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Agri-miner blames internet trolls for wiping millions off its market value
Thursday 09 Mar 2017 Author: Daniel Coatsworth

Harvest Minerals (HMI:AIM) has blamed a recent 50% share price decline on people spreading malicious comments online. Chairman Brian McMaster insists the aspiring fertiliser business has done everything according to plan and news will be forthcoming on when it might be able to start commercial production.

The £16m business has a mining project in Brazil called Arapua which it hopes can provide farmers with an alternative form of fertiliser to help improve crop yields. It plans to dig up a layer of soil and extract material underneath that is naturally enriched in nutrients.

Brazil is considered to have poor quality soil and imports most of its fertiliser products. Harvest would have an advantage as a local supply source.

Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall on the US/Mexico border may encourage Mexico to import more food, particularly corn, from Brazil rather than the US. Brazilian farmers would be under pressure to grow more food, thus increasing the argument for using extra fertiliser.

What is Harvest Minerals supposed to have done wrong?

The company has faced accusations from people on investment bulletin boards that nothing is happening with Arapua. McMaster says the site isn’t meant to be operational at present, as Harvest is waiting for test results.

The first test is being done with the Brazilian government to see if its product helps improve crop yields. ‘If successful, we will get a certificate to call the product a soil remineraliser,’ he says. ‘We could get an answer in two months’ time.’

He says further test work running into 2018 would be required in order for its goods to be certified as a fully-approved fertiliser product.

It is replicating the same government test work with a university to have a second source of verification.

A further test is being done with a coffee grower which has signed a letter of intent to buy product once there is proof it works on its crops.

harvest minerals small comp

What's going to happen next?

McMaster says some farmers may only want the remineraliser certificate before agreeing to buy its product.

‘Brazil is just coming out of its main growing season and entering its winter months. I’d expect farmers to want to apply the next season’s fertilisers in August or September, so they will want to know by June that they have adequate supply,’ says the chairman.

The shares enjoyed a 20% rally last Friday (3 March) to 13.5p when broker Whitman Howard issued a research note saying it would only require modest success at Arapua for Harvest to be worth more than double the 11.4p share price at that time.

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