A day after declaring it was looking to get into battery metals, junior zinc explorer Inca Minerals has revealed it is picking up three battery metals projects in East Timor.

The minnow (ASX:ICG) told investors today that it has lodged applications for a nickel, cobalt and chromite project called “Manatuto”, a cobalt, gold, silver and copper project called “Ossu” and a vanadium and phosphate project known as “Paatal”.

According to Inca, it is the first mineral exploration company to apply for mineral exploration projects in East Timor, which gives it a “first-mover advantage”.

Inca’s share price dived 25 per cent yesterday after the company told the market it was changing tack and looking at other commodities including vanadium, cobalt, nickel and phosphate.

But shortly after market open on Wednesday, one trade of 140,000 shares sent Inca up over 33 per cent to an intra-day high of 0.4c.

The company is in the process of bringing in partners for its base metals projects to free it up to focus on new projects.

Inca has been focused on its Greater Riqueza and Cerro Rayas projects in Peru, but is now negotiating a partnership with $19.3 billion South32 (ASX:S32).

Inca Minerals (ASX:ICG) shares over the past year.
Inca Minerals (ASX:ICG) shares over the past year.

The pair are in the process of striking an earn-in agreement that would see South32 majority fund exploration at the Riqueza project.

Inca says the mineral potential of East Timor is largely undocumented, but a small review was conducted by the United Nations in 2003.

The review identified the potential for nickel, chromite, gold, copper, phosphate and manganese.

Chromite is used as a refractory in the production of steel, copper, glass and cement.

Battery metals like vanadium and cobalt have garnered a lot of interest over the past few years as the demand for electric vehicles and stationary storage ramps up.

Vanadium prices are at their highest point since 2005, with the Europe price now at $US27.85 ($39.32) per pound and the China price hitting $US31.50 per pound yesterday.