Sandfire reshuffles Australian, Alaskan JVs

The Red Mountain project. Image: White Rock Minerals

Sandfire Resources plans to withdraw from the Red Mountain zinc-silver-lead-gold-copper joint venture (JV) project in Alaska after spending $8.5 million during 2019.

This will leave Sandfire without any retained interest in the project, despite remaining an 11.3 per cent shareholder of owner and JV partner White Rock Minerals.

According to White Rock chief executive Matt Gill, commercial decisions “can be at odds” with project pathways and the company understands this.

“The retention of 100 per cent of the Red Mountain project will allow White Rock to identify alternate funding to advance the zinc and precious metals-rich VMS deposits,” Gill said.

Sandfire struck a third farm-in agreement with Auris Minerals for the Cheroona copper-gold project in the Bryah Basin, Western Australia, which is currently owned in a JV between Auris (70 per cent) and Northern Star Resources (30 per cent).

Under the agreement, Sandfire is required to make a discovery, or a JORC 2012 compliant mineral resource of at least 50,000 tonnes of contained copper and complete a feasibility study on that discovery to earn a 70 per cent interest in the project.

Sandfire must also spend a minimum exploration expenditure of $1.2 million within the next 12 months.

At the earn-in completion, a JV will be formed among Sandfire (70 per cent), Auris (21 per cent) and Northern Star (9 per cent).

Auris chief operating officer Mike Hendriks said the company was very pleased to build on the relationship with Sandfire with the introduction of the Cheroona JV.

“The Cheroona project tenements are located in what we believe is one of the more prospective copper-gold regions in Western Australia,” Hendriks said.

“Leveraging Sandfire’s wealth of technical knowledge and resources to expedite exploration is a highly strategic move.”

Auris is also working with Sandfire at the Morck Well and Cashman JVs in the Bryah Basin.

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