For the better part of 2015, investors have left Next Graphite Inc. (OTCQB: GPNE) completely off their radar screens despite the development stage graphite miners continuance to update the public of their progression in Africa’s Republic of Namibia. Shares of GPNE stock had a short moment in the spotlight back in late April when over 3 million shares traded in a single session just after shares had fallen off their YTD high of 0.10. With little to no insider ownership of the 50.4 million shares issued and outstanding, the flicker of interest in yesterday’s session allows for some borrowed attention to see what’s behind the miner’s curtain.
As a current filing company with the SEC, the first thing we looked at was how Charles C. Bream III, CEO, CFO and Treasurer of Next Graphite, owned just 300,004 shares as of their 10-K filing on March 31 of this year. Bream’s ownership is triple that of Michael Doron, Chairman, Director and Secretary, who reported 100,012 shares of GPNE under his possession, leaving 50,011,427 shares of GPNE stock available to the public.
The lack of significant insider ownership may be a deep cause of concern for some, yet when reviewing the liabilities on the books as of March 31, 2015, the minute amount due to be converted appears favorable to a certain extent. On October 2, 2014, Next Graphite issued a convertible note payable with an interest rate of 5.0% per annum in the amount of $100,000 which is due on December 31, 2015 and can be convertible at the holder’s discretion into GPNE shares at a 25% discount to the price at the date of exercise.
This year, on February 10, 2015, a secured convertible note was issued for $24,000 which is due this week, July 31, 2015, and was stated to be convertible one year from the date of issuance, at the Holder’s discretion, in a similar fashion: at a 25% discount to the market price at the time of conversion. These monies, coupled with the $7,132 that was in cash as of the end of the last reporting period, should get them through this upcoming filing, but it won’t sustain them through the 2nd portion of 2015.
What’s puzzling is how over a year ago, on March 20, 2014, Next Graphite hired Wall Street Relations, Inc. as a consultant, $500,000 for 12 months, to provide public relations, communications, advisory and consulting services for the Company. Looking back at how GPNE shares performed in terms of both PPS appreciation and volume, it’s no wonder why 3 months later, on June 20, 2014, the IR firm got the ax for failure to perform.
From an update perspective, the Company was silent through the first quarter of the year having issued their first announcement in April about their Preliminary Economic Analysis of the “above-ground” assets on their Aukam property. The report states that it will cost $487 per metric tonne to mine and process, has a 17-year lifespan, and would be able to provide 2,500 tonnes a year. Roughly speaking, the operation would cost $1.22 million to run annually after they acquire the estimated $1.0 million worth of processing equipment needed.
Since then, two additional updates have come, the most recent one from last week stating a JVA was entered into with Micron Investments PTY, Ltd who, according to the report, committed to fund 7 figures for the ability to process 10,000 tonnes annually of Next Graphite’s 140,000 tonnes heaps. Someone surely decided it was time to buy GPNE shares yesterday which begs the question: Is GPNE stock just a heap of dirt, or are those share prices from a year ago, even those from April of this year, reachable again?
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