarkets.co.uk/media/603f8a764ed39457176158df/?context=/listings/LON/BMN/multimedia/

24/02/20:  https://www.voxmarkets.co.uk/articles/john-meyer-mining-talks-about-copper-bluejay-empire-metals-phoenix-copper-rainbow-rare-earths-rambler-metals-mins-tirupati-graphite-feb-24-1-18-pm-3b5e4d3

 

IGTV:  Are we in a new commodity supercycle, or is one coming? https://youtu.be/sw6gLNnM1s0

Is this a new Supercycle for commodities: https://youtu.be/BIWb-wqoLpM

Metals expected to continue the last-year gains into 2021 https://youtu.be/afrB9cJe8L0

Is 2021 the start of the new COVID-Supercycle or will Lockdowns delay the recovery? https://youtu.be/7LO0tDc-pNc

*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.

 

Metals price forecasting through 2020 – 2020 was probably the most difficult year for forecasting anything

No.1 in Copper:  “The winner of the 2020 Fastmarkets Apex contest for copper was the team at SP Angel comprising John Meyer, Sergey Raevskiy and Simon Beardsmore, with an  accuracy score of 93.8%”

No1. In Gold:  “SP Angel’s trio took the top spot for the gold price prediction throughout the year, with an accuracy score of 97.59%”

The SP Angel team also ranked 1st in Palladium, 3rd in Tin and 5th in Silver in the fourth quarter of 2020

 

Dow Jones Industrials +1.85% at 31,496

Nikkei 225 -0.42% at 28,743

HK Hang Seng -1.92% at 28,541

Shanghai Composite -2.30% at 3,421

 

Economics

US – The Senate passed the Biden’s $1.9tn bill in a 50-49 vote over the weekend with the House planning to vote this Tuesday for the stimulus to come into law before current unemployment benefits expire mid-March.

The final bill includes $400bn in one time payments of $1,400 to Americans with a phase out starting for those with annual incomes above $75,000.

It also incudes $300 a week in extended jobless benefits through to September.

Around $350bn in aid is also set aside for state and local governments

New stimulus along with strong employment data released on Friday continued to propel bond yields higher as investors are pricing in higher inflation and stronger growth outlook.

Growth stocks heavy Nasdaq 100 futures were down 2% this morning while 10y US government bond yields are trading above 1.6%.

US dollar index is up with most of EM currencies trading lower.

The US Administration has warned companies to take the threat of Chinese hacking attacks very seriously following recent attack on Microsoft

Microsoft has blamed a recent hacking attack on itself and other hacking attacks on a state-sponsored hacking group in China (Bloomberg)

The firm has warned that the number of victims of Chinese hackers continues to grow and the sophisticated attack on Microsoft’s email software is turning into a cybersecurity crisis

The hackers have hit some 60,000 known victims globally according to a former senior US official with knowledge of the investigation, with many small-medium sized businesses caught.

The European Banking Authority was a recent victim with personal details held on Microsoft servers possibly compromised.

 

Separately, US businesses picked up hiring in February with the economy adding more jobs than expected amid a decline in new infections and easing of business restrictions in some states.

Gains were led by an increase in hiring in leisure and hospitality employment, both hit hardest by the pandemic.

A welcome trend of strengthening labour market, although, unemployment remains high with nearly 10m Americans out of work, compared to ~6m before the start of the pandemic.

NFPs (‘000): 379 v 166 (revised from 49) in January and 200 est.

Unemployment Rate: 6.2% v 6.3% in January and 6.3% est.

Labour Force Participation Rate: unchanged from 61.4%

Av Hourly Earnings (%mom): 0.2 v 0.1 (revised from 0.2) in January and 0.2 est.

 

Rising US Treasury yields causing investors to see more fundamental value as Tech stock weaken

We can read many things into rising US 10-year treasury yields.

If bond yields move much higher than investors may buy bonds again and move off risk.

But with yields were they are investors appear to be looking for more fundamental value in stocks where value can be evaluated with greater certainty.

Mining companies offer clearer calculable value on certain assumptions supported by tangible assets, cash flow and inventories.

This is drawing new investment into the sector as investors begin to appreciate the impact of new Stimulus demand on this latest metals Supercycle.

Tesla shares have fallen a further 5% this morning marking a 32% fall from its January high.

 

China – The mainland benchmark equity index (CSI 300) entered a correction on Monday falling 3.5% and extending losses from its recent February 10 peak to 10%.

Investors are taking profits and unwinding so-called crowded favourite trades on worries that the market might have gone ahead of itself, Bloomberg reports.

 

Jan-Feb trade data in China come in stronger than expected further highlighting the ongoing growth recovery momentum.

US$ denominated exports and imports were up 60.6%yoy and 22.2%yoy, respectively, in the first two months of the year v 40.0% and 16.0% expected.

Strong jump reflects low base of 2020 when the authorities enacted a series of virus containment measures.

 

UK – Students return to school today after more than two months of government enforced classrooms’ closures.

Vaccination programme moves on to people aged from 56 to 59 with more than a third of the adult population already inoculated after the December 8 start.

As of this weekend, more than 22m people have been given the first dose while another 1.1m have received a second jab.

The take up of the jab was high with more than eight out of 10 people aged 65 to 69 being vaccinated.

 

Saudi Arabia – Brent jumped above $70/bbl for the first time in 14 months on reports that energy facilities were attacked in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, FT reports.

A drone attack on a petroleum storage tank at Ras Tanura, one of the largest oil shipping ports, was recorded on Sunday morning, the kingdom said.

The incident is said to have not resulted in any injury or loss of life with operations reported to have also been unaffected.

Yemen’s Iran-allied Houthi fighters claimed responsibility for the attacks and said they had also focused on military targets in the Suadi cities of Dammam, Asir and Jazan.

 

Currencies US$1.1889/eur vs 1.1940eur last week.  Yen 108.43/$ vs 108.29/$.  SAr 15.484/$ vs 15.267/$.  $1.383/gbp vs $1.386/gbp.  0.766/aud vs 0.769/aud.  CNY 6.526/$ vs 6.476/$.

 

Commodity News

Precious metals:  

Gold US$1,696/oz vs US$1,692/oz last week

Gold ETFs 102.5moz vs US$102.9moz last week

US$1,136/oz vs US$1,121/oz last week

Palladium US$2,348oz vs US$2,341/oz last week

Silver US$25.35/oz vs US$25.20/oz last week

 

Base metals:  

Copper US$ 8,868/t vs US$8,835/t last week

Aluminium US$ 2,171/t vs US$2,153/t last week

Nickel US$ 16,130/t vs US$16,220/t last week

Zinc US$ 2,768/t vs US$2,753/t last week

Lead US$ 1,992/t vs US$2,034/t last week

Tin US$ 24,300/t vs US$23,660/t last week

 

Energy:

Oil US$70.0/bbl vs US$67.7/bbl last week

Oil rallied toward US$70/bbl a barrel after OPEC+ chose not to relax supply curbs even as the global economy pulls out of its pandemic-driven slump, confounding widespread expectations the group would loosen the taps.

Further pushing prices, Saudi Arabia also confirmed that the world’s largest crude terminal was attacked, although output appeared to be unaffected after the missiles and drones were intercepted

Futures in London jumped as much as 2.6% at the open after rising 4.9% last week

The kingdom said a storage tank at Ras Tanura in the country’s Gulf coast was attacked on Sunday by a drone from the sea.

The terminal is capable of exporting roughly 6.5MMbopd, nearly 7% of oil demand, and as such one of the world’s most protected installations

West Texas Intermediate edged higher in Asia, building on Thursday’s 4.2% surge to the highest close since April 2019

OPEC+ agreed to hold output steady in April, while Saudi Arabia said that it will maintain its 1MMbopd voluntary production cut.

The agreement is a victory for Saudi Arabia, which has consistently pushed to tighten the market

It leaves the world facing a significant supply squeeze, higher energy costs and the risk of inflation just as widespread vaccination allows economies to emerge from the Covid-19 downturn

The group had been debating whether to restore as much as 1.5MMbopd of output

But after being urged to “keep our powder dry” by Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, members agreed to hold steady at current levels with the exception of modest increases granted to Russia and Kazakhstan

In a briefing after last week’s meeting, the prince went one step further by making the kingdom’s additional 1MMbopd production cut open ended

He gave no date for phasing out the voluntary reduction and told reporters he is in no hurry to do so

Throughout the first quarter, OPEC+ has kept production below demand in order to drain the glut that built up during the worst of the Covid-19 lockdowns

Without additional supply, that deficit will widen significantly in April, according to the cartel’s internal estimates

With the bond market already on edge for signs of inflation, the aggressive move from OPEC+ could become a headache for the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank

Russia and Kazakhstan secured exemptions from the deal, allowing them to boost output by 130,000 and 20,000 barrels a day in April, respectively

 

Natural Gas US$2.715/mmbtu vs US$2.722mmbtu last week

Natural gas futures closed lower on Friday for a second straight week, hitting its lowest level since the week ending 29 January

Prices were pressured by forecasts calling for milder temperatures this week and a bearish government storage report

Perhaps underpinning prices, at least over the short-term, was optimism over export demand

The weather is expected to be colder than normal in the US’s western portion over the next two weeks but warmer than normal in the mid-west and the east coast

The calendar is now moving into the end of the withdrawal season, and prices will likely remain rangebound unless there is another disruption or a cold spell

 

Bulk:   

Iron ore 62% Fe spot (cfr Tianjin) US$167.4/t vs US$168.5/t

Chinese steel rebar 25mm US$727.7/t vs US$728.3/t

Thermal coal (1st year forward cif ARA) US$68.5/t vs US$68.5/t

Coking coal swap Australia FOB US$136.0/t vs US$134.0/t

           

Other: 

Cobalt LME 3m US$52,610/t vs US$52,610/t

NdPr Rare Earth Oxide (China) US$91,175/t vs US$91,076/t

Lithium carbonate 99% (China) US$12,259/t vs US$12,349/t

Spodumene 6% Li2O min, cif (China) US$510/t vs US$455/t

Ferro Vanadium 80% FOB (China) US$34.5/kg vs US$34.5/kg

Ferro-Manganese high carbon 78% Mn US$1,625/t vs US$1,625/t

Tungsten APT European US$263-268/mtu vs US$260-265/mtu

Graphite flake 94% C, -100 mesh, fob China US$560/t vs US$560/t                

Graphite spherical 99.95% C, 15 microns, fob China US$2,625/t vs US$2,625/t

 

Battery News

£3,200 EV becomes one of China’s best-selling vehicles

The Hong Guang Mini EV is proving a big-hit for state-owned SAIC Motor, with the car being built as part of a JV with General Motors.

Last month sales of the budget car were around double those of Tesla, with the price a key factor in the vehicle’s uptake.

The all-electric EV sold 25,778 models in China in January, compared to 13,843 Tesla Model 3 sales over the same period.

The basic model has a top speed of 100km/h and can accommodate four people at a squeeze (BBC).

 

Researchers develop hydrogen paste that could fuel vehicles 

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute of Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials (IFAM) developed a hydrogen paste, which could one day be used to fuel vehicles. 

The main ingredient of the new ‘Powerpaste’ is magnesium hydride, a compound that, when introduced to water, reacts with it to for hydrogen and magnesium hydroxide. 

It would be stored in vehicles in the form of a cartridge and to refuel, a driver would swap a used hydrogen cartridge with a new one and then fill the tank with water. 

It has a huge storage density and offers a safe, convenient and affordable hydrogen fuel for small vehicles.  

 

Chinese REE producer to build NdFeB production plant in Guangdong province

Guangsheng Nonferrous plans to build a production plant for neodymium-iron-boron permanent magnet material in Guangzhou city in China’s Guangdong province.

The project worth $206m with a 8,000tpa design capacity aims to be completed in 30 months (Argus Media).

 

Company News

AfriTin* () – 4.95p, Mkt cap £39.5m – Uis tin mine Q4 and 2020 production report

AfriTin reports production of 194.5t of tin concentrate from it Uis mine in Namibia during q4 2021.

The production represents a 28% increase on the 151.4t of the previous quarter and brings output for the year to 473t.

The company says that the Q4 production “represents approximately 108% of the Stage I quarterly target in terms of tin concentrate produced and 117% of the Stage I quarterly target in terms of tin contained in concentrate”.

Quarterly data tabulated in today’s announcement illustrates a steady build-up of operational efficiency through the year with plant availability improving from 63% in Q1 2020 to 80% in Q4 in tandem with an improvement in plant utilisation from 64% to 84%.

Processing rates also built ip during the year from 42,701t in Q1 to 121,450 in Q4.

Commenting that Uis achieved nameplate capacity in November 202 and is now “operating 108% beyond our production targets for Stage 1”, CEO, Anthony Viljoen said that “Our work is far from complete as we look to incrementally expand our processing plant and bring additional concentrate streams online”, and pointed out that the build-up in production has “coincided with a strong tin price”.

Conclusion: Uis Stage 1 is achieving better than targeted results after a steady build up to nameplate capacity in November and the company is now looking at incremental expansion opportunities.

*SP Angel act for Bushveld Minerals which holds around 9.5% of AfriTin

 

Beowulf Mining* () 4.4p, Mkt cap £35.6m – MoU signed with EAMPL

Beowulf has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Epsilon Advanced Materials Private Limited (EAMPL), a subsidiary of Epsilon Carbon.

Epsilon carbon operates India’s first integrated Coal Tar distillation unit, and Epsilon Carbon marked the company’s entry into the lithium-ion battery space.

EAMPL has commissioned a manufacturing unit to produce raw material precursor for synthetic graphite, with the company’s strategic aim of developing and manufacturing innovative, high performance and quality carbon products for anode components of lithium-ion batteries.

The purpose of the MoU is to develop the concept of a strategic processing hub for both natural flake and recycled graphite to be located in Finland, to target the market for pre-cursor anode material for the lithium-ion batteries in the Nordics and Europe.

The MoU also may lead to consideration for the establishing of a joint venture between Beowulf’s 100% owned subsidiary Oy Fennoscandian Resources and EAMPL.

Fennoscandian is developing the Aitolampi graphite asset, which has a contained graphite resource of 1,275,000mt, possessing almost perfect crystallinity, an important prerequisite for high tech applications.

Kurt Budge, Chief Executive Officer of Beowulf, commented: “We are very pleased to have signed a MoU with EAMPL.  With the Capital Raising behind us, this MoU is part of our acceleration plan for Fennoscandian, as the Company fulfils its role as a potential future supplier of the raw materials, that Finland and Europe need for manufacturing lithium-ion batteries. In EAMPL, we have found a partner who shares our sustainability values and we are looking to an exciting future ahead.”

*SP Angel act as nomad and Broker to Beowulf Mining

 

Bluejay Mining*+ () 10.90p, Mkt cap £106m – Ilmenite prices rise 4% to $260-270/t

BUY – Valuation 40p

Bluejay Mining appear to have the luck of the Irish, an expression which descends from the Irishmen who made fortunes from gold and silver mining in the US.

First, the company sails through the permitting process required for the development of a mine in Greenland.

Second, the US EXIM bank offers the company a $208m loan by way of a Letter of Intent which if followed through may offer finance at around 1.46%.

Third, Ilmenite prices continue to rise hitting $260-270/t in China last week according to FastmarketsMB.

FastmarketsMB take an average of a number of prices seen in the market for their average and we have heard of ilmenite trading in the spot market at around $300/t in China.

Prices are being driven by supply constraint with much scheduled new production delayed or cancelled.

Chinese consumers who destocked as prices rose but are now forced to pay higher prices as global demand for pigments continued to grow.

Rising demand in China for TiO2 pigment which was largely been fed by ilmenite from iron ore into the sulphate process is also raising import levels.

The greater use of high-grade and cleaner Australian iron ore for environmental and energy issues has led to a reduction in by-product ilmenite causing ilmenite concentrate imports to rise around 20% in 2019-20.

We suspect many consumers and convertors have been caught out by ongoing demand strength for paint and pigments.

Negative GDP growth last near led ilmenite converters to destock and slow their operations.

Instead, furloughed workers bought paint by the bucket load raising demand and confounding those experts working of GDP forecasts.

Miners, who were already struggling to maintain and bring on new production, were also hit by new COVID-19 restrictions, working practices and illness.

Conclusion:  We see the ilmenite market as akin to a game of musical chairs. Normally, there is a spare chair somewhere in the form of surplus capacity.

In this round, consumers are having to compete harder to secure their ilmenite supply else they risk running out of concentrate supply.

*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.

 

W Resources () 0.09p, Mkt Cap £6.9m – Proposed share consolidation

W Resources is proposing a reorganisation of its capital structure including a share consolidation of its current 7.7bn issued shares.

The proposed reorganisation will be considered by shareholders at General Meeting, to be held virtually, on 31st March.

The proposed restructuring is to involve:

The division of each of the 7,709,935,731 shares currently in issue into “a Redenominated Ordinary Share and a Deferred Share … [where] … the nominal value of each new Redenominated Ordinary Share will be one per cent. of an Existing Ordinary Share … [and] … the nominal value of each new Deferred Share will be ninety-nine per cent. of an Existing Ordinary Share”.

The resulting new ordinary shares will then be consolidated on the basis of 1 new ordinary share for every 100 under the current structure reducing the number of issued shares to approximately 77.099m.

Option and warrant rights will be adjusted accordingly and the proceeds arising from the sale of fractional entitlements are to be donated to the WWF.

Directors holding 16.09% of the company have undertaken to support the required resolutions which will be detailed in a circular to shareholders being posted today.

The restructuring is proposed in recognition that “the number of shares currently in issue … [is] … considerably higher than the majority of companies of a similar size on AIM, which, when combined with the current share price of significantly less than 1 pence per Share, unduly affects investor perception of the Company and volatility in its share price”.

 

Analysts

John Meyer – [email protected] – 0203 470 0490

Simon Beardsmore – [email protected] – 0203 470 0484

Sergey Raevskiy –[email protected] – 0203 470 0474

Joe Rowbottom – [email protected] – 0203 470 0486

 

Sales

Richard Parlons –[email protected] – 0203 470 0472

Abigail Wayne – [email protected] – 0203 470 0534

Rob Rees – [email protected] – 0203 470 0535

Grant Barker – [email protected] – 0203 470 0471

 

 

SP Angel                                                            

Prince Frederick House

35-39 Maddox Street London

W1S 2PP

 

*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

Bloomberg

Copper, Aluminium, Nickel, Zinc, Lead, Tin, Cobalt

LME

Oil Brent

ICE

Natural Gas, Uranium, Iron Ore

NYMEX

Thermal Coal

Bloomberg OTC Composite

Coking Coal

SSY

RRE

Steelhome

Lithium Carbonate, Ferro Vanadium, Antimony

Asian Metal

Tungsten

Metal Bulletin

 



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