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The FCA updated position on cryptoasset Exchange Traded Notes for professional investors: the Financial Conduct Authority will not object to requests from Recognised Investment Exchanges to create a UK listed market segment for cryptoasset-backed Exchange Traded Notes. These products would be available for professional investors, such as investment firms and credit institutions authorised or regulated to operate in financial markets only. 

Comment: Given how well the FCA’s efforts are going in terms of (over) regulation and (lack of) liquidity in the financial markets, it is perhaps something of a relief there is an area which it is holding back on. Very soon only CEO’s of FTSE 100 companies will be up to scratch as far as being classified as “professional” investors.

Hydrogen Utopia International (HUI), a company specialising in turning non-recyclable mixed waste plastic into hydrogen and other carbon-free fuels, announced a JV agreement with Powerhouse Energy (PHE) for the Longford Project. HUI said that maintaining a strong allegiance with PHE has been a cornerstone for HUI, and it was thrilled about finalising the Irish joint venture agreement. Both HUI and PHE are dedicated to establishing what it believes will be one of the first plastic waste to hydrogen facilities. It looks forward to working with the Powerhouse team to deliver this exciting project.

Comment: Given that HUI and PHE have been in the same game historically, it is good to see both companies now tiptoe through the tulips, hand in hand at Longford.

Pensana (PRE)  issued an update on  Coola, a second Rare Earth  licence in Angola, which is 75 miles from Longonjo, which is one of the world’s largest undeveloped rare earth mines, and one of only three with a JORC Reserve greater than 100,000 tonnes of NdPr, which is used in magnets. PRE  own 90% of Coola and  multiple field programmes  confirm carbonatite/alkaline rare earth mineralisation on two highly prospective targets, the Coola carbonatite and Sulima West laterite. Coola  is confirmed as a 900-metre diameter carbonatite ring which is a deeply weathered, volcanic pipe, or diatreme, which appears to have a similar scale to Longonjo.  The central areas of carbonatites often host supergene enriched REE deposits as is the case at Longonjo and bulk samples will be tested for low-cost beneficiation to a high-grade concentrate at site for trucking to Longonjo for processing.

Comment:The increasing scale of the mine should benefit the shares  at 30p, as would  even a  small  off-take agreement.

Critical Metals (CRTM), a mining company currently developing the Molulu copper cobalt mine in the DRC, announced the appointment of Mr. Gordon Thompson to the board as NED and Chair of the Technical committee as of 1 April 2024. CRTM said his extensive experience in the DRC at the CAMEC, Kipoi, and Chemaf operations coupled with his track record of delivering results, will greatly strengthen its future strategic capabilities both in the DRC and regionally.

Comment: The arrival of the new NED is exactly what CRTM needs to regain the momentum it had until only recently. Expect the share price to steady from now.

URA Holdings (URAH) unveiled a TR1 with wow factor, as it was revealed that Premier Miton is in on the shareholder register at 6.79%. As was revealed in last week’s interview on, by Bernard Olivier, it was the company itself which was approached for this investment, by one of the most respected fund managers around. Clearly, Premier feels the emeralds are now well on their way from Gravelotte.

Comment: Today’s TR1 revelation is a massive badge of approval for URAH, and underlines how imminent production at Gravelotte is.

i3 Energy (I3E), an independent oil and gas company with assets and operations in the UK and Canada, announced that a Notice of General Meeting will be posted to Shareholders on 25 March 2024.  The Circular will contain details of a proposed normal course reduction of capital being undertaken to ensure there are sufficient distributable reserves to facilitate dividend payments in the long term.

Comment: The market is ironically still treating I3 as if it is a company which does not actually pay a dividend. In the wake of the latest news one would expect this discrepancy to be resolved in a positive way.

88 Energy (88E) reported that well operations have commenced at the Hickory-1 well, with well bore preparations complete and perforation of the Upper SFS zone to begin ahead of fracking and flow testing. The Hickory-1 well is located within 88 Energy’s Project Phoenix acreage, directly adjacent to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System and the Dalton Highway. 88E said the entire testing program is scheduled for completion during March 2024 and looks forward to providing an update on completion of the Upper SFS flow test.

Comment: 88 Energy looks to have its ducks in a row now, letting go of the ghosts of the past.

Emmerson (EML), the Moroccan-focused potash development company, provided an update on the environmental approval of its 100% owned Khemisset Potash Project. The Company has been notified that the Commission Ministérielle de Pilotage, has upheld the Company’s referral and has asked that the matter be returned to the CRUI for reconsideration. EML said it was very pleased that the Committee has upheld its referral in this matter. It now looks forward to re-engaging with the CRUI to facilitate the approval of the EIA for the Project. The Company maintains its conviction that the Project is world class and will provide significant value and benefit to the Khemisset region, the Kingdom of Morocco and to the Company itself.

Comment: Shares of EML have already been a much firmer market of late, and one would expect further recovery as the Man From Del Monte moment approaches for Khemisset.

Zephyr Energy (ZPHR), the Rocky Mountain oil and gas company, provided an update on its operated project in the Paradox Basin, Utah, U.S. ZPHR said it was looking forward to commencing drilling operations on the 36-2R well.  After a highly intensive period of planning, preparation, and vendor selection, it is confident the next few months offer significant potential for the Company and will keep the market updated as drilling commences and progresses.

Comment: Shares of ZPHR have already been nudging higher, and the latest RNS could go a long way to give the stock the revival that many have been waiting on for quite some time.

Golden Metal Resources (GMET), a mineral exploration company, announced it has raised £750,000 through a direct subscription with the Company. GMET said it was very pleased to announce this strategic subscription, from a single investor, at a premium to the market price, providing the Company with £750,000. It intends to deploy this funding into what we consider to be high impact exploration and development initiatives that have the potential to build considerable value for the Company and shareholders.

Comment: One would regard the latest subscription for GMET as being something of a windfall for the company – to push on and expand its already sprawling asset base.

San Leon (SLE), the independent oil and gas company focused on Nigeria, provided the following corporate update. SLE said the delays in receiving funds from TRAM have been a frustration for all of us at San Leon, but it is another reminder of the underlying quality of its assets that, in spite of this setback, it has continued to attract further prospective funding partners.

Comment: Assuming that TRAM’s cash will not be forthcoming is probably the best way for SLE to get back on track, especially for its patient shareholders.

Tirupati Graphite (TGR), the specialist flake graphite company and supplier of the critical mineral for the global energy transition, announced the completion of its exploration and resource drilling programme at its two Madagascan flake graphite projects.  TGR said it is significant to note that the completion of current exploration phase reduces its cash use towards exploration and the team and its resources will be further focussed on achieving our goal of achieving EBDITA positive results at the corporate level in the immediate term.

Comment: Any sign that TGR will deliver production and head for being EBITDA positive should be just what the doctor ordered, especially at the current share price / market cap.

Nanoco Group (NANO), a company involved in the development and manufacture of cadmium-free quantum dots, announced that it will today post a Circular setting out the details of a proposed return of value to shareholders of up to £33m of the Samsung litigation proceeds. NANO said it is announcing an exceptional and significant return of capital to shareholders, while retaining and investing funds to support delivery of further value from commercial prospects and enhance its future growth and margin profile. With growing opportunities and a fully funded commercial business, it is confident in enhancing shareholder value over the medium and long term.

Comment: With a market cap of £62m and a £33m payout in the mix, one might have thought shares of NANO would open up more than 10%. But then again this is the London stock market, not yet the NASDAQ.

Roquefort Therapeutics (ROQ), the Main Market listed biotech company, provided an update on the development of the Midkine mRNA and STAT-6 siRNA programs. ROQ said it has made significant progress across its pre-clinical drug development programs in Q4 2023 and in Q1 2024. First with the MK cell program announced in February 2024 and today, with the results with our Midkine mRNA and STAT-6 siRNA programs.

Comment: It is clear that ROQ is making progress, and perhaps now the mission is to communicate what Midkine Mrna et al is, and what the addressable market may be.

Union Jack Oil (UJO), a UK and USA focused onshore hydrocarbon production company, announced that a drilling contract has been signed with a local contractor, groundworks have been completed and a spud date on or around 20 March 2024. UJO said it was delighted to be able to announce the imminent spudding of our first drilling venture with Reach, in Seminole County, Oklahoma, USA. The Andrews-1-17 well has a high chance of success and if proven commercial could be in production within literally weeks from spudding.  Similar low-cost development wells nearby, typically produce initially at approximately 150 barrels of oil and over 200 thousand cubic feet of gas per day and can provide rapid pay-back within six months.

Comment: As stated previously, it would appear that UJO is moving rather faster in the US than in the UK. One would be looking to see the company scale up in terms of production as soon as possible.

Hornby (HRN), the international models and collectibles Group, announced the acquisition of the assets, trade and intellectual property of The Corgi Model Club from Blue 14, an investment vehicle majority-owned by entrepreneur Jim Lewcock.  The management of CMC is joining Hornby, with Guy Stainthorpe appointed as the Brand MD of Corgi. HRN said bringing the Corgi Model Club subscription proposition into the Hornby business makes complete sense and it anticipates driving further growth both domestically and internationally over the coming months and years. Furthermore, the immediate addition of over 6,000 die-hard Corgi collectors represents a great opportunity for creating additional value in the Corgi mother brand. This is an exciting development both for Corgi and for the Hornby business overall.

Comment: This deal could be regarded as the kind of stroke of genius that the late Sir John Harvey Jones might have recommended. One might have been forgiven for thinking that this deal would have been done years ago.