Rio Tinto has signed a joint venture (JV) agreement with Sipa Resources for the exploration company’s Paterson North copper-gold project in Western Australia.
The agreement is worth in excess of $12 million and entails a minimum exploration commitment of $3 million by Rio Tinto within the first 2.5 years.
The mining major is also required to define the project’s JORC mineral resource with a value equivalent of $1 billion, or complete its order of magnitude study, to earn an 80 per cent interest in the project.
The Paterson North project is 10 kilometres west of Rio Tintio’s Winu copper-gold discovery.
“Attracting a global major such as Rio Tinto to farm-in to the Paterson North project reflects both the enormous potential of the ground and the quality of the work which the Sipa exploration team has completed over the past five years,” Sipa managing director Pip Darvall said.
“…Sipa has been progressing exploration on its large ground-holding in the northern Paterson province since 2016, resulting in the discovery of a significant copper-rich polymetallic mineral system at Obelisk.”
The Obelisk prospect is part of the Paterson North project.
The JV encompasses Sipa’s entire Paterson North project tenement package, including the tenements within Sipa’s Great Sandy JV with Ming Gold, in which Sipa has earned an 89 per cent interest.
Rio Tinto will also subscribe to $250,000 worth of Sipa shares at 10 cents per share.