AIM-quoted cobalt miner African Battery Metals (ABM) announced on Thursday that exploration was set to begin before the end of the month at its recently acquired cobalt-copper properties in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
ABM said the first phase of exploration, likely to include geophysics, soil sampling, pitting, trenching and drilling, would begin on 29 January at Kisinka.

The London-based firm acquired a 70% stake in Kisinka, located 30km from the region's capital, Lubumbashi, in December 2017 and had already collected a number of grab samples from the small-scale miners' pits on the cobalt licence with the assistance of an independent geologist, who reported grades of up to 2.5% cobalt.

ABM said it was also seeking to confirm the cobalt prospectivity of a second cobalt licence in the area, Sakania, with a view to determining whether the firm should exercise an option for the property granted to it as part of the Kisinka acquisition.

Roger Murphy, chief executive officer of ABM, said, “Our initiative into cobalt marks a significant step towards the company's transition into the battery metals space. This is an area that is driven by an increasing global commitment to more efficient and environmentally sustainable energy usage, especially in the automotive industry.”

“We have already secured one licence in close proximity to at least seven other existing large-scale operations and have the option to acquire another. Our recent acquisitions [have] already transformed the Company and we now have the potential to develop a cobalt-copper project in the centre of the world-class Katangan Copperbelt, which hosts approximately 50% of the world's cobalt resources,” he added.

As of 1040 GMT, shares had gained 10% to 0.0660p.