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First Class Metals (FCM), the UK listed metals exploration company,  announced that drilling has commenced on  the Zigzag property which is currently focussed on the lithium (Li), tantalum (Ta) rubidium (Rb) and gallium (Ga) potential. FCM said It is thrilled to begin drilling at Zigzag, making it the first property where FCM will undertake drilling. This demonstrates its commitment to advancing its exploration efforts and emphasizes its dedication to responsible resource development.

Comment: The company said its goal was to be drill ready, and today this is what FCM has served up, and probably rather quicker than most observers were anticipating.

Marula Mining (AQSE: MARU), an African focused mining and development company, provided a further update on its two-phase resource drilling and mining program that is ongoing at the Blesberg Lithium and Tantalum Mine in South Africa. The company said in just over 3.5 months it has completed its first major diamond drilling program, both ahead of schedule and below budget. Its geological and mining consultants team are now busy moving ahead with the analysis of the initial assay results, and mine design and mine planning work for the proposed commencement of hard rock open pit mining operations at Blesberg in the New Year.

Comment: Another day, another RNS from MARU, underlining that compared to many of its peers, the company is moving at warp speed. One would expect the share price to start responding in kind as 2023 comes to a close.

Haydale Graphene Industries (HAYD) are seeking a ‘killer-product’ for its advanced materials. Today, have been awarded a SMART Flexible Innovation Support Grant from the Welsh Government. It’s to accelerate the development thermal conductivity and thermal diffusivity of heat transfer fluids using Haydale functionalised graphene. Thus, significantly increase the efficiency of all fluid-based heating and cooling systems. The grants will assist in the development and proof of concept of scientific innovations, in a commercial setting. Over the years there have been a portfolio of these wonder applications for its materials that could change the world but HAYD Operating loss to June 2023 was £6.16m with Revenue of £4m.The last funding was September 2022 when £5.1m was raised at 0.5p.

Comment:   The hope is that with the mkt cap of £7.82m at 0.435p they soon find a wonder product allowing for funds to be raised at higher price.

Quadrise (QED), the supplier of innovative energy solutions, confirmed the finalisation of results from bioMSAR™ fuel testing completed in November 2023, further to the Company’s announcement of 27 November 2023. The company said QED and its commercial partners are excited by these results and look forward to progressing the testing programme to the next stages, with the intention upon successful testing to offer its first fossil-free bioMSAR Zero™ product at commercial scale in advance of 2030.

Comment: Although QED is clearly doing good, green work, it is still impressive that the market is appreciative of this, especially in terms of the share price rise of late.

GSTechnologies (GST), the fintech company, announced that the Company has entered into an agreement to acquire 66.67% of the issued share capital of Semnet Pte Ltd, a cybersecurity company based in Singapore, for a total consideration of US$1.8 million, payable through US$0.8 million in cash and US$1.0 million in new shares in the Company. GST said this strategic acquisition represents a further important step in the Company’s journey.  Its commitment to innovation and excellence remains unwavering, and having inhouse cybersecurity expertise and capability is important as it continues to build a B2B Neobank providing next-generation digital money solutions.

Comment: Tone and the team seem to be very much on the front foot in terms of the company’s fintech push, in the booming digital money space.

Altona (REE), a resource exploration and development company focused on Rare Earths in Africa, announce that, following the successful completion of Phase 2 of the Monte Muambe Rare Earths project as announced on 18 October 2023, its holding in Monte Muambe Mining Limitada has now increased from 20% to 51%. REE said it is delighted with this progress and the increase of the Company’s holding in Monte Muambe Mining Limitada to 51% materialises the rewards of the completion of Phase 2, representing an important step in de-risking the project further.

Comment: Led by Cedric Simonet, REE has demonstrated that it is one of the more robust junior mining plays, especially in the rare earths space.

Pires (PIRI) announced that, following approval by Shareholders at its Annual General Meeting held on 9 October 2023, the Company has now changed its name to Mindflair plc and the Company’s London Stock Exchange market ticker will become MFAI (formerly PIRI) as of 08:00 today. The company said it believes that its new name and website better reflect and highlight the current focus of the Company which provides listed equity investors with exposure to a portfolio of AI technology companies.

Comment: Mindflair would have been a good name for a King’s Road fashion house in the 1970’s as well as getting on the zeitgeist of the current AI boom.

Totally (TLY), a leading provider of frontline healthcare services, corporate fitness and wellbeing services across the UK and Ireland, announces that Simon Stilwell, a Non-Executive Director and Chairman Designate of Totally, yesterday purchased 500,000 ordinary shares of 10 pence each in the Company. Following this purchase Simon Stilwell has a total beneficial interest in 1,500,000 Ordinary Shares equivalent to 0.76% per cent. of the Company’s issued share capital.

Comment: It is usually the case that director buying steadies the ship in such situations that TLY currently finds itself in. Indeed, existing shareholders would no doubt welcome more in the same vein.

Power Metal Resources (POW), the AIM listed exploration company, announced an update from its Molopo Farms Complex Project, where the Company is targeting a district-scale nickel and platinum group element discovery in southwestern Botswana. POW said it was pleased to report further progress at Molopo, and it looks forward to commencing the drilling of this high priority conductor. Molopo has been, and remains, one of its highest priority exploration opportunities, and one that it remains convinced has the potential to be a significant value driver for Power Metal.

Comment: Even with the Rick Rule factor, POW still needs to get the message across in terms of the value being created at the company, and what there is at current share price levels.

Ilika (IKA), a solid state battery technology company, announced it has reached its 2023 stated intermediate technology development target of lithium-ion energy density parity in its Goliath large format EV battery programme. IKA said this achievement validates the technical approach taken by the Company and supports the justification for investment in a full-pilot facility configured to demonstrate that the technology can be licensed for third-party giga-scale implementation.

Comment: IKA shares have been on the front foot of late, as the market understands that while there are plenty of companies trying to get on the EV bandwagon, it is one of the few in a leading position.