Canadian company First Cobalt has announced intentions to close the transaction of a strategic alliance for a 70% interest in seven prospective copper/cobalt exploration properties in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The development is expected to progress exploration in one of the world’s ‘high-reward cobalt jurisdictions’.
Targeted seven properties cover 190 km2 on the Central African Copperbelt, in Katanga, all with known surface mineralisation.
The properties are also close to several major copper/cobalt operations and projects in the Copperbelt region.
Five of the properties form a cluster, located 50 km north-east of Lubumbashi, and are central to existing smelters and refineries.
First Cobalt signed a letter of intent with JayBird Invest, an associate of Africa-focused investment and development company Madini Minerals, to forge a strategic alliance and enable First Cobalt to earn a controlling interest over the properties.
Madini Minerals will act as the operator on the properties, with exploration plans and budgets to be jointly prepared by Madini and First Cobalt, and approval to come from a joint exploration committee.
Following the definitive joint venture agreement execution, First Cobalt’s initial focus will be on Kipoi East and aims to start an exploration programme at the property.
Kipoi East is the most advanced of the properties, with detailed mapping and airborne geophysics, as well as bedrock and soil geochemical surveys conducted during 2014 and 2015.
A detailed work programme has been designed for the property and will amount to about $650 000.
The startup programme includes structural mapping, soil geochemistry, outcrop stripping and blasting, while a follow-up programme will focus on more than 1 500 m of percussion and diamond drilling on geological, geochemical and geophysical targets.
First Cobalt president and Chief Executive Officer Trent Mell suggests that Kipoi East has high exploration potential, as the lower roan mine series sequence rocks are exposed on surface and host copper/cobalt mineralisation at the Kempesimpesi deposit, about 850 m north of the property boundary.