Hall of Shame

Materials

Vulcan Energy Resources Ltd (VUL AU)

Year: 2021


Vulcan Energy Resources, formerly Koppar Resources, is an Australia-based energy metals exploration company. The company is engaged in developing a combined geothermal and lithium extraction project in the Upper Rhine Valley of Germany. The company’s zero-carbon lithium extraction process uses renewable geothermal energy to power the lithium extraction process and create a renewable energy by-product.

Koppar Resources listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) on 30 May 2018 raising A$4.5M in its IPO. The managers were Xcel Capital Pty Ltd.  Additional share offerings raised A$325m; A$4.8m (30-Jun-2020), A$120m (11-Feb-2021) and A$200m (22-Sep-2021).

On 21 November 2019, Koppar Resources Ltd changed its name to Vulcan Energy Resources Ltd. 

On 26 October 2021, J Capital Research issued a report "Vulcan: God of Empty Promises". J Capital believed that Vulcan had pumped its stock and misled investors with a preliminary feasibility study promoting the company's future project, in Germany. The report allegations included:

  • the study was based on highly optimistic assumptions on work done by small consultancies that were owned by management and acquired by Vulcan.
  • the costs were higher than the company claimed, output would be lower and the quality of the lithium resource was low.
  • output would be lower, the environmental impact would be brutal enough that public outcry would block permits. This had happened before in the area.
  • the company's management team had been failing at similar projects for nearly two decades.
  • Vulcan’s management team had low-balled the costs, thus making the project look profitable, and overstated the quality of the resource shown in the project’s pre-feasibility study.
  • The study was rife with contradictions, presenting contradictory information such as operating costs and discount rates to the German government. 
  • The company claimed it would have a recovery rate of 90% for the lithium. Other projects were estimating a 70% recovery rate.

On 27 October 2021, Vulcan issued a response which dismissed the report as biased and accused J Capital of seeking to profit from a declining stock price.

On 28 October 2021, the company issued a more detailed response to J Capital's report. It said that the wrong and misleading statements in the report were too numerous to mention. Vulcan’s responded to key claims in the report.

On the same day, J Capital issued a response "Nothing New Here". It noted that Vulcan had failed to show that the original report contained wrong and misleading statements. J Capital also listed what it believed investors needed to ask:

  • Did Vulcan have a reasonable path to a profitable project? Would it really build and commission its plant?  J Capital thought not.
  • Aren’t the assumptions about Vulcan’s project—flow rate, lithium recovery rate, and discount rate—highly optimistic and without support? The companies and directors who provided the optimistic assumptions were compensated after doing so.
  • Vulcan agreed that community opposition may shut down operations. Why had Vulcan not fully informed investors?

AFR: Is Vulcan Energy’s lithium utopia too good to be true ?, 15 Feb 2021
J Capital: Vulcan Resources - God of Empty Promises, 26 Oct 2021
Vulcan: Response to J Capital report, 28 Oct 2021
J Capital: Nothing New Here, 28 Oct 2021
AFR: Vulcan’s global PR factory pits lithium hopes against short seller J Capital, 8 Nov 2021
Vulcan Energy Resources: Annual Report – YE Jun. 2021
Vulcan Energy Resources: Annual Report – YE Jun. 2020
Koppar Resources: Annual Report – YE Jun. 2019
ASX: Vulcan Filings


 

Auditors

Company From To
RSM 28-Feb-18 -

Advisors

(IPO - Initial Public Offering, ASO - Additional Share offerings)

Type Date Role Party
ASO1 30-Jun-20 Joint Lead Managers-Books Merchant Group
ASO1 30-Jun-20 Joint Lead Managers-Books Viaticus Capital
ASO2 11-Feb-21 Co-Manager(s) EAS Advisors
ASO2 11-Feb-21 Joint Lead Managers-Books Canaccord
ASO2 11-Feb-21 Joint Lead Managers-Books Goldman Sachs
ASO2 11-Feb-21 Legal Adviser to the Issuer(s) Steinepreis Paganin
ASO2 11-Feb-21 Legal Adviser(s) to the Manager(s) Herbert Smith
ASO3 22-Sep-21 Joint Lead Managers-Books Canaccord
ASO3 22-Sep-21 Joint Lead Managers-Books Goldman Sachs
IPO 30-May-18 Auditor(s) RSM Nelson Wheeler
IPO 30-May-18 Lead Manager(s) Xcel Capital
IPO 30-May-18 Legal Adviser to the Issuer(s) Schjodt
IPO 30-May-18 Legal Adviser to the Issuer(s) Steinepreis Paganin
IPO 30-May-18 Registrar(s) Automic Registry Services

Directors

(CAC/MAC Chairman / Member Audit Committee - NC Nomination /Governance Comm. - CC Compensation/Remuneration Committee)

Type Name Role From To
Executive Horst Kreuter Board Advisor 20-Dec-19 25-Mar-21
Executive Francis Wedin Founder, CEO, MD 4-Sep-19 -
Independent Ranya Alkadamani 29-Apr-20 -
Independent Annie Liu 18-Mar-21 -
Independent Heidi Grön 25-Mar-21 -
Independent Josephine Bush CAC 16-Apr-21 -
Non-Executive William Oliver 5-Feb-18 19-Nov-19
Non-Executive Gavin Rezos Chairman 4-Sep-19 -
Non-Executive Patrick Burke Executive Chairman from 5 February 2018 to 4 September 2019 5-Feb-18 31-Dec-19
Non-Executive Katharina Gerber Project manager after resignation 11-May-20 1-Sep-20
Non-Executive Rebecca Morgan Technical Director 5-Feb-19 4-Sep-19
Senior Management Mauro Piccini Company Secretary - 1-Apr-20
Senior Management Robert Ierace Company Secretary / CFO 1-Apr-20 -
Senior Management Daniel Tydde Company Secretary / In-House Legal Counsel 15-Jun-21 -
Senior Management Julia Poliscanova Special Advisor to the Board 16-Mar-21 -

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