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Argo Blockchain (ARB), a cryptocurrency mining company, provided an operational update for January 2024. ARB said Bitcoin production decreased in January as transaction fees retreated from the temporary spike it saw in December. It also experienced some instances of curtailment as a result of winter weather in Quebec and Texas.

Comment: It would appear that we are approaching crunch time for ARB, especially given the operational contract between it and companies like Vinanz (AQSE:BTC) which have sorted their production out to suit the new cryptocurrency environment.

Helium One Global (HE1), the primary helium explorer in Tanzania, updated on the completion of the Itumbula West-1 well which saw helium flow to surface. HE1 said flowing helium to surface in such high concentrations is a huge milestone for the Company and it will now fully evaluate these results and focus on advancing this project in the most effective way possible; one that will aim to achieve commerciality at the earliest opportunity.

Comment: The clue was in the price action last week for HE1, in that the shares remained above their 50 day moving average at 1.1p, and therefore seemed poised to fill the gap up to 2.9p. Indeed, bulls of the shares can now dare to dream of a target as high as the next chart gap from November at 5.5p, on any end of day close back above the previous chart gap at 2.9p.

Upland Resources (UPL) announced further to the update on 22 January 2024 in relation to the Sarawak Block SK334 exploration campaign. UPL said it was advancing in its exploration work program at pace guided by the results of a successful joint technical study with PETROS. Having successfully completed our geological and geophysical works, its focus is now firmly on strategically advancing the SK334 block and preparation for exploration activities.

Comment: Shares of UPL have been sliding higher, despite the relatively quiet news period up until now. One presumes that bulls of the stock are still waiting for the next big driver via SK334. Nevertheless, staying on the right side of 3p is a good indicator of positive sentiment.

Mineral and Financial Investments (MAFL) provided an unaudited quarterly update of its financial performance and its NAV for the first quarter ending 30 September 2023. At the end of the first quarter, the NAV was £10.0 million, up 28.3%, from £7.8 million one year ago. The NAV Per Share was 25.72p at the end of the Q1-2023 period, up 22.9% year on year. Unaudited gross profit for the quarter was £774,000 and operating profits of £658,000 resulting in net profits of £575,000 or 1.49p on a fully diluted basis for the quarter ending 30 September 2023. MAFL said the results were positively impacted by the partial recognition of the value of the Put option on its Redcorp interest as a result of the delivery of the Feasibility Study. This more than offset the correction in the value of several of its investments, including its Luca Mining stake.

Comment: MAFL recently delivered a very impressive and helpful lunch presentation to the great and good of the City – and myself. One looks forward to more general engagement from the company in coming weeks, helped along by the revelation that the NAV is double the share price of the company.

Bidstack Group (BIDS) provided an update on the loan agreement and ancillary documents announced on 18 October 2023 with strategic investor Irdeto B.V., a financial update and information about the Board’s decision to initiate a strategic review. BIDS said while it is keen to continue to work with Irdeto as previously announced, the Board of the Company feels that it must also consider other funding alternatives and has decided to initiate a strategic review. The Board has appointed Alvarez & Marsal Europe LLP, a restructuring adviser who, alongside the Company and its other advisers, will look at all options for the future of the Group which may or may not involve a sale of the Company’s assets.

Comment: Just when the company looked as though it had shaken off its crowd of pesky bears, it has given them a red rag to run towards in the form of the ominous sounding “strategic review.” A sale of assets looks as though it would be the best way forward.

Cornish Metals (CUSN), a mineral exploration and development company, reported results from the first six drill holes of the ongoing 9,000 metre Carn Brea drill programme. CUSN said these results confirm Cornish Metals’ model that the Wide Formation represents a new, large-scale, tin-bearing exploration target lying beneath the historically mined Great Flat Lode. The discovery of additional mineralised structures above and below the Wide Formation is a bonus.

Comment: It is refreshing to have an update from CUSN which for a change does not include the concept of “de-watering.” Today’s announcement could be the trigger for a reasonable turnaround for the shares off their recent sub 10p lows.

Clontarf Energy (CLON), the energy company focused on lithium brines, and petroleum projects, updated shareholders on progress: CLON said the new convocatoria, or formal Call for Bids, gives both sides a legally-binding basis for exploration and development agreements in joint venture with national authorities. For Clontarf, this represents a vindication of years of work since 2018.

Comment: Most of us enjoy a good convocatoria, and perhaps even more the message from the company that 6 years of work here are starting to pay off.

Ethernity Networks (ENET), a supplier of networking processing semiconductor technology, announced that the Court in Lod has on 4 February 2024 approved the proposed creditor settlement plan. Following this approval, the Company can now continue to undertake its business and operations as usual.

Comment: This looked as though it could have been the announcement that fans of ENET were looking for to get the shares spiking towards November’s dizzy heights of 4p plus. It may still prove to be helpful.

Revolution Beauty (REVB), the multi-channel mass beauty innovator, announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with Adam Minto, the Group’s co-founder and former Chief Executive Officer. REVB said it was very pleased to have reached an agreement with Adam. This, together with the revised payment schedule agreed in December 2023 for the acquisition of Medichem, means we can now focus on the future. It looks forward to providing an update on its strategy at its upcoming Capital Markets Event on 8 February 2024.

Comment: On the face of it REVB should be back on the straight and narrow, at least as far as its share price is concerned. The more time it can spend above 30p, the better.

Empire Metals Limited (EEE), the AIM-quoted resource exploration and development company, announced that the next phase of exploration activities at the Pitfield Project in Western Australia is scheduled to commence in February, with 40 RC drillholes and four Diamond Core drillholes scheduled over a ten-week campaign. This programme aims to quantify two high-grade titanium-mineralised zones, selected for resource evaluation work in areas that show potential to support shallow open pit mining, as well as providing critical mineralogical and metallurgical data that will allow the Company to accelerate the economic assessment and development of the Project.

Comment: Shares of EEE have been doing a little dance either side of the 10p level in the recent past. But we would like to see 11p plus in order to validate the prospect of a new leg to the upside and a retest of recent 14p January glories.

Hummingbird (HUM) announced that ahead of the 121 Mining Investment Cape Town Conference from 5-6 February 2024, a new Corporate Presentation is available via the Company’s website:

Rainbow Rare Earths (RBW) announced an update on progress with regards to the ongoing rare earth oxide separation work underway at the back-end pilot plant, which is located at the facilities of Rainbow’s technical partner K-Technologies, Inc. in Florida. RBW said it was pleased with the continued progress to date validating its front-end process flow sheet and the K-Tech CIX / CIC process flow sheet for the back-end. It was also notable that it has achieved positive separation in the chromatography circuit of the SEG group of rare earth oxides, which could add another very saleable product and revenue stream to Rainbow at minimal cost.’

Comment: RBW has been one of the steadier hands as far as project developers have been concerned, something which today’s update underlines.

Inteliqo (AQSE: IQO), a start-up technology company, announced that trading in the Company’s Ordinary Shares will commence today, at 2:30 p.m. (GMT) on the OTCQB Venture Market in the United States. The Company’s shares will trade on the OTC Market under the ticker IQOLF.

Comment: It will be interesting to see whether shares of IQO will benefit as much from an OTCQB listing as much as it should given the natural US affinity for tech companies.

Sovereign Metals Limited (SVML) advised that an updated investor presentation is available to download from the Company’s website at:

Physiomics (PYC), a mathematical modelling and data science company, announced that it has been awarded a further contract by existing client, Numab Therapeutics. The project involves Pharmacokinetic-Pharmacodynamic (PKPD) modelling in support of one of Numab’s oncology assets entering the clinic and will help inform dose and scheduling decisions. PYC said it was thrilled to have this opportunity to continue working with and supporting Numab on this asset through its preclinical stages as it heads into the clinic. Along with the project it announced with them in August 2023, this new project was a testament to the continued support it provides and the great relationships it has built.

Comment: Fans of PYC will be hoping that the latest contract for the company will be the instigator of a new leg to the upside for the shares, even though the financial quantum of the contract has not been mentioned.

Tirupati Graphite (TGR), the specialist flake graphite company announced that Mr. Hemant Poddar has resigned as a Non-Executive Director of the Company, with immediate effect, in order to focus on his other business interests. Following the appointments of Non-Executive Directors, Ms Isabel de Salis and Mr. Murat Dogan Erden, in 2023, the Board initiated various measures as part of a review of its corporate governance including but not limited to: The reconstitution of the board committees on Audit & Risk, Remuneration and Nominations; The creation of a new Sustainability Committee to keep under review the achievement of the Company’s sustainability goals including on clean energy and waste minimisation, continuing to target net zero emissions by turn of the decade.

Comment: It is good to see TGR moving seriously to get ship shape given the need to improve the share price performance and overall stock market perception of the company.

Concurrent Technologies (CNC), a designer and manufacturer of computer products, systems and mission critical solutions used in high-performance markets by some of the world’s major OEMs, announces the appointment of Isabel (“Issy”) Urquhart as an independent Non-Executive Director to the Company with immediate effect. CNC said it was delighted to welcome Issy to the Board at a particularly exciting time for the Company and looks forward to benefitting from her expertise in driving people and change management strategies across trans-Atlantic operations. It was confident Issy will be an invaluable guide to the business as it delivers on its growth strategy and create the right environment for its people to succeed.

Comment: Hot foot from its weekend mention in the papers we may see more than a one day wonder blip higher for the shares backed by the arrival of “Issy”.

Great Southern Copper (GSCU), the company focused on copper-gold and lithium exploration in Chile, announced results from the latest mapping and sampling programme at its Victoria prospect, Especularita. GSCU said whilst it completes its scout drilling programmes at Abundante and Teresita, its exploration team is working to enhance the pipeline of drilling prospects at Especularita. These new rock chip results continue to highlight the significance of the Victoria prospect with consistent high grades of copper and associated gold-silver mapped and sampled in outcrop.

Comment: GSCU shows itself to be enjoying progress in its chosen Chile home, something which is underlined by the recent positive consolidation for the shares.

Tungsten West (TUN), the owner and operator of the Hemerdon tungsten and tin mine in Southwest England announced that it has received a draft permit from the Environment Agency for the operation of the Mineral Processing Facility at Hemerdon. TUN said it was delighted to confirm receipt of the draft permit for the MPF, which represents a major step-forward in our goal of bringing Hemerdon back into production by the end of 2025, providing an ethical and sustainable domestic supply of critical minerals.

Comment: Finally we have a hallelujah moment for TUN in the sense that there is now line of sight on production. The only thing now is to make the journey to that point as comfortable as possible for shareholders after all they have been through.

Kromek Group (KMK), a developer of radiation and bio-detection technology solutions, announced that it has been awarded a grant of £1.3m under the UK Research and Innovation Horizon Europe guarantee scheme to participate in the Intelligent Radiation Sensor Readout System project to develop a new class of radiation sensor powered by artificial intelligence. KMK said with the increasing prevalence of AI, Kromek has for several years been exploring the application of machine learning across its technologies, and has generated some significant IP in this area. This collaboration brings an opportunity to enhance its expertise by working with field-leading partners throughout Europe, and ultimately lead to improved capabilities of its products across its market segments.

Comment: The market appears to be waking up to the way that KMK is on the zeitgeist in term of growing demand for its radiation sensing offering.

Artemis Resources (ARV) updated shareholders on its recent ground reconnaissance program which has resulted in a significant lithium pegmatite discovery at the Mt Marie Lithium Prospect. ARV said it was further encouraged by the geological structure of the pegmatites which appear to be coarse grained and feature large spodumene crystals and may parallel the Azure Minerals Andover discovery. It was excited by this development and looking forward to undertaking further work on its 100% owned tenement package.

Comment: Shares of ARV have been on the back foot since the autumn, something that the latest update from the company may go some way to reverse.

Atlantic Lithium Limited (ALL) the African-focused lithium exploration and development company announced further broad and high-grade assay results from the resource drilling completed during 2023 at the Company’s flagship Ewoyaa Lithium Project in Ghana, West Africa. ALL said these latest results from the new Dog-Leg target, Okwesi, Anokyi and Ewoyaa South-2 deposits have returned multiple high-grade and broad extensional intersections, including 83m at 1% Li2O from 36m and 47m at 1.05% Li2O from 87m at the new Dog-Leg target.

Comment: While we mull over the intentions of its largest shareholder, it can be seen that ALL is getting on with the job of proving up its assets.

East Imperial (EISB), the global purveyor of super-premium beverages, announced that an agreement has been reached to supply the prestigious Hong Kong-listed Galaxy Entertainment Group, Macau’s leading hotel and casino operator. Galaxy Entertainment Group (SEHK:27) is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and has a market capitalisation of approximately US$25bn. EISB said the APAC region has always been the cornerstone of the East Imperial story and business, and to see its highly-regarded and highly valued partner, Wen Hua International, landing this significant deal underlines its combined strategic strength for the region. It expects this to be the first of many such wins, and it is super-excited with this achievement and what lies ahead in 2024 and beyond.

Comment: Given the ongoing lethargy towards EISB, deals such as today could get the company back on track to what it should be, the next Fevertree.

Metals One (MET1), which is advancing battery metal projects at brownfield sites in Finland and Norway, announced that the Company’s SRH Råna Project partner and operator, Kingsrose Mining have received all analytical results from the 2023 core drilling programme, where a total of 4,318m were drilled across 12 holes. MET1 said the operator is aiming to drill these key targets as part of its 2024 exploration programme alongside further geophysical surveying across the broader intrusion. They continue to test the true potential of the Råna intrusion to host one, if not more, nickel-copper-cobalt-PGM deposits of economic tenor.

Comment: The acceleration in newsflow here at MET1 should finally be reflected in the stock market valuation, especially when one considers the strong funding position the company is in.