The Corbine Cup
Bushveld Shareholders raise £16,000 for Cancer Research UK
As part of the culmination of a recent share price prediction competition, Bushveld Minerals’ shareholders organised a charity collection in memory of one of one of their original members, ‘Corbine’ who sadly passed away in 2016.
Corbs’ much-loved and insightful ‘musings’ on the LSE bulletin board regarding the prospects for what was at the time, a relatively unknown, fledgling South African mining company inspired a generation of long term investors.
What began as a fun activity for a group of shareholders resulted in a flood of support for a cause that touches us all, and an incredible donation of £16,000 to Cancer Research UK.
I asked Graham (Faramog), one of the organisers of the competition, how it came about.
Graham: Sadly ‘Corbine’ passed away from Cancer in September 2016 just as Bushveld Minerals was making its first steps toward what would prove a catalytic purchase of the Vametco Vanadium mine in South Africa. This was a move that ‘Corbine’ promoted, researched and discussed, openly and compellingly, inspiring many new shareholders to enter the fold. Naturally, recognition of his influence is strong amongst shareholders. One year on from his untimely death, as so often happens, shareholders were debating prospects for the company and discussions led towards the idea of a competition that could also mark his passing and recognise his contribution
So how did the Corbine Cup grow into a charity collection ?
Graham: The idea, which was inspired by similar competitions I have been involved with, was to guess the date at which the company’s share price would reach a target of 30p and make a donation to charity. Initially a nominal sum of £10 or more was agreed and the 54 entrants each pledged to donate a higher sum of their choosing if they won. The winner would also nominate a charity and set up a JustGiving page for donations to be made. If everyone paid, it was anticipated that around £2000 would be raised. In practice more than 8x that sum – over £16,000 was donated to Cancer Research UK by over 120 supporters and shareholders. Wow!
How did you select Cancer Research UK as a charity to contribute to ?
Graham: A number of board participants have shared experiences with Cancer and as Corbine himself passed away from it, it was really no surprise that the eventual winner Luke 'Milkman87' picked Cancer Research UK as our charity.
Contributors and Supporters
Collected in just 7 days
So what do you think were the unexpected effects of running this competition ?
Graham: The real value of the Corbine Cup became apparent during the course of the year it ran, with an effect none of us predicted. It is hard to appreciate unless you have seen it firsthand but as has been more publicly experienced by shares such as Tesla, rapidly growing AIM stocks can often attract short selling. This typically manifests itself in the arrival of internet trolls who spread misinformation so that traders can make money on the volatility or falls in share price that they induce. In the last year we had attracted dozens of these trolls. Amongst this negativity the Corbine Cup was a consistently positive force that brought our community together with a common goal through the sharing of debate and research, much as Corbine was renowned for.
It is remarkable what can happen when what was a group of strangers to begin with, really work together. Unexpected talents, examples of determination and spirit were evident again and again. We now have prolific posters providing financial analysis, detailing expansion plans, insight into South African politics, marketing, metal pricing and much more, even one member who tracks every shipment of Vanadium sold by our company to the USA. The resulting effect is the dynamic spread of knowledge throughout new and existing shareholders and a notable shared confidence. I don’t think it an understatement to say that the forum has helped Bushveld Minerals to become the most well-researched share on AIM.
We were further heartened to see that one of the Directors of our hosts at LSE.co.uk also donated to our campaign.
It may seem unusual that a bulletin board of people who have never met and whose main interest is in investing in a mining company would do anything for charity - I asked another regular bulletin board contributor, Adam 'Sanchez599' for his take on things.
Adam: Many of our holders have had or have been touched by the Cancer in some way. In a world often seen as dog eat dog, we have created a forum that is supportive and promotes open sharing of experiences. This has certainly contributed, along with the vast amounts of shared research and trust gained from daily debate and discussion, to galvanising a group of shareholders that are now atypical to the investment world. It’s a forum of strangers that has shared it all, deaths, births, marriages, illness, the mundane and the most serious of life.
For example, when NickDerby and I were going through cancer treatment around the same time in 2017, both of us had great support from fellow shareholders, myself as a newer investor at that time and Nick as one of the original long term holders. Experiences like that also help you to know the people you speak to every day are good people at heart and create empathy amongst strangers that might normally distrust each other.
So what's next for the bulletin board - are you going to run the Corbine Cup again ?
Graham: Well, we have agreed another competition target of £1 which currently has over 80 entrants. This will mark another important milestone for the company. It will be another journey to get there however we have learned that when people from a wide range of backgrounds are inspired to work together to develop their knowledge collectively, it is possible to demystify so much of how the financial markets operate and really understand and share in the success of a growing business.
Africa has the best Solar Irradiation in the world
But the lowest rates of Electrification
A final word from Graham
Graham: The Bushveld story is not just one of company progression, it is about about a vision to support an energy revolution. Bushveld’s Energy arm aims to help realise the potential of countries who need a modern and robust power infrastructure that is dependable, affordable and sustainable. Grid-scale renewable energy storage helps to capture and deploy energy acquired from the abundant natural sources of energy the world has to offer.
This is especially true across rural parts of Africa where localised power generation and storage could provide society-wide benefits and help economic activity flourish. From providing local schools with a consistent and cost-effective power source, to enabling towns and cities to utilise a greater amount of renewable energy, many investors support the company because its commercial ambition is entwined with a deep-rooted desire to deliver meaningful changes to how the world uses energy.
Another positive result of the forum’s collaboration and a great place to find out more about the company is the website created by and for shareholders in Bushveld Minerals; The Bushveld Perspective. Objective and informative, it contains much of the in-depth research carried out by members of the forum as well as discussing developments across the company and wider industry commentary.