Junior explorer HIPO Resources (ASX: HIP) is eyeing off Uganda’s growing agricultural market as a potential business opportunity.

Specifically, the company sees itself as a supplier of fertiliser. But first, it needs to establish production at its phosphate project in the east-Ugandan region of Busumbu.

  • Scroll down for the ASX’s other potash and phosphate movements today.

On that front, the company announced today that it’s taken small step forward following a site visit where soil samples were taken – the results of which are “expected shortly”.

Investors still seem to think there’s a fair way to go before that early exploration turns into a viable mine site, sending shares in HIPO down 8 per cent to 1.1 cents this morning.

Farm it in

HIPO’s gained its stake in the Busumbu project via a farm-in arrangement with a company called African Minerals Ventures Ltd (AMV).

As part of the deal, AMV chucked in $3m up front for initial exploration costs. They also took a larger stake in any potential gains from the project, leaving HIPO with a 24 per cent share.

Prior to the latest site visit, “previous sampling confirmed presence of phosphates and other minerals”, HIPO said.

Phosphate differs slightly from potash, but both are used in the production of fertilisers to support crop growth.

HIPO is optimistic ahead of the latest round of results, and says the Busumbu has a solid history of phosphate discoveries.

“The visit also provided an opportunity for the AMV representatives to meet the Community Relations Officer (CRO), which is essential to preserving good working relationships with the local community,” HIPO said.

AMV has also been talking to potential financiers in Uganda, the UK and Canada, and reckons it has access to the necessary equipment for the commencement of drilling activities.

Switching from Uganda to eastern Europe, HIPO also said it had a number of pending updates on other projects.

Those include its $500,000 investment in a Ukrainian battery venture, Next-Battery, that promises to double the driving range of electric cars.

HIPO hold a 25 per cent stake in the business. Last September, Next-Battery CEO Benton Wilcoxon said the company would have a prototype of its product up “in six to 12 months”.

In other potash/phosphate news

Kore Potash (ASX:KP2) provided an update on its 97 per cent-owned project in the Republic of Congo.

It’s now received an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) proposal from a consortium of french engineering companies, which was submitted well after KP2’s proposed deadline of February 28.

Kore’s management team “intend to consider all options for the development of Kola”. Shares in the company were unchanged at 5.1 cents.