Aim-listed Firering Strategic Minerals has increased its stake in its flagship Atex lithium/tantalum project, in Côte d'Ivoire, from 51% to 77%.
The company has acquired 10% of the issued shares in Atex Mining Resources in exchange for 1.16-million shares in the company with a 12-month lock-in period, plus orderly market provisions thereafter.
Pursuant to an existing option agreement between Firering and Atex Mining dated March 31, 2021, Firering has also acquired a further 16% of the issued share capital of Atex Mining for about €320 000.
Firering retains the option to acquire the final 23% interest in Atex Mining.
The transaction is in line with the company's strategy to focus on critical minerals and develop the Atex project to feed what it says is rampant demand for ethically sourced minerals required for the net-zero transition.
Firering highlights that lithium and columbite-tantalite are crucial components of electric vehicle (EV) batteries, and that demand is set to surge, fuelled by a forecasted 4 700% lift in EV penetration to 145-million vehicles by 2030, according to the International Energy Association.
Moreover, these components are also found in mobile phones and laptops, the company points out.
It adds that the Atex project is located in the Côte d'Ivoire – a politically stable, proven mining jurisdiction in West Africa, which is underexplored and ripe for mining investment.
“We are delighted to have increased our ownership stake at our flagship Atex lithium/tantalum project, which we believe has the potential to become a significant lithium resource in West Africa.
“We are making rapid progress at Atex with the commencement of our 3 000 m diamond drilling programme with 11 drill targets identified to intercept the potentially lithium-bearing pegmatite veins – marking a huge step forward in our exploration work.
“Our heightened confidence is reflected in our decision to increase Firering's ownership stake in Atex to 77%,” Firering CE Yuval Cohen says.