Good morning everyone, and welcome to 12 January, 2024 – an important date for science and rational thinking, as it was on this day in 1836 that Charles Darwin arrived in Sydney, Australia.

Darwin was travelling aboard The Beagle, at the invitation of ship’s captain Robert FitzRoy, who had given the length of this particular voyage careful consideration, looked at his crew, and drawn the conclusion that he was going to need “someone smart to talk to” while at sea.

And so, Darwin was taken on board the ship, his sole responsibilities being the collection and cataloguing of nature’s wondrous forms, and keeping the captain company of an evening, as the rest of the crew were terrible people, probably.

Darwin would end up spending more than two months in (or very near) Australia, wandering around the countryside and struggling to make sense of the animals he saw, because as most of us are well aware, Aussie animals are weird AF.

While walking the banks of the Cox’s River on the western side of the Great Dividing Range, near Wallerawang, Darwin spotted a platypus frolicking in the waters, despite looking for all the world like they were made entirely of spare parts.

Darwin looked on, entranced… and to mark the occasion, had his companion shoot one, because that’s how those 1800s science mofos rolled.

The famed Big Thinker would go on, of course, to use the specimens he collected as the basis for his masterwork, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, which immediately shot to the top of Amazon’s best seller list and made a lot of churchy people very angry.

Fearing for his life, Darwin grew an incredibly stout beard, went bald and eventually died in 1882, leaving behind a raging debate between people with functional brains, and people who reckoned a different book was The Truth, an outlook that persists to this day for some unfathomable reason.

But whether you believe we as a species descended from apes, or were put here as-is because we’re super-duper special and look just like You Know Who, one truth remains – you’re here with us today to learn what you can before stepping out into the chaos of the ASX.

To help you on your way, the Stockhead team has been busy. Josh Chiat has risen from the dead to bring you a special edition of Up, Up, Down, Down, looking back at the journey that metals took in 2023.

Plus, down below, there’s all the data and digits and flotsam and jetsam that combine to make up the data that drives us all slightly more mad, with every passing day.



Gold: US$2,032.70 (+0.12%)

Silver: US$23.03 (+0.02%)

Nickel (3mth): US$15,819.80/t (-2.02%)

Copper (3mth): US$8,439.32/t (-0.26%)

Oil (WTI): US$72.33 (+0.11%)

Oil (Brent): US$77.71 (+0.12%)

Iron 62pc Fe: US$140.52/t (+0.25%)

AUD/USD: 0.6699 (+0.23%)

Bitcoin: US$45,749.20 (-0.81%)



Apparently something happened with Bitcoin yesterday, and everyone began losing their minds. Badman, of course, was right in the thick of it… here’s what he had to say.




Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:

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Yesterday’s Small Caps highlights were:

Top of the pops for the day was Jupiter Energy (ASX:JPR), after the company brought in Sproule International to evaluate the Proved, Probable and Possible reserves for Jupiter’s three oilfields in Kazakhstan and to prepare a Competent Person’s Report as to its findings.

The report came back with an upgrade to the recoverable reserves associated with Jupiter’s field, with the total Proved, Probable and Possible total now standing at 46,796,000 bbls, which the company says carries an after-tax Net Present Value of ~$US180 million.

Also out of bed early on Thursday was Maximus Resources (ASX:MXR), which says it’s just defined a number of ‘high-priority lithium targets’ at its $4.5m Lefroy Lithium Project JV with the South Korean state mining corp KOMIR.

Maximus’ managing director, Tim Wither, says assay results returned from a completed soil-sampling program were “very encouraging”.

“These initial results from the first phase of the project-wide soil sampling campaign have defined a significant anomalous lithium trend over 5km in length, allowing us to set high-priority drill targets at the Lefroy Lithium project.

“The presence of a large 3km x 1.5km lithium-in-soil anomaly, extending from the recent discovery of spodumene-bearing pegmatites, provides more encouraging signs that the lithium-in-soil anomalies may be associated with a very large mineralised system.”

Maximus owns 100% of the Lefroy Lithium Project, with KOMIR able to farm into a stake of up to 30% by spending up to US$3 million, with Maximus retaining management of the project.

CZR Resources (ASX:CZR) came out of voluntary suspension just after lunch, bearing news that it has entered into a binding Share Sale Agreement for the sale of its wholly-owned subsidiary Zanthus Resources, which controls an 85% interest in the Robe Mesa Iron Ore Project.

The buyer is Miracle Iron Resources, which operates under parent company, Shenzhen Naao Jianglan Investment Co, which in turn is a subsidiary of Xinjiang Jiangna Mining Corporation.

The news put CZR up more than 47% in a matter of minutes.

Elsewhere, Compumedics (ASX:CMP) climbed nicely throughout the day, after delivering a business update this morning telling the market that the company is likely to have increased its revenues by about to a record $26 million in H1 FY24, up by roughly 35% on PCP.

Coal from Aspire Mining’s (ASX:AKM) Ovoot project in Mongolia has been designated super high quality, or “fat”, making it ideal for producing coke, which is used in the smelting of iron ore.

“We are very excited by this confirmation which places our coal into the ‘fat coal’ market, which will attract a hard coking coal premium,” AKM’s Sam Bowles says. “In recognition of the distinctly unique qualities of this coal, the company will be branding the coal produced from the OCCP as Toson Coal.

“In Mongolian, ‘Toson’ is an adjective meaning ‘fat’ or ‘fatty’.”

Elsewhere, Singular Health (ASX:SHG) has received its first binding enterprise licence order for 5,000 annual licences of the 3Dicom Patient software in the US.

Details of the enterprise sale are “commercial-in-confidence”, but SHG says revenue generated from this order “exceeds the total direct-to-consumer sales of the 3Dicom software in 2023 of ~A$50,000 by more than 40%”.



Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks:

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White Cliff Minerals (ASX:WCN) – pending the release of an announcement relating to an acquisition of an advanced exploration project.

Surefire Resources (ASX:SRN) – pending the announcement of a Memorandum of Understanding Agreement for the development of the Victory Bore project.

Laramide Resources (ASX:LAM) – pending the release of an announcement relating to the results of an independent Preliminary Economic Assessment for one of the company’s projects in the US.