African Battery Metals (LSE:ABM) will extend a test drilling programme at its recently acquired copper/cobalt property in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) following promising early results. The testing method – known as augering – has so far revealed elevated levels of cobalt at the firm’s 70pc-owned Kisinka licence. Augering has been carried out across the south-east and north-west parts of Kisinka, but positive indications from the northern auger line have led the company to test further.
Augering is a fast, efficient and highly cost-effective means of extracting material from up to 20 metres below the surface, which means it will not penetrate Kisinka’s bedrock. Due to the large size of the licence, African Battery said it is also considering running a soil sampling programme on a grid pattern across its whole span. This method is already being carried out by other players on sites immediately adjacent to Kisinka and has successfully identified copper-cobalt anomalies.
The business will shortly submit soil samples from interesting anomalies for laboratory analysis in Johannesburg. African Battery said it is also looking at other copper-cobalt opportunities in the DRC. It said it had been approached to look at licences that have already had geological work completed on them, confirming high-grade copper/cobalt mineralisation.
Roger Murphy, chief executive of African Battery, said: ‘The first two lines of our auger programme at Kisinka have now been completed, with soil anomalies showing elevated levels of cobalt. Given positive indications from the northern auger line, we have decided to extend the auger programme, and we plan to submit samples for laboratory analysis in Johannesburg shortly. The next round of field work on Kisinka, which could involve soil sampling or further augering, will be formulated based on ongoing results. We will update the market with these as they become available. In the meanwhile, we are excited by the quality of opportunities we are being offered. We continue to assess these opportunities and will update the market as appropriate.’
Shares were down 10pc to 0.04p, as at the time of writing – giving the company a market cap of just £3.2m. African Battery rebranded from Sula Iron & Gold in January and is in the early steps of transitioning away from the gold market and into the battery metals space, with a particular focus on cobalt. The business believes cobalt will provide the tightest supply/demand fundamentals of all the battery metals as the electric vehicle market continues to emerge.
In December, ABM launched a £1.75m placing to buy a 70pc stake in Kisinka and an option over a second licence called Sakania, which it expects to investigate in due course. Kisinka is situated within 30km of Lubumbashi, the regional capital, and is close to seven large-scale cobalt operations. It based in the Katangan Copperbelt, host to approximately 50pc of the world’s cobalt resources. More specifically, the licence is on the Roan, the geological sequence that hosts most of the Congo’s cobalt and copper that is currently being mined by small mining operations selling metal concentrate to local smelters.