Rio forms JV to explore untapped copper-gold prospects

Rio Tinto has signed a joint venture agreement with Tali Resources over the exploration of five prospective copper-gold tenements in Western Australia.

The tenements are in the West Arunta and Madura regions of the state, which are some of Australia’s most unexplored areas despite several ventures trying their luck this century.

Tali is 40 per cent owned by Agrimin, whose chief executive Mark Savich said the exploration of the untapped region should be a good move for all parties.

“It is pleasing to see a major mining company such as Rio Tinto commit to exploring on Kiwirrkurra lands within the West Arunta region through it farm-in agreement with Tali,” Savich said.

“We look forward to the commencement of their exploration as well as the prospect of new opportunities being created for the Kiwirrkurra community.”

One barrier to the agreement being upheld is the signing of native title consent.

Rio Tinto has indicated that they will terminate the agreement if such consent has not been given to explore the region within 60 days.

The agreement will occur in three stages, reliant on Rio Tinto’s desire to continue exploring the region.

The first stage will see Rio Tinto earn a 51 per cent joint venture interest, once an exploration expenditure of $3 million has been solely funded by the company.

On top of stage one’s $3 million funding, Rio Tinto must compete a minimum of 3000 metres of diamond and/or reverse circulation (RC) drilling within the first three years.

If stage one is satisfied, stage two of the project will see Rio Tinto earn 14 more per cent interest, assuming a further $5.5 million is put towards the tenements’ exploration in addition to 7000 metres of drilling.

The final stage will add a further 10 per cent interest to Rio Tinto’s earnings, dependent on the success of the prospects.

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