UK-based Premier African Minerals has acquired a 4.5% stake in Casa Mining that holds significant gold mining and exploration licences in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Premier has also raised £300,000 (before costs and expenses) through the issue of new ordinary shares at an issue price of 0.32 pence per new ordinary share, which will support the investment in Casa, as well as for general working capital purposes.

Casa has three mining licences (133km²) located in the South Kivu province in the eastern Congo gold belt of the DRC.

More than $30m has been spent by Casa since 2009, identifying a 60km-long 'corridor' prospective for gold, besides multiple prospects with some drill and trench tested returning significant intercepts.

"Starting an exploration programme to validate the three million ounce potential target should generate significant value for the company."

It has reported an initial near-surface inferred resource of 1.2Moz at 1.7g/t Au at Akyanga Deposit, open along strike and down dip.

A positive scoping study at Akyanga established the possible viability of an 80,000oz of gold a year heap leach operation, with a total cash operating cost of $628oz depending on current means.

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Casa plans to begin a 5,000m exploration programme to affirm the three million ounce potential target at Akyanga and issue a revised scoping study by the end of next year.

Premier chief executive officer George Roach said: "This investment in Casa secures exposure to an exciting gold project in a very prospective region.

"The Akyanga deposit has a large and well-defined resource base, as well as the potential to be brought into production relatively quickly. The scoping study potentially demonstrates a technically viable and economically robust project.

"And, the plan to commence an exploration programme to validate the three million ounce potential target should generate significant value for the company.

"I am also delighted that our lender, Darwin, has consented to this investment, which we believe provides excellent value at a time when investment demand in the gold sector is picking up."