Anglo American has taken control of the Star Mountains copper-gold project in Papua New Guinea.
Management has been transferred from ASX-listed Highlands Pacific after Anglo fulfilled an agreement to spend $US25 million ($31.4 million) at the site.
Under the JV arrangement, executed in February 2015, Anglo acquired rights to an initial 51 per cent interest in Star Mountains by paying Highlands $US10 million.
The majority ownership is being earned in phases, with Anglo to gain 15 per cent through a farm-in spend within the first four years. The remaining 36 per cent will be acquired by Anglo if an inferred resource of 3Mt of copper equivalent is identified within five years.
Anglo has now spent $US25 million at the project to gain 15 per cent ownership, which also triggers the transfer of project management from Highlands.
Craig Lennon, Highlands chief executive officer, said the exploration program at Star Mountains was proceeding as envisaged in the original agreement.
“Exploration is advancing steadily and drilling results continue to suggest the tenements may host a large copper porphyry that could ultimately underpin a significant copper and gold mining project,” he said.
Several drilling campaigns have been completed at Star Mountains over recent years, Highlands explained.
The current campaign, funded by Anglo, was launched in October 2016, with five holes completed and additional holes to be drilled by the end of next month.
Anglo can take an 80 per cent interest in the JV by completing a bankable feasibility study by 2030.