Mining & Metals

Skarn Associates Limited of the UK and Canada

Bloomsbury Minerals Economics owns 26% of the equity in Skarn Associates.

Skarn was founded in 2016, for mining consultancy generally, but was re-focused in 2020 purely on researching (and databasing) environmental aspects of mining and metals production. It has grown very rapidly and now has a staff of over twenty, specialists in environment and sustainability, mineral economics, geology, mining engineering, mine water management, flood and drought risks in mining, plus metallurgy.

Energy intensity and green-house gas (GHG) emission curves are compiled asset-by-asset for gold, silver, PGMs, copper (mines, smelters & refineries), nickel (including for products such as matte, briquettes, NPI, FeNi, concentrate, MSP), cobalt, lithium, lead (mines and smelters), zinc (mines & smelters), aluminium-alumina-bauxite, seaborne iron ore and metallurgical coal.

Bespoke asset-level financial modelling of mine decarbonisation investments and carbon tax scenarios is now being undertaken.

In 2021, Skarn’s Water Benchmarking Tool was launched for gold mining. It integrates operational water data, water balances and external climate data, the latter allowing resilience to drought and flood risk to be compared. Water benchmarking for copper mining followed in early 2022, and water stewardship in nickel mining is being added now. As climate change intensifies, flood and drought risks are very rapidly becoming a vital subject for mining company attention. Mine water benchmarking research and consultancy may now be undertaken by Skarn Water Ltd, which is 75% owned by Skarn Associates Ltd and 25% owned by RP Servicios de Consultoria SpA.

Skarn is headquartered in the UK, and has sales representation in North America, based in Toronto. A sales office in the APAC region is planned for later in 2024.

Minviro of the UK, Australia and China

In January, 2023, Bloomsbury Information Capital participated in an equity financing round of Minviro Ltd, and now owns 4%+. Minviro is headquartered in London and has a team of 20 employees; it has recently added an Australian subsidiary (Minviro Australia Pty Ltd), based in Perth. It provides consultancy and a world class SaaS platform (including MineLCA and BatteryLCA) that provides life cycle assessment (LCA) and related services for project optimization in the fast-growing energy transition sector spanning from the raw materials, through mining to processing and downstream value-added sectors. It has completed 100+ projects in 24 countries so far. The MineLCA suite covers carbon footprint, Life Cycle Assessment, support for Environmental Product Declarations (EDPs) and integrated LCI databases. The BatteryLCA suite covers the environmental footprint of the entire battery production chain.

The capital raise of £2,100,000 will allow Minviro to expand delivery of the software and build capacity to support strategic consultancy services in new markets and industry segments, whilst also driving innovation within the company. After the recent Australian move, Minviro is now hiring in China, and other key markets where Minviro will be expanding include North and South America. One of Bloomsbury’s directors, Simon Benney, is a director of, and an individual shareholder in, Minviro.

Metal Price Analytics Limited of the UK

Metal Price Analytics (MPA) was formed in 2015. BME has a 25% stake. Adam Sotowicz (former Mathematical Modelling and I.T. Manager of BME and its then subsidiary BME Price Models) owns the controlling 75% stake in MPA.

In early 2023, MPA developed a price model for chrome (ore) concentrates, for use with SwapX of South Africa, the global chrome ore trading platform. The chrome concentrate price has strong inverse correlation with port stocks, and combined with other price drivers gives excellent modelling results. The close price relationship with stocks allows the impact on prices of supply-demand differences to be quantified, for forecasting and risk appraisal.

MPA has also a great deal of background in price and forward spread modeling for LME metals. Price drivers used are LME stocks, the global industrial production (IP) growth rate and alternative currency drivers: the US dollar index and the USD : CNY exchange rate.

In addition to chrome concentrates, other non-exchange traded ores and metals will be assessed for price modelling, with price drivers including IP growth rates, port stocks, freight rates and the USD : CNY exchange rate.

Methods used include LASSO and Ridge Regression, Regression Splines, Classification and Regression Trees.

Further investments pending

Now that the Group has successfully diversified its portfolio, fresh investments in ore and metal news and market analysis businesses will be considered.

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