Wednesday, December 6th 2023

Aterian PLC

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Looking for a Lithium opportunity in Africa? Think Aterian


“…It was very exciting announcing our lithium joint venture with Rio Tinto. Rio are definitely the operators and the managers on the ground…”


Is Aterian PLC a junior explorer? One year on from its listing on the standard market of the London Stock Exchange it has partnered with mining giant Rio Tinto on a project in Rwanda, so will the relatively freshly listed be basking in the reflected glory of the long established?

Certainly the relationship with Rio has given Aterian lots of PR column inches, but Aterian was in Rwanda first, before the country became known as “the next new African lithium province.”

It also has a highly seasoned board that has had full immersion in the Africa opportunity landscape.  Chief executive Simon Rollason was managing director at Obtala Resources and chairman at Edenville Energy.  Aterian’s chairman and significant shareholder is Charles Bray who was the architect of the company as it transitioned from coal to strategic materials.

Those credentials helped cement a swift deal with Rio Tinto, who through its forensic due diligence in effect gave Aterian a ‘clean bill of health company’ status.  According to Rollason “Rio are definitely the operators and the managers on the ground. But that’s what we wanted because we’re a small company and we took on Morocco with a pretty large portfolio of assets.”

With cash in the kitty courtesy of Rio and the larger enterprise doing the bulk of the graft in Rwanda, Aterian can concentrate on its prospects in Morocco which so far are seventeen in total.  The recent shareholder update about the sedimentary-hosted copper potential at the Tate Project was described as “highly significant,” and “scale potential in Morocco” was referenced resulting in an uptick in the share price.

Bray and Rollason’s ambition was that Aterian would not be a one project company.  They’ve ticked that box already but they are keen to replicate the first mover advantage they had in Rwanda.

“We’re particularly keen on projects that potentially are small, overlooked, but have the potential that can be turned into a production unit in a short space of time with very little capital,” says Rollason who rather than basking in the deal with Rio wants to emulate that joint venture model in Morocco.

Learn about Aterian’s expected news flow and the wider trading opportunity in Rwanda by watching this video with Simon and Sarah Lowther as they discuss if the strides made in the past year can be replicated or surpassed in the coming twelve months.



Read the Q4 2023 presentation


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The author was remunerated but does not hold shares in the company