CLOSING BELL: It’s a -0.4% Monday, Bloody Monday despite knockout REE results for Metal Hawk
It’s been a really up and down day for the ASX, which is lurching between bad and not-quite-so bad like a drunk on his way to the last pub with the lights still on.
From the initial -0.5% drag at open, the needle’s jumped hither and thither no fewer than 17 times, ending the day on a thither stroke, leaving the market down 0.4%.
But first, a quick update (and a small confession…) due to a scheduling conflict today, I pre-wrote a large part of Lunch Wrap today – and then missed a rather crucial piece of information relating to the headline news story of Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk reportedly due to do battle in a UFC cage in Las Vegas.
It turns out that the fight – which would have been as lopsided as Elon’s grotesque dad-bod – will probably not be going ahead, because Elon’s mum won’t let him.
No joking. Fight with words only. In armchairs. 4 feet apart. The funniest person wins.🤗😂 https://t.co/MpgFZmspP2
— Maye Musk (@mayemusk) June 22, 2023
How she made the logical jump from “No joking” to “funniest person wins” in just 40 characters on Twitter is beyond me, but it certainly gives the Tesla CEO an out, once he realises that his mouth is writing cheques that probably should remain uncashed, if only for everyone’s sanity.
Anyway – onto the important stuff of the day, which is just how and why the ASX has had another dose of the downers.
InfoTech is back at the top of the leaderboard, well above the rest of the market on 0.7% with a reasonably solid across-the-board rally that I can’t really pin on any particular stock.
At the expensive end of the segment, results were fairly well mixed – Altium (ASX:ALU) and Data#3 (ASX:DTL) posted sub-1.0% gains, but the usual faces that crop up here like Life360 (ASX:360) and the always-amusing Dicker Data (ASX:DDR) were both well down against the overall InfoTech trend.
Discretionary and Real Estate were the only other two sectors in the green, however – and so it was that Financials, Utilities, Staples and Health Care combined to weigh the broader market down throughout the day.
The Materials sector, which led off the bloodletting early in the day, has recovered somewhat throughout the session – and, as it quite often the case, it’s among the Materials Small Cappers that the bulk of the day’s top performers are found.
Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:
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There is zero doubt that the day belonged to Metal Hawk (ASX:MHK), which climbed more than 140% on news that the company has hit wide zones of Rare Earth Element (REE) saprolite enrichment identified from maiden aircore drilling program at Fraser South.
The results are pretty juicy, including:
On top of that, the company reports that the mineralised intervals have an average of 20.5% Magnetic Rare Earth Oxides (MREO), and that the high grades of up to 4120ppm Total Rare Earth Element Oxides (TREO) 1 from 4m composite sampling confirms regional prospectivity.
Ragnar Metals (ASX:RAG) has had a very busy day on the announcements board, which saw it gain 35% throughout the session.
There was a lot to unpack – no less than 5 market-moving announcements in the space of 90 seconds, plus a couple of pages of pointless ASX busywork – but the gist of it is (with thanks to Reubs) this:
Sweden-focused RAG had been quiet in 2023, until today, when it snapped up four lithium and REE projects and unloaded the ‘Tullsta’ nickel assets to mining major BHP for $9.8m.
The lightly explored ‘Halleberget’ and ‘Bergom’ hard rock lithium projects include low grade, but promising, surface sampling results like up to 0.473% Li2O, 196 ppm Ta and 4.48% Sn.
The ‘Olserum’ and ‘Gruvhagen’ REE projects come with historical exploration results of up to 3.7% TREO, including very high heavy REE and Nd/Pr ratios.
Meanwhile, the company will sell its more advanced Tullsta project, also in Sweden, to mining behemoth BHP for a tidy $9.8m. RAG will retain a 1% smelter royalty, which BHP can buy for another $10m.
And in third (or second – it’s neck and neck at the end of the day) place is limestone explorer Cassius Mining (ASX:CMD), which has reported that 80% of drill assays from the ‘Soalara’ limestone project in Madagascar have returned an average grade of 97.44% calcium carbonate, classifying it as “high purity” limestone.
High (97-98.5%) to very high purity (+98.5%) limestone sequences remain open at 100m depth in all 9 holes, the company says, which has investors excited enough to drive up its price a tidy 35% for the day.
“With all nine vertical core holes to date confirming flat-bedded geology, encountering multiple thick sequences of Limestone at very shallow depths in every single hole in the two highest categories of purity and remaining open at depth in every hole, we are extremely optimistic on the future success of the project,” Cassius CEO James Arkoudis says.
“With the initial MRE scheduled for July, we are confident the outcome will raise many options for our forward work program, including consideration of development plans with or without potential JV partners.”
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Ventia Services (ASX:VNT) has scored a five-year contract with the Department of Defence, expected to deliver revenue of approximately $393 million to Ventia over the next five years, with a possible contract extension of a further 5 years.
The contract will see Ventia working with Joint Logistics Command to play an important role in supporting Australian Defence Force units preparing for and returning from operations and exercises, helping to ensure the availability and safe working order of unit-allocated and pooled Defence materiel.
Ventia Group Executive – Defence and Social Infrastructure, Derek Osborn said this award is “a testament to the strong partnership and shared forward thinking between Ventia and the Commonwealth”.
“Our track record of delivering diverse maintenance services, our expertise in workforce management and demonstrated strong performance as a long-term Commonwealth partner were key elements in the award of this contract,” Osborn says. “We’re proud of the collaborative partnership we have with Defence and are delighted to continue redefining service excellence on this important contract.”
Elsewhere, Eclipse Metals (ASX:EPM) dropped an announcement this morning that appears to have garnered some attention, as the company has since retracted it on the basis that the lab analysis wasn’t quite up to scratch.
Today’s release was “in relation to laboratory analysis currently underway of trench samples collected at Grønnedal in October 2022”.
“The Company advises it retracts the announcement in its entirety as laboratory results remain incomplete as the Company awaits re-analysis by the lab using methods appropriate for measuring higher limits of neodymium and associated interpretation,” the retraction reads.
“Accordingly, investors should not rely on the previous announcement.”
Sacgasco (ASX:SGC) – Capital raising.
Blue Star Helium (ASX:BNL) – Gas processing agreement announcement.
Stavely Minerals (ASX:SVY) – Capital raising.
Kairos Minerals (ASX:KAI) – Capital raising.
Encounter Resources (ASX:ENR) – Material exploration results from its Aileron Project in the West Arunta.
Raiden Resources (ASX:RDN) – Acquisition of additional ground around its Roebourne Project.
Titomic (ASX: TTT) – Capital raising.
Quantum Graphite (ASX:QGL) – Thermal testing on samples of Uley Graphite results to report.