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Neometals (NMT) announced successful completion of the purification phase of its Lithium Chemical pilot trial. The Purification Testwork, conducted on a brine feed source, has confirmed earlier bench-scale testing by removing >97% of brine feed source impurities. This supports production of a purified brine solution that sits comfortably within specification for subsequent electrolysis stage of the Company’s majority owned ELi™ process. ELi™ has several advantages over conventional processes including lower operating expenditures by substituting electricity for chemical reagents, higher product purity and a smaller CO2 footprint.

Comment: NMT remains a fraction of the market cap of several hundred millions it had as recently as this time of year, with the market clearly not understanding the merits of its ELi™ process, which in itself is a company maker. Using the Gold Rush analogy, NMT makes the picks and shovels of the battery metals industry, in the extremely green conscious age we are in.

ValiRx (VAL), a life science company, has entered into an agreement with StingRay Bio Limited to investigate a lead series of drug candidates for use in oncology. The company said it is hugely exciting to have another evaluation agreement commencing, particularly one such as this which has a high pedigree of medicinal chemistry behind it to build the lead series of molecules for it to continue its optimisation.

Comment: The recent stirrings of the VAL share price underline the way that the company is getting its fundamental act together. The question is whether it has enough of  financial runway to get over the line? Deals like today’s could be the way forward.

Helium One Global (HE1), the primary helium explorer in Tanzania, provides the following update on Tai-3 operations. The Company’s Epiroc Predator 220 drilling rig has encountered an issue with the hydraulic system which, as a result, is affecting the performance of the iron rough neck mechanism. Both the hydraulic system and the iron rough neck are critical to the operations of the rig and, as a result of this, the Company has had to temporarily shut down operations whilst the full extent of the issue is determined. The company said whilst this delay is frustrating not only for the team, but also for its shareholders, it is hugely encouraged by the initial results from Tai-3 and it is looking forward to a full and positive well evaluation as soon as this issue is resolved.

Comment: Those who took a punt on HE1 yesterday, pushing it through 6p may be somewhat disappointed. However, we have already had enough hiccups on the company’s big helium reveal that most will probably take today’s predicable RNS in their stride.

Warpaint London (W7L), the specialist supplier of colour cosmetics and owner of the W7 and Technic brands, provide an update on current trading. The company said Group sales for the year ending 31 December 2023 are now expected to be at least £85 million (2022: £64.1 million), with the key pre-Christmas sales period for the Group still ongoing.  The Group’s gross product margin remains robust and continues to be at a level in excess of that achieved in 2022.  Profit before tax for the year ending 31 December 2023 is now expected to be in excess of £16 million (2022: £7.7 million).

Comment: Warpaint is without doubt one of the best companies on the London stock market, something that alas these days is not quite the accolade it used to be. Brilliantly run, and in an evergreen market, one almost feels compelled to go out and buy the necessary to deliver a David Bowie Lightning Bolt.

Dekel Agri-Vision (DKL), the West African agriculture company, provided an October 2023 monthly production update for its Ayenouan palm oil project in Côte d’Ivoire. The company said that with two months left in 2023 and a strong start to November, the Palm Oil Operation remains well on track to exceed CPO production, Revenue and EBITDA compared to 2022 and it looks forward to reporting a strong finish to the year.

Comment: Those already following Dekel will know that the company on the CPO front has already reached escape velocity, and that we are looking at this business alone being a cash cow for the company.

Challenger Energy (CEG), the Caribbean and Americas focused oil and gas company, with a range of oil production, development, appraisal, and exploration assets in the region, is pleased to advise that consistent with the terms of the short-term bridge loan (as per announcement of 27 October 2023), part of the proceeds from completion of the transaction for the sale of the Cory Moruga licence (as per announcement of 7 November 2023), have been applied to repayment of the bridge loan. Consequently, the short-term bridge loan has been fully discharged resulting in the Company becoming debt-free.

Comment: We now know why there have been positive stirrings in the Challenger Energy share price in recent days: the company is now debt. Well “guessed.”

Physiomics (PYC), a mathematical modelling company, supporting development of oncology drugs and personalised medicine solutions, announced that it has been awarded a grant by Innovate UK and The Office for Life Sciences as part of the UK Government’s Advancing Precision Medicine programme. The company said it was delighted to have won its fourth Innovate UK award, which it believes is a testimony to the innovative culture of its company.

Comment: While one would imagine that only 1 in 100 stock market watchers actually understand the mathematical modelling that PYC engages in, this has not prevented the stock being an outperformer since the summer, helped by the grant fest from our apparently loaded eye wateringly high taxes Government.

Neo Energy Metals (NEO), the near term, low-cost uranium developer, announced that it has raised £500,000 by way of a Subscription, at a price of 1.25 pence per Ordinary Share. This is in addition to the share placings described in the Company’s prospectus published on 2 October 2023 and First Day of Dealings RNS announced on 9 November 2023.

Comment: Just in case anyone was wondering what the primary reason for companies coming to the stock market, Neo Energy Metals, raises in the aftermath of the first day of dealings yesterday. Clearly, it has learnt the lesson that junior miners should always be as well funded as possible.