Rio Tinto subsidiary Rio Tinto Exploration has commenced its 3050-metre drill campaign with Antipa Minerals at the Citadel project in northern Western Australia.
Located 80km north of Newcrest’s Telfer mine, Citadel consists of seven exploration licences across a 1,335 square kilometre area and hosts two main deposits, Calibre (gold-copper-silver-tungsten) and Magnum (gold-copper-silver).
The project has a combined JORC 2012 mineral resource of 1.64Moz of gold and 127,300t of copper, with Calibre being the largest of the two deposits for gold by a significant margin (1.3Moz), and largest for copper by a slight margin (69,500t).
The drilling by Rio Tinto (acting as project operator) is primarily intended for the testing of three prospective gold and copper targets at Citadel named Folly, GT1 and MB1.
In addition, Rio Tinto will search the wider project area for identification of further targets.
Rio Tinto entered into a farm-in and joint venture (JV) agreement with Antipa over the project in October 2015, allowing the former to earn up to 75 per cent of Citadel in return for $60 million of spending over a several-year period.
Rio Tinto satisfied the terms of the first and smallest phase by spending $3 million on exploration within the first 18 months after October 2015.
The company is currently in the second year of an $8 million, three-year second stage that commenced on April 11, 2017 that will allow Rio Tinto to earn 51 per cent of the project.
In the third and fourth stage Rio Tinto will have to spend a further $14 million and $35 million across three years each for a 65 and 75 per cent interest in the project, respectively.