Here are today’s notable ASX small cap gainers and decliners at 1pm AEDT Wednesday.

The ASX Small Ords was up 4 points at 2,743 by 12.30pm AEDT.

GOING UP

Range Resources (ASX:RRS)

Oil and gas explorer Range jumped 67 per cent by 1pm AEDT Wednesday after winning a contract with a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell.

Range will start the 10-day onshore project at Shell’s operations in Trinidad.

“We are extremely pleased to have secured a contract with one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world,” said Range boss Yan Liu.

“We are also encouraged to see that the recent oil price recovery is having a favourable impact on activities in the sector.

“Having the benefit of one of the most efficient and modern rig fleets in the market, we are aiming to capitalise on this recovering market by securing further contract work and establishing a solid client base during 2018.”

Range shares were trading at 0.5c by lunch, with 37.5 million shares changing hands.

Ferrum Crescent (FCR:ASX)

European lead and zinc explorer Ferrum put on 50 per cent to 0.2c by 1pm AEDT after announcing it would raise £1 million ($1.8 million) to scope out its Toral lead and zinc project in northern Spain.

FCR wants to build on the project’s maiden zinc, lead and silver resource estimate of 16Mt at 6.9 per cent zinc equivalent and 25 g/t of silver.

The work will include an 8-hole drilling program.

Ferrum is planning to change its name to Europa Metals.

Whitebark Energy (ASX:WBE)

Whitebark gained 29 per cent to 0.9c by lunch after announcing a $1.9 million Canadian oil and gas acquisition been approved by the local courts.

The new asset — now producing the equivalent of 450 barrels of oil per day (boe/d) — increased the existing project’s daily production by more than 30 per cent, the company said.

“Over the last nine months we have demonstrated we have the capability to identify and execute value-adding transactions,” said Whitebark MD David Messina.

“We remain focused on growing both production and reserves in Canada as long as the acquisition metrics remain attractive.”

Atrum Coal (ASX:ATU)

Atrum climbed 27 per cent to 14c by 1pm AEDT after completing the first stage of an $8 million capital raising.

Atrum plans to raise another $4.6 million for a total of $12.6 million.

The money will be used to buy a Canadian coking coal project called Elan — and get started on an exploration program including drilling and resource delineation.

Atrum has identified a resource estimate of 7Mt indicated and 29Mt inferred, with a total exploration target of 200Mt.

Clover Corporation (ASX:CLV)

China-focused infant formula exporter Clover gained 23 per cent to 78.5c by 1pm AEDT after reporting a jump in half-year profit and revenue and declaring an interim dividend of 0.5c per share.

The Chinese market for infant formula “continues to improve with little change in Chinese regulations over the past six months providing manufacturers with the confidence to produce and deliver into China”, the company said.

Clover’s profit jumped 209 per cent to $3.2 million for the six months to January. Revenue was up 60 per cent at $31 million.

“Clover has benefited from the culmination of three years’ work across the business to deliver new products to market, improved manufacturing and efficiencies through volume and raw material supply,” the company said.

There had been “a concerted effort to take products into new territories and market segments without losing focus on the traditional infant formula market”.

Here are the top ten ASX small cap gainers at 12pm AEDT Wednesday:

ASX Code Name Price change today (by Wed 12pm AEDT) Price (Wed 12pm AEDT) Today's volume
RRS RANGE RESOURCES 0.6666667 0.005 37525470
FCR FERRUM CRESCENT 0.5 0.0015 11050000
BDI BLINA MINERALS NL 0.5 0.0015 2142525
SSN SAMSON OIL & GAS 0.5 0.0015 2300000
EXO ENNOX GROUP 0.3333333 0.004 135000
ATU ATRUM COAL 0.3181818 0.145 850066
WBE WHITEBARK ENERGY 0.2857143 0.009 607985
XPE XPED 0.25 0.005 7243093
ZYB ZYBER HOLDINGS 0.2352941 0.021 5942198
CLV CLOVER CORP 0.2109375 0.775 729867

GOING DOWN

BioGene Technology (ASX:BGT)

Newly floated mozzie-killer BioGene has suffered a set-back — sending it shares plummeting as low as 9.8c compared to its offer price of 20c last year.

The shares had recovered to 13c — down 24 per cent — at 1pm AEDT Wednesday.

Bio-Gene has been developing two products targeted at different segments of the insecticide market: Flavocide and Qcide.

Flavocide is a chemically synthesised product based on a molecule found in Australian eucalypt, the Gympie Messmate. Qcide is designed as an organic product incorporating oil extracted from the same tree.

Bio-Gene had been working with French animal health company Virbac to explore the use of Flavocide to protect cattle from ticks and buffalo fly.

But after early data from “initial and rudimentary field studies” Virbac was now “unlikely to proceed with developing products with Flavocide at this stage”, BioGene said.

Bio-Gene boss Richard Jagger said: “While Virbac’s likely position is disappointing, its opinion does not diminish our commitment to continue our testing regime to develop the range of commercial opportunities offered by BioGene’s technology.”

Dart Mining (ASX:DTM) 

Lithium explorer Dart fell 22 per cent to 0.7c after revealing disappointing results from its investigation of pegmatite-bearing dykes in north-east Victoria.

Pegmatites are rocks formed from lava or magma that are the primary source of lithium.

In April last year Dart’s boss James Chirnside said: “The lithium assay [test] data from the small number of exploration samples taken, demonstrate the enormous prospectivity of the Dorchap dyke swarm.”

But today Dart announced “preliminary interpretation of the incomplete results so far available is that those relatively few dykes sampled are unlikely to contain lithium mineralisation of economic interest”.

Nevertheless, Dart told investors it was “encouraged” by field observations and was “expanding and accelerating its lithium exploration program”.

Moreton Resources (ASX:MRV)

Moreton — which took on the job of restarting an idle Queensland silver project amid contamination concerns — fell 18 per cent to 0.9c after getting hit with a requirment to lodge a “financial assurance” bond of $11,524,259.

The Queensland government requires miners to lodge the assurance to protect against those who might “walk away from their responsibilities if they choose to shut down their operations”.

Moreton is now off to the Queensland Land Court to lodge an appeal — expected within the next few weeks.

Here are the main ASX small cap decliners at 12pm AEDT Wednesday:

ASX Code Name Price change today (by Wed 12pm AEDT) Price (Wed 12pm AEDT) Today's volume
MEM MEMPHASYS -0.5 0.001 1200000
BGT BIO-GENE TECHNOLOGY -0.3235294 0.115 896054
MNB MINBOS RESOURCES -0.25 0.003 500000
RNL RISION -0.25 0.003 13469627
DTM DART MINING -0.2222222 0.007 5634188
WRM WHITE ROCK MINERALS -0.2 0.012 4929508
SMA SMARTTRANS HOLDINGS -0.2 0.004 1793000
IPB IPB PETROLEUM -0.1818182 0.009 200000
MRV MORETON RESOURCES -0.1818182 0.009 6267316
SFM SANTA FE MINERALS -0.1764706 0.14 20000
PIQ PROTEOMICS INTERNATIONAL LAB -0.106383 0.21 2000
ELO ELMO SOFTWARE -0.1060606 5.9 77517
SRI SIPA RESOURCES -0.10 0.009 1255500