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Yesterday Xtract Resources (XTR) announced the preliminary unaudited results for gold production for the Fair Bride deposit and other mining within the Manica Concession in Mozambique, for the three-month period ended 30 June 2023. XTR said it continues to work with and encourage the Operator to achieve sustainability and excellence with a view to reducing mine costs to below $1,000 per ounce which it feels is achievable against all of the critical parameters of the operation. The Company continues to monitor the operation and where appropriate insist on statutory and legal adherence and similarly to improve administrative and financial reporting and contractual obligations where appropriate to the benefit of all stakeholders.

Comment: Given that there has recently been a spike in the gold price, and that XTR is looking to reduce its costs to below $1,000 per ounce, one would have thought that for this alone the shares would be rather higher up in the range than they are currently.

Alkemy Capital (ALK) announced that international investment banking and broking firm, VSA Capital, has published an updated research note on the Company. VSA said the progress is positive and as yet the market has not priced in success. It continues to believe that the company’s strategy positions it to achieve these major milestones that would unlock significant value and expedite the project financing process and options. Currently, little of the recent progress in terms of engineering studies, planning permission and feedstock has been reflected in the share price. It reiterated its Speculative Buy recommendation and increased its target price to £15.30/sh.

Comment: One does not have to be VSA to realise the progress that ALK has made, with strong management delivering regular, significant newsflow. Indeed, it should be said that it is not “little” of the recent progress which is in the share price, but none of it. Remember also, recent director buying was above current share price levels.

Cordel Group (CRDL), the Artificial Intelligence platform for transport corridor analytics, announces it has been awarded a contract for data capture and analysis with Network Rail (High Speed) Ltd, which maintains the railway infrastructure for High Speed One (HS1). CRDL said it was delighted to continue to expand its important work with Network Rail (High Speed), whereby its technology delivers vital insights to meet their very high engineering standards.  Cordel has now captured and processed data across nearly 500,000 miles of international railway lines, resulting in an unmatched depth of AI learning and data management experience.

Comment: It is a shame that all of CRDL’s technology is sitting on what is predominantly only a 20th century standard UK rail system.

Belluscura (BELL), a medical device developer focused on lightweight and portable oxygen enrichment technology, announced that early results on the two-month-old direct to consumer program have exceeded the Board’s initial expectations. BELL said it was very excited about the new direct-to consumer sales program. It has identified a potentially significant sales opportunity that not only benefits the Company, but underrepresented patients as well.

Comment: It is perhaps surprising that BELL has only just been struck by the idea of B2C when this might have been a logical first step move.

Cornerstone FS (CSFS), a foreign exchange and payments solutions company, provided an unaudited update on trading. The company said it was continuing to experience excellent trading momentum. It is executing higher value transactions and with a greater number of active customers, which is being driven by its enhanced sales efforts and focus on more fully commercialising its platform. At the same time, it is carefully managing its cost base as we grow. Accordingly, it looks forward to reporting better than expected revenue and adjusted EBITDA for FY 2023, and the Board continues to have great confidence in the future of the Group.

Comment: CSFS has had a triple win, being a recovery situation in a bear market, having managed a fundamental turnaround, and surprising the market with the strength of its rebound.

Concurrent Technology (CNC) the operational board have taken the recent weakness at 67p price to top-up with 638,627 options between them at 1p. CNC supplies mission critical, high performance and rugged computer products and systems sold mainly to the military and defence which account for 73% of sales with the rest to the telecommunication and aerospace sectors. A funding for a US acquisition supplying the US Military  in August 2023, seems well timed and it  raised £6.6m at 65p, mainly with institutions but a small retail offer.  The historic P/E earnings valuation is 50x with no Interims dividend however it could be resume at the finals.

Comment: It is a robust sector in a war zone and although strong growth is priced there seems longer term attractions.

GreenRoc Mining (GROC), a company focused on the development of critical minerals projects in Greenland, noted the recent decision by the Chinese government to implement export restrictions on graphite, a critical component in electric vehicle batteries. GROC said China’s decision to impose export restrictions on graphite underscores the critical need to establish secure supply chains by boosting domestic, non-Chinese production capability, which is less vulnerable to market shocks and geopolitical events. The targeted nature of these export restrictions, focused only on battery-grade graphite while excluding conventional low-purity graphite material, should be of concern to everyone engaged in the energy transition.

Comment: It is interesting that our authoritarian friends in China have actually done companies like GreenRoc today, and Tirupati yesterday a favour with their draconian export restriction move. This is likely to be just the start of the positive read across in terms of the world weaning itself off such dependence on the CCP.

Bradda Head Lithium (BHL), the North America-focused lithium development group, announced receipt of the $2.5 million payment from the Lithium Royalty Corporation upon confirmation of the MRE surpassing 1.0Mt Lithium Carbonate Equivalent at the Company’s Basin Project, Arizona. BHL said the receipt of its first royalty payment is a significant event, substantiating the Company’s confidence in its resource size and demonstrating the value of the Basin project, in particular. Following this, it is confident in proving up more than 2.5Mt of resource and triggering the final royalty payment of $3 million from LRC. The Company said it hopes to have news on the San Domingo pegmatite project within the next few weeks as preliminary results have started to arrive.

Comment: One would venture to suggest that none of the current valuation of BHL includes the royalty payment aspect, nor of course the sizzle that San Domingo is likely to deliver shortly.

Beowulf (BEM) provided an update on recent activity at the Kallak Iron Ore project and the plan for its further advancement. BEM said work is ramping up at the Kallak project. The environmental baseline studies, including monitoring sound, vibration, surface water, and natural values continues, building up the required data for the EIA and Environmental Permit application. In addition, the strategic review of the project is nearing completion. A significant advantage of the Kallak iron ore project is the potential to produce a very high- grade, low impurity concentrate.

Comment: It is perhaps a shame that even by current stock market standards BEM is off the radar and unloved, despite the very high grade iron ore project it is sitting on with regard to Kallak.

Phoenix Copper (PXC), the AIM-quoted USA-focused base and precious metals company, provided an update on the 2023 Navarre Creek exploratory drilling programme in Idaho, USA. PXC said it has received the initial assay results from its 2023 Navarre Creek exploratory drilling program, the first drilling program to be conducted on the property.  28 RC holes were completed at four different target areas within the 3,577-acre claim block. However, gold values from the first target area, comprised of seven holes along the strike of the Lehman Creek fault, show a clearly defined low-grade gold bearing zone that is continuous across each drill hole.

Comment: Hands up all of those who were expecting funding news after the recent PXC share price bump. Presumably today’s Navarre Creek update is just an hors-d’œuvre.

Aterian (ATN), the critical and strategic metal-focused exploration and development company, has received notice from Rio Tinto that the Company has met the required conditions to initiate the lithium-focused Earn-In Investment and JV agreement in the Republic of Rwanda . Rio Tinto has confirmed that all the conditions subsequent to the Agreement have been met and the joint venture is now effective. ATN said since announcing our lithium joint venture with Rio Tinto, much progress has been made in preparation for the exploration at the HCK site in southern Rwanda. It can now begin exploring the LCT pegmatite swarm and the 19 identified zones across the 2,750-hectare HCK site.

Comment: One assumes that the lack of share price positivity in ATN to date after the Rio JV news was announced derived from the waiting game as far as all the conditions being met, which we have today. Now there appears to be little excuse for a share price log jam.