Traders Cafe with Zak Mir: Altona, Argo Blockchain, Caracal, Deltic, Fulham Shore, IQ-AI, Katora, SolGold, Yourgene
It is full steam ahead on the NHS pandemic gravy train for molecular diagnostic group Yourgene (YGEN), as it announced that a Contract Award Notice has been published in relation to its contract with the Department of Health & Social Care for the provision of laboratory capacity to the NHS Test and Trace Programme for COVID-19 testing. This uses Yourgene's automated COVID-19 services testing laboratory in Citylabs 1.0, Manchester. The final contract notice value of £34m is the maximum estimated value of the contract.
There was a trading update from casual dining group Fulham Shore (FUL) as it said group revenues for all restaurants have increased 27% compared to the equivalent period in the 2019 calendar year. This compares to the 8% average increase for the eight weeks ended 15 August 2021 announced in the Final Results. Although still down on 2019 levels, the company continues to see a week-by-week improvement in footfall and revenues as tourists and office workers have started to return.
Although one might have thought that crypto miner Argo Blockchain (ARB) can just generate cash at will, the latest here is that it has entered into a £18.05m loan agreement with a maturity date of 29 October 2021 with Galaxy Digital LP, using a portion of the Company's Bitcoin holding as collateral. The Company's outstanding loan with Galaxy Digital of £14m will be rolled into the new loan agreement, resulting in a total outstanding principal amount of £32.05m. The proceeds of the loan will be used to continue the build out of Argo’s West Texas data centre and to meet operating cash flow requirements.
AIM quoted natural resources investing company Deltic Energy (DELT) said that following the recent Farm Out with Cairn Energy (CNE) in relation to five of Deltic's gas licences in the Southern North Sea, the acquisition of 3D seismic data over Licence P2428 and surrounding areas has commenced. Deltic has been informed by ION Geophysical that the seismic vessel, under contract to ION, has mobilised to site with survey commencement expected on 11 September 2021.
Rare Earths mining company Altona (ANR) unveiled it has raised, via a significantly over-subscribed placing, £1.25m at a premium to the current share price. This underlines that the company is currently loved by investors, helped along by its proposed move to the LSE from Aquis. Altona said groundwork operations at its Monte Muambe Project in Northwest Mozambique, and exploration drilling is expected to commence before the end of September.
Stock market newbie and gold producer with operations in East Africa, Caracal Gold (GCAT) updated on operations at its producing Kilimapesa Gold Mining and Processing Operations in Kenya. The company said it is fast-tracking a mid-term optimisation plan focused on increasing gold production to 25,000oz p.a. Its exploration programmes are aimed at increasing its JORC compliant resources to +2Moz, with initial trenching of shallow open pit areas initiated, the acquisition of its RC and DD drills, and in-house drilling teams established to accelerate exploration activities. Perhaps the icing on the cake though, was the revelation that discussions regarding the potential acquisition of previously identified major gold assets in East Africa are progressing at pace.
Given that the market does not usually appreciate delay, it will be interesting to see what reaction there will be at IQ-AI (IQAI). It said the Gallium Maltolate phase I clinical trial will now commence towards the end of Q4 2021, as a consequence of a change in the trial agent's encapsulation supplier. The company said that while the selection and qualification process will result in a delay, securing and establishing a robust supply chain now will benefit subsequent trial phases and support high-volume production capacity. Overall though, the trial continues to advance at a remarkable pace and has obtained all regulatory and institutional milestones as scheduled.
Gold and nickel exploration and development company, Katoro Gold (KAT) announced its unaudited results for the six months ended 30 June 2021. The company said it is currently in the processes of compiling a comprehensive funding package in accordance with the Blyvoor Joint Venture that will allow the construction, commissioning and operation of a mining and processing facility capable of processing 500,000 tonnes of tailings material per month, at an average Life of Mine gold grade of 0.29 g/t and confirmed recovery of 51%, before incorporating recovery gains from the latest metallurgical optimization tests.
SolGold (SOLG) updated on its Tandayama-Ameríca (TAM) porphyry copper-gold deposit. The company said additional copper and gold mineralisation at TAM will add to the already impressive metal inventory at Cascabel. Drilling results at TAM to date, and preliminary work utilising Leapfrog GEO and EDGE software is revealing a prospective bi-modal resource that appears amenable to both bulk surface mining methods as well as bulk underground mining methods. The potential upside of higher-grade depth extensions beneath TAM is also adding exciting possibilities to the still growing Cascabel project.
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