• ASX 200 has touched a new high-water mark for 2022
  • Aussie Government sets aside $1.2 billion for Phase One of the national space mission
  • Major movers today: Culpeo Minerals, Tesoro Resources, Latin Resources

 

The ASX 200 has touched a new high-water mark for 2022, after a pro-spending Federal Budget and some strong backing of largely the tech sector, with a bit of health and consumer stock support thrown in for good measure.

The benchmark 200 is up about 0.6% and the ASX Emerging Companies index is good for 0.3%.

There’s been a fair bit of post-Budget back-slapping – all well and good – but this one fears the government’s excitement over Budget stuff has pretty much overshadowed its recent other excitement over the space stuff.

Not just the right stuff it announced last week, but big budget space stuff it announced last night.

That’s a bit of a shame because not very many people have stopped to digest the $1.2 billion the government has put aside – $1.16 billion to 2038 and $38.5 million a year, ongoing – for Phase One of the National Space Mission. (Upper cases are my own)

Luckily Australian Space Agency chief Enrico Palermo did not:

Enrico is declaring the massive budget windfall a total victory for the Australian civil space industry.

In the parlance of the age, it’s taking us to the ‘next level.’

The National Space Mission for Earth Observation (upper cases not my own) is now cashed up and good to go for a decade and a half, allowing it to focus on improving sovereign capability in designing, building and launching all kinds of sophisticated satellites from Australia to above Australia.

The aim of the cash bonanza is to make Australia a more self-sufficient space bunch when it comes to critical Earth Observation data, while also growing a bit of do-it-yourself-capability as well as a lot of space job opportunities which will set the industry up.

And that’s exactly what Mission One is. Leveraging an anticipated supplier network of more than 100 companies from across Australia will help our guys are going to design, build and operate four new 100% Aussie-made and Aussie-owned satellites.

 

The other space budget stuff you missed:

  • $65.7 million over five years from the current financial year to “set the conditions for rocket launch from Australia” and to fast track the launch of space assets and research projects by Australian businesses and researchers
  • $12.1 million over five years (and $300k per year ongoing) to remove cost recovery requirements under the Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018 and undertake a regulatory reform program to streamline interactions with industry
  • $9.5 million over two years to develop a Space Strategic Update to provide direction on future funding opportunities and align Australia’s space efforts
  • $3 million to extend the International Space Investment initiative and continue building relationships with international space agencies
  • $25.2 million to expand the International Space Investment initiative and provide funding for Australian businesses and research organisations to work on projects with the Indian Space Research Organisation and the broader Indian space sector.

Science and Tech Minister Melissa Price called the program the most significant investment ever made in Australia’s civil space sector. One that’ll hardwire space stuff into our sovereign capability.

We’ve got our eyes on a gaggle of space sector small caps like this one. You probably should too.

 

TODAY’S BIGGEST SMALL CAP WINNERS

(Stocks highlighted in yellow rose after making announcements during the trading day).

Scroll or swipe to reveal table. Click headings to sort.

Not much gets the heat rising inside the dark heart of our West Coast deputy editor Reuben Adams, but for some reason copper can. And today the copper-showstopper (and our third of the week) is Culpeo Minerals (ASX:CPO).

Like the two before it, COP smacked into the copper motherlode – also in its very first drillhole at the ‘Lana Corina’ project in Chile. It’s up about 112%. (On Monday, Tempest Minerals (ASX:TEM) jumped circa 265% after doing exactly the same at ‘Orion’.

Oh, and on Tuesday, newly listed Recharge Metals (ASX:REC) ran headlong into 300m of copper mineralisation in drilling at its West Aussie flagship ‘Brandy Hill South’ project.

And remember, Culpeo only got all ASX-y in September, listing on the 10th with a couple of porphyry projects, and only got its hands on 80% of Lana Corina earlier this month.

Still underground – and Cosmo Metals (ASX:CMO) is having a good dig, 3,000m of it in fact as it kicks off at CMO’s twin ‘Mt Venn’ and ‘Eastern Mafic’ copper-nickel projects also in the Greatest State.

The program is expected to take about three weeks and looks to back up resource studies after a previous drill program completed in late 2021 returned several wide, higher-grade intersections of…  (pauses, cleans glasses, sighs. puts them back on end of nose, continues…) copper.

More high-grade lithium from Brazil for Latin Resources (ASX:LRS) peaking at 3.22%. Ore grade is usually around 1%, so it’s the really good stuff.

First assay results from the initial two drill holes at the ‘Southern Target’ area of the ‘Salinas’ project “have confirmed a potential new high-grade lithium discovery”, the company said.

Tesoro Resources (ASX: TSO) has nailed some ‘sensational’ intercepts – the best to date – from its flagship El Zorro gold project in Chile.

Diamond drill assays returned “multiple wide gold intercepts from high-grade, strike-extensive zones which remain open at depth and to the south.” Shares are climbing higher at lunch.

Firefinch (ASX:FFX) is up well into double digits as the goldie continues to unpack the monster inside the Morila gold mine in Mali, it’s now secured a mining licence for its Finkola permit, allowing work to begin at the Beledjo-Koting deposit, the fourth satellite ore source for Firefinch to feed the Morila mill.

Beledjo-Koting contains an ore reserve of 20,000oz including 0.63Mt at 0.98g/t gold, with inferred and indicated resources of 0.93Mt at 1.01g/t for 30,000oz of gold.

 

TODAY’S BIGGEST SMALL CAP LOSERS

(Stocks highlighted in yellow fell after making announcements during the trading day).

Scroll or swipe to reveal table. Click headings to sort.

Still getting smacked about after lunch – brave oil explorer 88 Energy (ASX:88E) down hard after it flagged a bad drill result out at its Alaskan tenements.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

It might be easy to drink, but alas, it takes a long time to make a good whisky – which is a problem for cashflow for producers, but Mighty Craft Limited (ASX:MCL) thinks it may have the answer.
The company announced it will develop The Whisky Development Syndicate (WDS) as a separate entity, seeking to raise up to $10 million to accelerate “whisky production and the spirits growth agenda in a capital efficient manner”.
Mighty Craft said the syndicate will mitigate the working capital challenge that whisky presents, due to the three to five year maturation period before inventory can be realised via eventual sales.
Cybersecurity player Cipherpoint (ASX:CPT) has announced two new cyber services for small to medium businesses (SMBs) and local governments.
The company will establish a managed cybersecurity service for SMBs, which it says will be an affordable, automated solution both to reduce attack surface and to manage, detect and respond to threats that may impact daily operations.
Cipherpoint will also develop a multi-tenant managed security service for local governments to leverage common cybersecurity services without the overheads of hiring and supporting their own cyber personnel.
Engineering mob SRG Global (ASX:SRG) has announced its agreement to buy WA-based WBHO Infrastructure out of voluntary administration for $15.2 million will complete tomorrow following a successful meeting of creditors today.
“We are pleased to see our proposal get the support of creditors and look forward to integrating the WBHO infrastructure WA business into our operations as seamlessly as possible,” SRG Global Managing Director David MacGeorge said.
First Au (ASX:FAU) has announced that it has been granted four exploration licences at its VicGold project in East Gippsland in Victoria.  FirstAus said the granted licences constitute a substantial increase in area for the project and collectively contain numerous, highly prospective prospects.
These include the Dogwood Porphyry Copper-Molybdenum project, the greater Haunted Stream area, the Birregun Orogenic Au, the Dargo High Plains Deep Leads Au projects and open westerly extension to the Snowstorm project.

TRADING HALTS

Air New Zealand Limited (ASX: AIZ) –  trading halt, pending an announcement on recapitalisation plans

Winsome Resources Limited (ASX:WR1) – trading halt, pending an announcement regarding a capital raising

Musgrave Minerals Limited (ASX:MGV) –  trading halt, pending an announcement regarding a capital raising

TasFoods Limited (ASX: TFL) –  trading halt, pending an announcement regarding a capital raising