African Battery Metals plc the AIM listed battery metal exploration and development company is pleased to announce its unaudited interim results for the six months period ended 31 March 2019.
· ABM completed a business restructuring and refinancing exercise in February 2019. The board restructuring included Andrew Bell joining as Chairman and Paul Johnson as Executive Director. The refinancing saw £1 million raised by the Company and the clearance of creditors through a combination of discounted cash and share settlement payments;
· The new Company Board launched a Strategic and Operational Review in February 2019 to assess existing business operations and new opportunities;
· In the period to 31 March 2019 ABM announced the resumption of exploration in the Democratic Republic of Congo (“DRC”) at the Kisinka copper-cobalt Project and a new option to acquire up to a 35% interest in the Haneti Nickel Project in Tanzania;
· After 31 March 2019, ABM announced the planned resumption of Cameroon cobalt-nickel exploration operations; an investment & earn-in of up to a 51% economic interest in the Molopo Farms Complex Project, a Botswana nickel-PGM opportunity held by Kalahari Key Mineral Exploration Pty Limited; and a first stage option exercise and earn-in to a holding of 25% in the Haneti nickel project in Tanzania.
Financial Highlights for the Period:
· Loss for the period, attributable to owners of the parent of £0.32 million (2018: £0.79 million), resulting in a loss per share of 0.17 pence (2018: 1.05 pence); and
· Net assets of £3 million at the period end (30 September 2018: £2 million).
Statement by Paul Johnson, Executive Director:
The six months ending 31 March 2019 represented a turbulent time for ABM with constrained finances limiting the operational work that could be undertaken on the ground, and ultimately a trading suspension on AIM pending financial clarification in December 2018.
The restructuring and refinancing completed in February 2019 changed the fortunes of the Company with new board members and a £1 million raise to restore the Company’s financial position.
The Company’s ability to move forward was restored in February 2019, however the Board considered a diligent recovery process was needed, including a full assessment of existing business interests and potential new opportunities through a business-wide strategic and operational review.
That review which encompassed a full assessment of each project was commenced in February 2019 and ABM have reported progress to the market on a step by step basis through a number of regulatory announcements.
Our work has been proactive and continuous from February 2019 to date and therefore has crossed over the 31 March 2019 interim period end which is the reference date for this report. However, in summary:
We announced in March 2019 that we would be continuing with the existing Kisinka copper-cobalt project in the DRC, with a termite mound sampling programme covering the entire licence commencing in April, progress updates in May and the announcement of a 7km copper anomaly in June.
In March 2019 we also announced an option with Katoro Gold plc (LON:KAT) (“Katoro Gold”) to acquire up to a 35% stake in its Haneti Nickel Project alongside an acquisition of 10m ordinary shares in Katoro Gold itself with a warrant over 10m ordinary shares of Katoro Gold. In May 2019, after a period of due diligence, we announced the exercise of this option.
April 2019 saw the announcement that we would be continuing with our Cameroon cobalt-nickel project interests in ground near to the substantial Nkamouna deposit. In May we confirmed a pitting and sampling programme to test how similar our ground is to the Nkamouna geology. That work is underway.
May 2019 saw an acquisition and earn-in agreement with Kalahari Key Mineral Exploration Limited, a private company in Botswana. Initially ABM acquired around 18% of the issued share capital of Kalahari Key and has an option in 2019 to earn-in to a 40% direct project interest by supporting expenditure in respect of a 4-hole drilling programme focused on targets derived from extensive airborne electromagnetic and ground geophysical surveys and related exploration.
Our review of the Ivory Coast opportunity is continuing as is our review of various additional opportunities in a pipeline that is bursting with potentially exciting natural resource projects.
Despite the challenges in late 2018, ABM is now, in the opinion of the board, extremely well positioned for what we expect will be a strong natural resource sector recovery, particularly in respect of battery and electrification metals and storage metals.
Notwithstanding the cleaning up of the outstanding creditors following the refinancing in February 2019, relaunching exploration programmes across two of our main projects, and acquiring new business interests we remain in a robust financial position.
The Company’s corporate cash costs are carefully monitored and controlled. The Company’s operational costs are controlled and with modest with low cost programmes being undertaken, generally where the potential upside from positive exploration may be dramatic.
The Company will be continuing to provide regular updates with regard to its corporate and operational activities over the coming weeks and months. ABM will also release this month an update of the ongoing strategic and operational review, to provide an in-depth analysis of the business, its corporate strategy and how the individual operational activities will be undertaken to drive the company forward.”
Certain information contained in this announcement would have been deemed inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of Regulation (EU) No 596/2014 until the release of this announcement.
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