Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) Disclosure
Certain information contained in this announcement would have been deemed inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of Regulation (EU) No 596/2014 until the release of this announcement.
22 June 2020
Strategic Minerals plc
("Strategic Minerals" or the "Company")
Major Cobre Client Update
Strategic Minerals plc (AIM: SML; USOTC: SMCDY), a producing mineral company actively developing projects prospective for battery materials, announces that following the filing of a legal claim against the former Cobre client in court in the USA, CV Investments LLC ("CV Investments" or "Client") has been named as the major client whom the Company's wholly owned subsidiary, Southern Minerals Group ("SMG"), was recently awarded US$21,929,259 in damages and costs, exclusive of additional interest.
Key developments with this Client detailed as below:-
In April 2017, negotiations commenced with CV Investments, through its principal, Brenda Smith. In line with any such contract, a cash deposit of US $0.25m was made with CV Investment's lawyer.
From July 2017 until February 2018, a total of 38,455 tons of magnetite was collected by CV Investments from the Cobre stockpile site and SMG received US $3.075m (including $0.1m applied from the lawyer's deposit).
When shipments ceased in March 2018, the Company entered into negotiations with CV Investments to receive quarterly top up deposit payments of US $0.375m per quarter to be held by SMG. The first two of these payments, covering the June and September 2018 quarters (US $0.75m), were received and the balance of deposit funds, US $0.15m, was released,
Despite repeated enquiries and a series of promises from the Client, no further payments were made and ultimately a breach notice was provided as required by our contract. At the time of preparing the breach notice, SMG became aware that the assets of CV Investments had been frozen by the US Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") and that Brenda Smith had been charged for running a Ponzi scheme in relation to her mutual funds operations.
Throughout the process, SMG and the board of Strategic Minerals have undertaken their fiduciary duties and acted in the best interests of shareholders to maximise the residual value of the contract. Accordingly, it has kept the market informed to the extent permitted by its legal advice. It is noted that, while the Company has not been able to disclose the contract counterparty, it has cautioned the market on what assets, if any, would be capable of being recouped from the Client. Even now there is no clarity on the amount or timing SMG may expect associated with the SEC's request for the appointment of a receiver
Commenting, John Peters, Managing Director of Strategic Minerals, said:
"CV Investments has caused the Company considerable angst but has also contributed meaningful funds. While the Board has been restrained until now in naming the counterparty, it should be noted that they have full confidence in the value of the Company and have continued to invest in the Company's shares throughout this period."
Notes to Editors
Strategic Minerals plc is an AIM-quoted, operating minerals company actively developing projects prospective for battery materials. It has an operation in the United States of America and Australia along with development projects in the UK and Australia. The Company is focused on utilising its operating cash flows, along with capital raisings, to develop high quality projects aimed at supplying the metals and minerals being sought in the burgeoning electric vehicle/battery market.
In September 2011, Strategic Minerals acquired the distribution rights to the Cobre magnetite tailings dam project in New Mexico, USA, a cash-generating asset, which it brought into production in 2012 and which continues to provide a revenue stream for the Company. This operating revenue stream is utilised to cover company overheads and invest in development projects orientated to supplying the burgeoning electric vehicle/battery market.
In January 2016, the portfolio was expanded with the acquisition of shares in Central Australian Rare Earths Pty Ltd, which holds tenements in Western Australia prospective for cobalt, nickel sulphides and rare earth elements. The Company has since acquired all shares in Central Australian Rare Earths Pty Ltd. In September 2018, the Company entered contracts for the sale of certain CARE tenements identified as gold targets.
In May 2016, the Company entered into an agreement with New Age Exploration Limited and, in February 2017, acquired 50% of the Redmoor Tin/Tungsten project in Cornwall, UK. The bulk of the funds from the Company's investment were utilised to complete a drilling programme that year. The drilling programme resulted in a significant upgrade of the resource. This was followed in 2018 with a 12-hole 2018 drilling programme has now been completed and the resource update that resulted was announced in February 2019. In March 2019, the Company entered into arrangements to acquire the balance of the Redmoor Tin/Tungsten project. This was completed on 24 July 2019.
In March 2018, the Company completed the acquisition of the Leigh Creek Copper Mine situated in the copper rich belt of South Australia and brought the project into production in April 2019.