On 20th November 2020, Red Rock Resources PLC, a UK-based natural resource development company, mobilised a team to the company’s 80% owned Luanshimba license in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The company sent the team on a programme of geophysics to follow up on two anomalies identified in late 2018.
At the time, a comprehensive termite mound sampling programme and a reconnaissance geological mapping were conducted over a 100x100m area of prospective Roan group sediments within the company’s 420-hectare prospecting license, highlighting:
- A 2km long anomaly up to 500m wide that follows a carbonaceous shale and silicified dolomite.
- Anomalous metal assays of 519ppm Cu and 425ppm Co, likely indicative of Cu-Co mineralisation.
The recently deployed programme takes the form of a 71km ground magnetics survey, a 12km induced polarisation survey, and the checking of on-site artisanal activity based on the findings from two years ago. The programme aims to identify conductive targets and provide Red Rock with a better understanding of the license’s structure for upcoming drilling.
The Chairman of Red Rock, Andrew Bell, said: “Once we start pitting and drilling, we are likely to have to maintain a continuous presence on-site to keep artisanal activity under control, so good preparatory work including geophysics […] was a critical next step.”
The news comes at an interesting time for the copper and cobalt markets.
Better than expected demand for portable electronics, mobility products such as eBikes, and an influx of home workers have seen cobalt demand improve considerably from the early days of the pandemic. In March, the metal was priced at just $28,500 per tonne, compared to its value of $31,990 at the end of November.
This, coupled with a recent report by Benchmark Mineral Intelligence suggesting that the battery industry, which at the moment makes up over half of the world’s cobalt demand, will require a further 100,000 tonnes of the metal by 2025, suggests a bullish outlook for the metal.
And while automakers, another large market for cobalt, move towards less costly electric vehicles and improvements in technology that reduce the need for cobalt, the positive sentiment around battery demand seems to outweigh the bearish fears of cobalt’s antiquatedness.
Copper has had a similar, more dramatic trajectory, rallying to a seven-year peak at the start of December. Copper prices on the London Metal Exchange hit $7,719 a tonne in afternoon trading, highs that the metal hasn’t seen since 2013, after Goldman Sachs in Asia said the metal was in the first leg of a bull market that could see record highs.
A weak US dollar, which makes copper and other commodities cheaper in other currencies, and the hopes that a COVID-19 vaccine will slow the spread of the virus, has lent support to copper’s stock, which fell to $4,600 in March.
With both metals having quite the positive outlook, Red Rock’s programme could prove to be a timely venture. If the two metals continue on their bullish path, the company’s drilling in DRC is definitely one to watch.
Author: Mark Sheridan
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