Vanadium miner Bushveld Minerals (LON:BMN) will have to pay £490,000, reduced from a previous fine of £700,000, as the London Stock Exchange (LSE) determined the company breached of two of the AIM’s listing rules.
The violations were the result of the South African miner failing to meet its regulatory obligations in relation to its undertaking to pay an exclusivity fee to the vendors of Vametco.
They go back to April 2016, when Bushveld paid a fee for exclusivity prior to its acquisition of Vametco, without informing its nominated adviser.
A nominated adviser or NOMAD is a firm or company which has been approved by the LSE as an adviser for the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and whose name has been placed on the register of nominated advisers published by the LSE.
The payment also required an immediate announcement and suspension of the shares, something that did not happen for a further two weeks.
Chief executive Fortune Mojapelo apologized and said today’s settlement will allow Bushveld to move forward.
“The company has expressed regret in relation to the breaches arising from these matters and reiterates that it takes its AIM Rules obligations seriously and has put in place measures to ensure that the events giving rise to these breaches are not repeated in the future,” Mojapelo said.
He noted the company had grown from a junior explorer with a market capitalisation of under £20 million to a primary vanadium producer with a market capitalisation in more than £490 million, as per today.
Vanadium has been one of the best-performing commodities this year, climbing 166% to around $128 per kg, due mainly to a broad-sweeping environmental crackdown in China that has curbed some production.
As a result, miners of the metal used to harden steel are some of the best-performing stocks this year, with shares in Bushveld itself up 410% and its larger rival Largo Resources (TSX: LGO) up by 165%. Bushveld reported profits after tax of £21.1m in the first half, up from £1.1m a year earlier.
Vanadium, however, is increasingly being used in the making of so-called flow batteries, which are long-lasting and durable, allowing utilities to constantly use them for large amounts of energy. These properties have positioned them as an alternative to lithium-ion batteries produced by companies such as Tesla for the storage of intermittent renewable sources of energy.