Good morning everyone, and welcome to Friday, 8 December – a day on the calendar that will sometimes be remembered by a handful of people as the beginning of the end for Captain James Cook.

Cook was on his last journey through the Pacific in 1777 when, on Decemeber 8th, he pulled anchor and left what was then known as The Society Islands – a small scattering of idyllic island paradises that include modern day Tahiti, and currently belong to the French for some reason.

Cook had set sail for what he called The Sandwich Islands, to have a bit more of a dig around a set of islands he had discovered quite by accident the last time he was in the neighbourhood.

Precise details are sketchy, but historians have pieced together the theory that Cook was killed (and, some say, served up between two slices of TipTop) by local Sandwich Islands warriors, possibly after ignoring local custom and dropping in on them during an epic surf session at Waimea Bay.

The Sandwich Islands are, of course, now known as Hawaii, and currently belong to the United States for some reason.

The lesson here from history is that even if you do happen to stumble into success, it doesn’t make it any less meaningful – Cook will always hold a place in the hearts of every fan of Britain’s colonialism-at-all-costs approach to global exploration.

Not only did he not arrive in Australia first, but he also lent his surname to the modern lexicon, having turned up and thoroughly “cooked” Terra Australis on the way through – almost entirely by accident.

If you’d prefer to make your life-changing discoveries based on knowledge and facts, you’re not alone – and it’s precisely why we’ve been up all night writing about a bunch of super-important stuff for you to read this morning.

That includes Bevis Yeo’s dip into what’s shaking in the world of gas exploration, and Rob Badman’s very personal story of how a seemingly innocuous nasal spray changed his life forever, possibly.

Plus, below you’ll find all the usual digits and data to get your motor rumbling before the market opens today.

 

COMMODITY/FOREX/CRYPTO MARKET PRICES

Gold: US$2,025.75 (-0.01%)

Silver: US$23.80 (-0.54%)

Nickel (3mth): US$16,247.50/t (+1.18%)

Copper (3mth): US$8,296.50/t (+0.53%)

Oil (WTI): US$69.76 (+0.74%)

Oil (Brent): US$74.69 (+0.55%)

Iron 62pc Fe: US$130.77/t (+0.24%)

AUD/USD: 0.6533 (-0.26%)

Bitcoin: US$44,038.90 (+0.69%)

 

WHAT GOT YOU TALKING

Nadine McGrath went looking for the Fountain of Youth – and it turns out she’s not the only one, as her report into the ASX-listers doing the same thing clearly shows.

 

YESTERDAY’S ASX SMALL CAP LEADERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:

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Yesterday’s Small Caps highlights were:

The board of Whitebark Energy (ASX:WBE) took decisive action on Thursday saying they no longer need their interim CEO.

“The board remains focused on delivering a positive outcome for shareholders under its strategic review process and will consider the requirements for a replacement CEO. The company will continue to update the market when this process is complete.”

So… they might’ve found a CEO, or no longer need a CEO… either way, shareholders liked it.  Up +32%.

Redcastle Resources (ASX:RC1) also did good on Thursday.

The $3.7m market capper completed an RC drilling campaign at its 100% owned Queen Alexandra prospect that involved drilling 37 holes, totalling 1,937m, on an area of 20m x 20m.

Samples were then sent off to a Kalgoorlie lab to ascertain gold content, and assays indeed confirm the presence of consistent, shallow gold mineralisation.

As Robert Badman mused: High-fives all round – they’re definitely not out there wasting their time.

Also out in front of the pack yesterday was  microcap gold explorer Emu (ASX:EMU), which announced the results of its maiden reconnaissance field survey conducted during July and August 2023 at the Georgetown Project in Queensland.

It’s early doors, of course, but the results look promising, with the company laying claim to 15.4g/t gold assay results recorded from its first reconnaissance rock samples in the NE Dagworth area, ~19km east from Camp Oven Creek.

The company also reports rock samples returned 36.1g/t gold and 25.6g/t gold respectively from the Sandy Creek prospect, just south of Georgetown.

Invictus Energy (ASX:IVZ) flew high on news of a solid find, reporting that four hydrocarbon samples have been returned to surface in the Mukuyu-2 well at its 80% owned and operated Cabora Bassa Project in Zimbabwe.

“The Mukuyu-2 discovery, 7km away and 450 meters updip of the Mukuyu-1 well, which can subsequently be classified as a discovery, provides confirmation of the large potential of the Mukuyu field which has a structural closure of over 200km2,” Invictus MD Scott Macmillan said.

 

YESTERDAY’S ASX SMALL CAP LAGGARDS

Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks:

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TRADING HALTS

4D Medical (ASX:4DX) – pending an announcement by the Company to the market regarding a proposed capital raising and an acquisition.

Rhinomed (ASX:RNO) – pending an announcement by Rhinomed in relation to an application to be removed from the official list of ASX.

Talius Group (ASX:TAL) – pending an announcement to the ASX in relation to a proposed capital raising.

Flynn Gold (ASX:FG1) – pending an announcement regarding a material acquisition and capital raising.

Green Technology Metals (ASX:GT1) – pending an announcement regarding a capital raising.

Argent Minerals (ASX:ARD) –  pending an announcement regarding a capital raising.

Pantera Minerals (ASX:PFE) – pending an announcement regarding a material project transaction in the Smackover region, USA, and a capital raising.

Nordic Nickel (ASX:NNL) – pending an announcement to the market in relation to a proposed capital raising.

MetalsGrove Mining (ASX:MGA) – pending the release of an announcement in relation to material acquisitions.

Austin Metals (ASX:AYT) – pending an announcement in connection with an acquisition of Project and capital raising.

Ironbark Zinc (ASX:IBG) – pending an announcement regarding a potential acquisition and a capital raising.

Winsome Resources (ASX:WR1) – pending release of a maiden Mineral Resource Estimate.