Small Talk: Wolf Minerals goes hunting for tungsten in South-west England

Although the list of miners based in Australia is very, very long, there can be few that resemble Wolf Minerals. The business, which last week announced its intention to list on AIM, is based in Subiaco, a suburb of Perth in Western Australia but – and here is the twist – its main asset is in Devon. Yes, Devon in South-west England, where Wolf is hunting for tungsten and tin.

The Hemerdon Ball project, as the company's mine is known, is believed to contain the "fourth-largest tungsten resource in the world", according to Wolf. The metal was first discovered at Hemerdon in the 1860s, but the resource was not developed until the First World War, with production continuing until the end of the second.

The mining group Amax was active on the site in from the late 1970s but eventually withdrew in the early 1990s as falling commodity prices hit the economics of the project. North American Tungsten took over in 1997, but, with tungsten prices remaining low, left six years later. Wolf, which is expected to start trading in London at the end of November, arrived in December 2007, when it signed an option agreement for the project.

Feasibility work followed and then, in May this year, the company moved forward with taking on the Hemerdon project and, subject to financing, developing it into a large-scale open-pit mining operation.

Analysts at Blackswan Equities reviewed Wolf's definitive feasibility report and agree that the opportunity could prove lucrative for the company. The fact that the Hemerdon mine is in the UK should also help, as it attracts the interest of investors looking for stocks that give them exposure to the current commodities boom without the political and investment risks attached to some resource-rich countries.

"[Wolf] is a single project company, reliant on the world's fourth-largest undeveloped tungsten resource located in a stable political jurisdiction within trucking distance of end user markets," Blackswan's analysts said when the report came out in May.

These factors should give Wolf the resources it needs to capitalise on tungsten's role as a strategic metal, they added. "Strategic metals are metals integral to a nation's defence, aerospace or energy industries, but domestic demand for them outstrips supply capability now or in the future," Blackswan said. "The USA and China both classify [tungsten] and [tin] as strategic metals, and Europe and the UK have also declared tungsten a 'critical raw material'."

In terms of consumers, China, unsurprisingly, stands out as the biggest in the world, making up for some 60-odd per cent of world demand.

Given the levels of economic growth seen in the country, its appetite for metals is not expected to dip any time soon, with demand for tungsten expected to grow by about7 per cent anually "over the long term", according to estimates from Blackswan.

Confident Endace sees growth in sales

Endace chanced upon some good timing last Tuesday, with its first-half results coinciding with the London cyber-security conference that generated more than a few headlines last week. The company specialises in network monitoring products that allow companies and governments to keep tabs on activity across their systems, something that is seeing growing demand as organisations wake up to the need to protect their data and hardware in today's world.

The results back up this trend. Endace said sales in the six months to the end of September had soared by 37 per cent to $18.6m, with gross margins improving to 72.6 per cent. It also reported a strong sales pipeline, which bodes well for the future.

"While mindful of the uncertain macroeconomic conditions, we have not seen any change to expected order patterns," it said, pointing to "very exciting" opportunities as demand for its services rises.

With these prospects in mind, Endace has also been busy bolstering its top marketing team, recently hiring Spencer Greene from Juniper Networks to set up a new California office as the Auckland, New Zealand-based company looks to boost its sales and marketing activities.

Analysts picked up on these moves, with Panmure Gordon noting the growth not just in sales, but also in Endace's confidence.

"We sense a new confidence from this global tech leader," its analyst George O'Connor said, increasing his estimates on the back of the improvement in Endace's margins and repeating his "buy" recommendation on the company's shares. "It has been at least five years in the making and for us is built on a firm foundation of product leadership."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
Life and Style
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Development Manager - NW London - £58k + 15% bonus

£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manager - City, London

£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own