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Junior Li-Co projects advancing in Africa

06 Feb 2018 17:24 GMT
Junior Li-Co projects advancing in Africa

Cape Town, 6 February (Argus) — Junior mining companies are progressing several lithium and cobalt projects in Africa as they look to benefit from growing electric vehicle and energy storage demand.

Among the most advanced is Perth-based Celsius Resources' Opuwo cobalt project in Namibia, which expects to release a maiden mineral resource in the next few weeks. The company last year said it had an exploration target of 33-40mn t.

A completed scoping study is expected in April followed by a completed pre-feasibility study by the end of the year, the company said.

Metallurgical test work is underway and the company is considering trucking concentrate to the port of Walvis Bay where it will be further refined to produce cobalt sulphate and by-product copper metal.

African Battery Metals is focusing on cobalt two assets in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which produces more than half of the world's cobalt. The Kusinka project is the most advanced and it has an option to acquire the Sakania project close to Zambia's border.

Canada-based Peat Resources is advancing cobalt-focused exploration, trading and technology projects in the DRC. It is developing the Blockchain project which helps to certify that cobalt and other minerals and commodities are coming from legitimate conflict-free sources.

In lithium, Perth-based Birimian increased its number of pegmatite finds to six from two over the past year at its Goulamina project in Mali. The company aims to increase the size of its 32.9mn t mineral resource, grading 1.37pc lithium oxide. It expects to release a maiden ore reserve later this year.

"We are being told by potential offtake partners that they are looking for new production that will be available in 2020, so we are working towards that," chief executive Greg Walker said.

Another Perth-based company Force Commodities is developing two joint venture lithium projects in close proximity to ARV Minerals' lithium project at Manono in the DRC.

The most advanced of the two is the Kanuka project where mapping, trenching and drilling is planned for 2018, to be followed by an investment decision at the end of the year. This project is in partnership with Mining Mineral Resources.