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Small cap miners enjoy a revival as investor sentiment turns

Experts point to a change in investor sentiment across the sector thanks to steadying metal prices and the opportunities presented by bargain basement stock valuations


The small cap market is seeing something of a revival with several junior mining firms making strong advances.

There are fifteen junior miners and metal explorers among AIM’s top performers this week with Rare Earth Minerals (LON:REM), up 250%, and SolGold (LON:SOLG), up over 100%, leading the way.

Other notable risers include Slovenia focused gold explorer Ortac (LON:OTC), as well as Red Rock Resources (LON:RRR), Zimbabwe miner Mwana Africa (LON:MWA) and ECR Minerals (LON:ECR), each of which has gained over 35% in the past five trading sessions.

Experts point to a change in investor sentiment across the sector thanks to steadying metal prices and the opportunities presented by bargain basement stock valuations.

“A lot of the mining shares had been oversold, and I think we’re seeing shares rebounding from the lows,” said Carole Ferguson, mining analyst at SP Angel.

“[As a sector] prices have reached levels where some people are seeing value, and there has been buying. There has also been a remarkable amount of news flow for August [which is a quiet month traditionally].

“There has definitely been a bit of a turning point, but whether it is going to result in massive buying or a round of rerating, we’ll have to wait and see.”

SolGold shares doubled in value as its eagerly anticipated drill programme at the Cascabel project in Ecuador moved a big step closer.

Drilling is now anticipated to get underway in September after environmental approval was given for the proposed programme.

Chief executive Alan Martin described the Alpala prospect as a potential company maker, and told investors that SolGold is now embarking on a 'very exciting time'.

Meanwhile Rare Earth Minerals, David Lenigas’s fledgling exploration firm, unveiled hotly anticipated drill results from a potentially exciting lithium project in Mexico.

Then today it announced a small fund raise, of £750,000 at a premium price, and the stock rose another 35%. Overall the firm’s value has increased by 1,000% in the past month and is up 300% in the last five sessions.

Significant lithium values were intersected in the two targeted areas, Wednesday’s drill results revealed. The ten hole programme demonstrated a four kilometre strike length.

A maiden resource estimate is now being prepared, and could be ready in the ‘next several weeks’.

Orogen Gold (LON:ORE) shares advanced after revealing some quite outstanding gold grades from trenching on its Gindusa West prospect in the historic Deli Jovan mining district of Serbia.

The company also revealed shallow drill testing of newly discovered targets will “commence imminently” and it is hoped this will establish a near-surface resource that is potentially open-pittable.

Meanwhile it was also a week of fundraising and corporate activity in some parts of the sector.

South America focussed Minera IRL (LON:MIRL) demonstrated that it is far from over for gold miners in Argentina, as it secured US$80mln from local backers to pay for the development of the Don Nicholas mine.

Another Argentina focussed junior, Mariana Resources  (LON:MARL) again got the backing of major shareholder, and one of the world’s largest gold miners, AngloGold Ashanti, which chipped as part of a broader funding.

Alecto Minerals (LON:ALO) has agreed a deal with fellow AIM quoted explorer African Mining & Exploration (LON:AME) to acquire gold projects in Mali.

Through a share-based deal, worth £1.25mln, Alecto is acquiring the Kossanto Gold project, as well as two exploration licences. As part of the deal AME is also helping to fund Alecto, putting in £500,000, buying £250,000 of shares and lending £250,000.

Quick facts: SolGold plc

Price: 20.5 GBX

Market: AIM
Market Cap: £394.28 m

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