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This week, The Market Herald Canada’s readers showed particular interest in five stories, focusing on companies in the mining and technology sectors.

The Canadian dollar is down slightly once again this week to just under US$0.80/C$1.00 as of Thursday, July 8, after hovering around US$0.82/C$1.00 during much of May and June, according to the Bank of Canada.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index is also down slightly, falling 22.79 points over the last 5 days to 20,226.25 as of Friday at 2:12 pm ET, after reaching an all-time high of 20,339.05 on Wednesday.

The Bank of Canada also announced its latest Business Outlook Survey (BOS) on Monday, reporting a positive BOS indicator. According to the report, the indicator “continued to rise and reached its highest level on record, suggesting that positive business sentiment is broadening.”

With this positive sentiment in mind, here’s a look at the stories that captured the attention of our TMH Canada readers this week.

Graph Blockchain (CSE:GBLC) acquires New World Inc.

On Monday, Graph Blockchain, a blockchain development company, closed its acquisition of New World Inc., an augmented reality art-focused NFT company, for $6 million.

The purchase price was made up of the issuance of 46,153,846 units of Graph Blockchain at $0.13 per unit.

New World allows creators, musicians, and celebrities to have access to an NFT distribution canvas to create and sell digital art.

“Graph’s acquisition of New World gives us exposure to the quality art-focused NFT market, one of the fastest growing segments of the art world,” said Paul Haber, CEO of Graph Blockchain.

Shares in Graph Blockchain (GBLC) were relatively steady this week, trading at $0.06 per share as of Friday, July 9, 2021 at 1:12 pm ET.

Ceylon Graphite (TSXV:CYL) enters joint venture for new mines

In mining, Ceylon Graphite announced on Wednesday that, through its subsidiary Plumbago Refining, it has entered into a joint venture partnership with LOLC, the largest corporate conglomerate in Sri Lanka, through its subsidiaries LOLC GEO Technologies and LOLC Advanced Technologies.

Through the joint venture, the companies will develop and operate a minimum of three new graphite mines in Sri Lanka near the government-owned Kahatagha Mine.

Under the MOU, Ceylon intends to purchase 10 per cent of LOLC Geo with an option to buy up to 40 per cent of the company. In turn, LOLC intends to purchase up to 15 per cent of Ceylon shares.

“We’re delighted LOLC is eager to support the joint venture’s technical strategy to produce a minimum of 50,000 to 100,000 tonnes per year of unparalleled quality spheronized graphite,” said Ceylon Graphite CEO Don Baxter.

Shares in Ceylon Graphite (CYL) ranged from $0.215 to $0.19 per share throughout the week, and were trading at $0.20 as of Friday at 3:00 pm ET.

NEO Battery Materials (TSXV:NBM) demonstrates effective performance of silicon technology

NEO Battery Materials makes our Top 5 list once again this week, announcing on Monday that its silicon nanocoating technology has demonstrated success in the latest testing phase.

The technology has proven effective on low-cost, metallurgical grade, micron-sized silicon particles, with a six-minute charge and discharge level in the cell without any major capacity loss.

The news is significant because the technology can be applied to silicon particles of various sizes, making it much more cost-effective.

“The company,” said NEO president and CEO Spencer Huh, “will be moving forward to test its micron-sized silicon anodes through third-party laboratory tests and direct transfers to companies in the battery supply chain.”

Shares in NEO Battery Materials (NBM) reached a five-year high of $1.30 per share on Thursday before finishing out the week at $1.03 per share as of Friday at 1:37 pm ET.

PyroGenesis (TSX:PYR) signs contract with HPQ Silicon (TSXV:HPQ) to transform quartz into fumed silica

On Tuesday, PyroGenesis announced that it is developing a novel production process to transform quartz into fumed silica for HPQ Silicon Resources.

Fumed silica is a white microscopic powder with a high surface area and low bulk density. Its commercial applications include personal care, pharmaceuticals, agriculture (food & feed), adhesives, sealants, construction, batteries and automotive.

PyroGenesis will use its innovative green production solution to eliminate toxic by-products from conventional processes and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90 per cent.

“This contract is another testament to PyroGenesis’ solid position as an emerging leader in GHG emissions reduction,” said PyroGenesis president and CEO P. Peter Pascali.

Shares in HPQ Silicon Resources (HPQ) reached a weekly high of $0.72 per share on Tuesday, and were trading at $0.68 per share as of Friday at 1:20 pm ET.

Shares in PyroGenesis (PYR) were up 4.45 per cent on Friday, trading at $6.10 per share as of 1:44 pm ET.

Cruz Cobalt (CSE:CRUZ) begins major drill program in Ontario

Rounding out our Top 5 list is Cruz Cobalt, which commenced its exploration diamond drilling program at the Hector Silver-Cobalt Project on Monday.

Cruz plans to complete up to 800 metres of exploration diamond drilling within the Hector Property, where geochemical anomalies and cobalt in diamond drill intercepts are interpreted to represent high-level expressions of potential Archean unconformity-associated silver-cobalt vein mineralization.

“Our shareholders have been patient and we expect the second half of 2021 to be more active than at any point in the last three years, at a time when demand for battery metals, such as cobalt and lithium, are near historic highs,” said Cruz Cobalt’s president, Jim Nelson.

Cruz is one of the largest landholders in the historic silver-cobalt producing region of Cobalt, Ontario, with five separate projects in the world-famous silver-cobalt camp.

Shares in Cruz Cobalt (CRUZ) held steady throughout the week, trading at $0.10 per share as of 1:16 pm ET on Friday.

Tune in every Friday for our Top 5 report for insight into what readers of The Market Herald Canada are interested in.

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