S&P/ASX 200 slips 0.75% as brent crude settles above US$50 a barrel for the first time since early March

Brent crude gained 2.84% on Thursday to settle above US$50 a barrel (at US$50.25) for the first time since early March on hopes of a faster demand recovery after the release of COVID-19 vaccines.

MGC Pharmaceuticals Ltd - S&P/ASX 200
Gold fell 0.4% to US$1,832.20 per ounce as investors preferred riskier assets.

S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) slipped 0.75% to 6633 by 2 pm following a weak lead from Wall Street with mixed trading for major US indices overnight.

CSL Ltd (ASX:CSL) is weighing on the index with the stock falling 3.1% after terminating its COVID-19 vaccine trial with the University of Queensland due to the vaccine causing false positive HIV test results.

Iron ore miners Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO), BHP Group (ASX:BHP) and Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) are higher after the bulk metal price rose to a more than seven-year high of US$156 a tonne.

IGO acquires world’s biggest hard-rock lithium mine

Independence Group (ASX:IGO) shares surged 25% after completing its institutional entitlement offer, raising about $446 million as part of its acquisition of a 49% stake in Tianqi Lithium Energy Australia.

Tianqi Lithium Energy Australia controls Greenbushes — the world’s biggest hard-rock lithium mine, about 250 kilometres from Perth.

IGO has committed to invest $1.4 billion which provides Tianqi with much-needed cash to make loan repayments.

China’s Tianqi Lithium (SHE:002466) will retain a 51% ownership of its Australian unit.

Top gainers

Today’s top gainers on the ASX include MGC Pharmaceuticals Ltd (ASX:MXC) (+16.67%), Creso Pharma Ltd (ASX:CPH) (+19.05%), Alta Zinc Ltd (ASX:AZI) (+20.00%), Calima Energy Ltd (ASX:CE1) (+28.57%), Lotus Resources Ltd (ASX:LOT) (+17.00%), Carnavale Resources Limited (ASX:CAV) (+12.50%) and Cipherpoint Ltd (ASX:CPT) (+13.21%).

Proactive news headlines:

Moho Resources paves gold exploration path with $2.5 million from oversubscribed placement

Moho Resources Ltd (ASX:MOH) has received firm commitments for $2.5 million through a well-supported placement at an issue price of 9 cents per share.

Nanoveu placement improves company’s financial position leading into 2021

Nanoveu Ltd (ASX:NVU) has received firm commitments from sophisticated and professional investors to raise $660,000, before costs, through the issue of 13.2 million fully paid ordinary shares.

Aeris Resources new Constellation deposit continues to shine with third hole hitting 26.2 metres of sulphides

Aeris Resources Ltd (ASX:AIS) continues to intersect sulphides during initial drilling of the new Constellation prospect within the Tritton copper tenement package in NSW with the third hole returning a 26.2-metre zone of disseminated and banded sulphides.

Creso Pharma to seize opportunities in Australian CBD market through deal with health products company Martin & Pleasance

Creso Pharma Limited (ASX:CPH) (OTCMKTS:COPHF) (FRA:1X8) is poised to capitalise on opportunities in the Australian cannabidiol (CBD) market through a heads of agreement with leading natural, sustainable health and lifestyle brand supplier Martin & Pleasance Pty Ltd.

Kingston Resources raises $13 million to drive 3.6-million-ounce Misima Gold Project towards development

Kingston Resources Ltd (ASX:KSN) (FRA:RZZ) has secured binding commitments to raise $12.5 million via a single-tranche institutional share placement to advance its Misima Gold Project in PNG to the next stage - as the foundation for a substantial new Asia-Pacific gold business

GTI Resources granted Niagara prospecting licences and settles acquisition

GTI Resources Ltd (ASX:GTR) has settled the acquisition and been granted prospecting licences P40/1513 and P40/1518 at the Niagara Gold Project that help create a contiguous package of prospecting licences covering around 5 kilometres of the historical Niagara gold trend.

Tietto Minerals granted Abujar Mining Licence, paves the way for West Africa's next gold mine

Tietto Minerals Ltd (ASX:TIE) has been granted a Mining Licence which paves the way for the 3.2-million-ounce Abujar Gold Project in Côte d’Ivoire to become West Africa’s next gold mine.

WA Kaolin takes large strides in planned stage 1 ramp-up at Wickepin Kaolin Project, WA

WA Kaolin Ltd (ASX:WAK) has achieved significant steps in the planned stage 1 ramp-up to 200,000 tonnes per annum at the Wickepin Kaolin Project, 220 kilometres southeast of Perth, WA.

Roots Sustainable Agricultural Technologies signs new Californian partner to target cannabis sector

Roots Sustainable Agricultural Technologies Limited (ASX:ROO) has secured a non-binding letter of intent (LOI) with existing partner, smart technology provider Humboldt CCTV, to integrate its proprietary Root Zone Temperature Optimisation (RZTO) technology and revolutionary heat exchange stub product into Humboldt’s Smart Agriculture  solution.

Zelira Therapeutics cash balance boosted by $1.378 million R&D tax refund

Zelira Therapeutics Ltd (ASX:ZLD) (OTCQB:ZLDAF) (FRA:G1G) has received a A$1.378 million cash refund under the Australian Federal Government’s Research and Development (R&D) Tax Incentive Scheme.

Euro Manganese’s shareholders give stamp of approval for two-tranche placement to raise C$11.4 million

Euro Manganese Inc’s (ASX:EMN) (CVE:EMN) (FRA:E06) shareholders have given the green light to the company’s oversubscribed two-tranche private placement to raise a total of C$11.4 million to fund the further development of its flagship Chvaletice Manganese Project in the Czech Republic.

Element 25 to kick off site works for stage-1 of Butcherbird Manganese Project after receiving key approvals

Element 25 Ltd (ASX:E25) (FRA:QFP) has secured key final approvals for its Butcherbird Manganese Project in Western Australia, paving the way for stage-1 construction and mining operations to begin immediately.

Yandal Resources maintains steady growth path with drill rigs set to continue high-grade gold chatter

Yandal Resources Ltd (ASX:YRL) has a pipeline of priority gold projects which it intends to substantially grow over the next 12 months to increase value for shareholders thereby maintaining and enhancing the momentum of 2020.

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