What's Going On? - (JAY)
What’s Going On?
Happy days. Shares in Bluejay Mining (JAY) continue to power ahead, ending the week at a new peak of 23.50p in decent volume. The recent surge through 20p was not followed, as it has been in earlier surges, by a spell of profit-taking and consolidation. This time it just went straight on up, taking the market capitalization to a rather serious £173m.
We are not dealing with some flakey fringe stock here, but an emerging heavyweight, increasingly backed by well-informed institutions and advisers, people who would not be playing here unless they believed that this was bound for the big time, something to be taken very seriously by the world’s leading resource companies.
What distinguishes Bluejay from other early stage resource plays is the undeniable evidence that is has found a world-beating ilmenite deposit out in north-western Greenland, and it is worth a fortune. Remarkably,nobody took it particularly seriously until the current management team, lead by chief executive Rod McIllree, got aboard. Folk knew the black sand beaches meant ilmenite, which ultimately meant the titanium which is used for all sorts of things across the world, but until global warming began to loosen up the permafrost and ease access to them, nobody bothered that much.
Proof that ilmenite is there in abundance comes from simply looking at it (see the pictures on the website at www.titanium.gl), from the preliminary drilling by the company, and – most potently – by a survey from the Greenland and Denmark Geological Society, which talks about 17bn tonnes of ilmenite in the area. It is estimated that at least 1bn tonnes of it must be within the Bluejay licence.
The team was out there last summer in the four or five month weather window when they have light almost 24 hours a day, drilling, digging, bagging and shipping. That process probably re-starts in June, though they will start building infrastructure early in 2018. That does not mean the pace of news from Bluejay will slow. There are crucial news points in the weeks and months ahead.
Go back to the interim statement on August 23, and most of it is foreshadowed there. McIllree talked of defining ‘a maiden JORC resource of 23.6Mt at 8.8% ilmenite (in-situ) at the Pituffik Titanium Project in Greenland - this includes a high-grade zone equal to 7.9Mt at 14.2% ilmenite (in-situ).’
• He went on to say the ‘2017 work programme was well advanced - targeting an upgraded resource, feasibility results and off-take agreements by the year-end.’
At some stage quite soon, then, we are due the formal JORC resource upgrade. Since the original dealt with less than 17% of the area, and there has been a massive increase in the areas of drilling – see the yellow dots on the map on page eight of the October presentation at http://www.titanium.gl/documents/investor-presentation/Bluejay%20TiO2%20World%20Summit%2010.10.17.pdfhttp://www.titanium.gl/documents/investor-presentation/Bluejay%20TiO2%20World%20Summit%2010.10.17.pdf
The chances are that the formal resource upgrade, though it will not get to 1bn tonnes, will multiply the previous formal figure perhaps ten-fold. Big investors, though they know about the Gigatonnes, like to see things like the generally accepted JORC, however. McIllree is clear enough. He has said ‘I expect this volume to grow exponentially in the coming months.’
On October 13 we had details of the top-class team of expert companies involved in the feasibility study, and a change of name for the project from Pituffik to Dundas. The final feasibility study report was due for completion during the first quarter of 2018, and will form the final part of the exploitation license application which is expected to be approved during the first half of 2018. When that comes, Bluejay can get digging and selling in bulk. But we might get some news on that earlier, and meanwhile we should have the social impact assessment report and environmental impact assessment report approval.
The proof-of-concept bulk sampling programme has exceeded expectations, and there is an agreement with an experienced mineral sands processor to refine the ilmenite into a two high specification products which will sell at a premium price, and can be used to seed the market to assist obtaining off take agreements. There is the prospect of such agreements – and more than one significant major player is interested – before the end of the year. McIllree has been travelling across the world to talk to interested parties, with at least one of them very keen.
Amid all of this ilmenite activity, there could be corporate action in the months ahead. While potential customers might be persuaded to help finance part of the development in some way, there might be a need to line up shipping and mining partners in a fashion which allows them greater margins initially in return for bearing their share of costs, and there might also be a need to raise extra funds to construct the relatively simple extraction plant on the shore. As a major shareholder himself, McIllree is always keen to keep any dilution by issuing extra shares at a minimum, but it does appear that there could be powerful institutional support for any share funding. He knows he can raise several millions from selling the group’s interests in Finland.
. The board is keen to retain full exposure to the polymetal prospect at Disko in south-western Greenland, and it looks as if this will be hived off in some fashion into a company whose shares could be distributed to existing Bluejay holders. Some believe this could be bigger than the ilmenite project, but is it vastly more speculative, though it could be worth a few pence per share at this stage.
Hiving it off would be a means of keeping hold of it should there be a bid for Bluejay based on the Dundas project. There are many ways of potentially valuing this, and some of them are explored in previous reports which can be accessed by putting JAY (or FAM for earlier efforts) into the box at lower left of the front page. While it is possible to arrive in perfectly logical fashion at quite breathtaking figures by simply attaching a modest price per tonne to the ultimate resource, it is best at this stage to be more cautious.
This despite evidence that the ilmenite price is going higher, Bluejay has a premium product, and there could be a margin in excess of $100 per tonne. We are talking sales of hundreds of millions of tonnes a year and rising as we look ahead, so the potential values are high.
That said, Bluejay has yet to make a profit, and will not be mining major quantities until 2019, all being well. And just as climate change has opened this opportunity, an unexpected reverse could make it less attractive.
Given the unique size and especially attractive qualities of Bluejay’s ilmenite resource, the chances are that one of the majors will bid for it in the end. Given the innate caution of big companies, the chances are also that any such bid will not emerge until all of the loose ends are tied up. McIllree has been working his way through that task impressively, and though his good working relationship with the Greenland government, which needs the jobs and revenue, suggest it will come in good time, the Exploitation licence is not likely until the second quarter of 2018. So a bid is less likely before that date.
In the meantime, with new and more influential advisers on board, the Bluejay story is getting better known, the rising market capitalisation perversely attracts more interest as it grows, and there are several news events marking progress to production which could help sustain the share price over the next few weeks and the months ahead.
We started this journey a little late, introduced to it by an astute friend who told us about it with the price just above 6p, not that long after it had been 2p or lower. Clearly the scope for gains diminishes as the price rises, but Bluejay’s flight is far from over.
I have a holding in Bluejay.