MIDAS SHARE TIPS UPDATE: Grow your portfolio with potash that’s NOT from Russia
In Morocco, silver tea trays are known as rayts. The name is derived from Richard Wright, a Mancunian silversmith and prolific producer of silver teaware.
Wright was working in the 1800s, but his teapots are prized across Morocco to this day, part of a long and fruitful trading relationship between the North African country and Britain.
These close ties bode well for Emmerson, a Yorkshire-based company that is developing a major potash mine in Northern Morocco.
Spread the word: Potash is an essential ingredient of fertiliser and and normally about 40 per cent of it comes from Russia and its ally, Belarus
Potash is an essential ingredient of fertiliser and and normally about 40 per cent of it comes from Russia and its ally, Belarus.
Prices of this commodity have historically averaged $400 (£300) a ton. But the price had begun to climb even before Putin invaded Ukraine, reaching $800 a ton by the end of 2021.
It has risen even further in recent weeks, topping $1,000 a ton, even hitting $1,200 a ton at some points. Such elevated levels may not persist, but most market watchers expect prices to remain high for years to come, as traders the world over try to wean themselves off Russian potash and seek alternative suppliers.
Emmerson should prove to be an attractive option. The company is still developing its mine, but the potash is there in abundance and several important steps have been taken on the road towards commercial production. Engineers are in place, a financial strategy has been drawn up and chief executive Graham Clarke has secured up to $46million of support from a Singapore-based investment group.
The group is in discussions with several other potential backers, as well as a number of Moroccan and international banks. Brokers are confident that Clarke will secure the cash he needs, particularly as potash supplies are now so constrained.
Environmental approvals have yet to be finalised, but Emmerson has addressed every issue brought up by the Moroccan authorities and Clarke has worked hard to ensure that his project is beneficial to local communities and workers.
Relationships between the company and government officials are helped by the wider links between Morocco and the UK. And there are strategic gains to be had.
Emmerson’s mine will be the first commercial potash site in Africa, a continent whose agricultural capacity could be transformed through greater use of good quality fertiliser.
The mine is well positioned too – a two-hour drive from the port of Casablanca, from where potash can be easily shipped to Europe and Brazil, one of the biggest fertiliser markets in the world.
Midas verdict: Midas recommended Emmerson at 3.1p in 2019. The shares had doubled by last year, they are now 7.5p and should increase materially as environmental permits are granted and financial backing is secured. No development project is risk-free, but this stock seems better placed than most loss-making miners. Existing investors should hold, while the shares also look attractive to new investors in search of adventure.
Traded on: AIM Ticker: EML Contact: emmersonplc.com or 020 7236 1177