THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Antipa Minerals (ASX: AZY) reported that Rio Tinto Exploration Pty Limited has elected to proceed with the next earn-in stage into Antipa’s Citadel project which is located immediately adjacent to Rio Tinto’s Winu project in the Paterson Province in Western Australia.
Antipa Minerals explained that Rio Tinto recently earned an initial 51 per cent interest in Citadel having sole funded $11 million of exploration expenditure from when the Citadel project Farm-in Agreement was originally signed with Antipa.
The passing of the expenditure milestone triggered the formation of the Citadel Joint Venture between the two parties.
Under the terms of the Farm-in Agreement, Rio Tinto may spend an additional $14 million to increase its interest in the Citadel JV to 65 per cent.
Rio Tinto has informed Antipa that it will move forward into this second stage, however the original period in which this additional amount was to be spent was three years, and now the parties have agreed that this will be extended to five years to allow for an orderly completion of exploration activities.
Antipa anticipates Rio Tinto will commit to an exploration program in excess of $2 million in the 2020 calendar year, with field activities currently planned to commence in April.
“We are very pleased that Rio Tinto has decided to continue to sole fund exploration on the Citadel tenements and we look forward to extending what has been a very rewarding partnership to date,” Antipa Minerals executive chairman Stephen Power said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
“The Calibre and Magnum resources within Citadel have significant potential for further growth which, together with the regional exploration targets, establishes excellent growth prospects for the company.”
The Citadel project sits beneath shallow cover and hosts a global Mineral Resource of 63.8 million tonnes at 0.8 grams per tonne gold and 0.2 per cent copper for 1.6 million ounces of gold and 127,000 tonnes of copper.
The resource is split over two deposits, Calibre (47.7Mt at 0.9g/t gold and 0.15% copper for 1.3Moz gold and 69,500t copper) and Magnum (16.1Mt at 0.7 g/t gold and 0.37% copper for 339,000oz gold and 57,800t copper), both within 45km of Rio Tinto’s Winu copper-gold-silver deposit.