BBX Minerals (ASX:BBX) share price plunges 17% on Brazilian COVID struggles

The BBX Minerals share price has fallen today after the company revealed its gold findings and Brazillian COVID-19 struggles.

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The BBX Minerals Ltd (ASX: BBX) share price has fallen today after the company revealed Brazil’s ongoing struggle to contain its coronavirus outbreak has hampered its mining operations.

The BBX Minerals share price has fallen 17.65% to 21 cents per share at the time of writing.

BBX Minerals has a large amount of exposure to Brazilian workplace regulation through its current drilling activities and its metallurgical testing program at Tres Estados, in the nation’s Amazonas state, which is in the far north-west of the country. Its Tres Estados project is focused on gold mining.

BBX Minerals is engaged in the exploration and development of mining assets in Brazil and Australia, but Brazil contributes maximum revenue for the company. BBX is focused on gold exploration in Brazil and its current projects include Juma East, EMA Gold, and Tres Estados Gold.

BBX releases a dispiriting exploration update

Brazil’s struggles to contain the coronavirus spread have been well documented. The country has reported the second most cases and deaths globally due to COVID-19, and recently passed 4,000 deaths per day.

BBX Minerals CEO, Andre Douchane, began his company’s report by expressing his condolences to the Brazilian people throughout the crisis, saying “our hearts go out to the Brazilian people for their extraordinary struggle against COVID 19.”

The company has been limited in its ability to explore or test assays during the last month, as in order to further reinforce current lockdown measures, the São Paulo state government declared a 10-day public holiday from March 26 to April 4, during which time the company ceased many of its activities. 

Despite other regions where BBX operates implementing similar controls, BBX is currently able to continue limited-scale testing of its drilling assays at some test facilities.

However, COVID-19 is not the only factor leading to the BBX Minerals share price decline. The company has now completed drilling in 29 of the 30 holes at its Tres Estados project and hasn’t struck notable quantities of gold, platinum or palladium in its recent report. It discovered some copper deposits.

What BBX management said

Douchane said BBX was hamstrung by multiple factors in its ability to explore further.

In line with previous findings, fire assaying failed to show gold. There are several methods other than fire assays that do allow the quantification of the contained metals. Some using various acids such as the 5-acid method and others by using a smelting method that uses either nickel or copper as
a collector.

BBX employed a metallurgical testing method several years ago that used copper as a collector to determine contained metals. The IPT 5-acid method while repeatable is time consuming and exceedingly difficult to use based on the need for highly pure acids and specialised microwave equipment, hence BBX’s continued research for a simpler, less expensive method.

BBX Minerals share price snapshot

The BBX Minerals share price has been falling reasonably steadily since highs of 49 cents per share in September 2020 and has now lost 27% in 2021 so far.

Its share price has still posted gains of 110% over the past 12 months, and has beaten the basic materials sector by just over 70% in that timeframe.

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Motley Fool contributor Lucas Radbourne-Pugh has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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