Antipa Minerals moves to next stage of farm-in agreement with Rio Tinto at Citadel copper-gold project

Antipa Minerals ASX AZY Rio Tinto Citadel
Rio Tinto has advised Antipa Minerals it is proceeding with the next $14 million earn-in stage at Citadel.

Junior explorer Antipa Minerals (ASX: AZY) has confirmed that joint venture partner Rio Tinto Exploration (ASX: RIO) will proceed with the next stage of its phased earn-in to the Citadel copper-gold project, in Western Australia’s prolific Paterson Province.

Rio recently earned a 51% interest in Citadel after sole-funding $11 million of exploration expenditure on the 1,330 square kilometre tenement package.

Exploration commenced in October 2015, following the signing of the farm-in agreement with Antipa.

The expenditure milestone triggered the formation of the Citadel joint venture between the two parties.

Under the terms of the farm-in, Rio has notified Antipa that it will spend an additional $14 million over five years (updating the terms that was initially slated for three years) to increase its interest in Citadel to 65%.

Rio has indicated it will kick-off a $2 million field exploration program in April, with activities continuing through the remainder of the year.

The program will feature induced polarisation surveys along favourable structural corridors; interpretation of a recently-completed airborne gravity survey over the entire acreage; and evaluation of the Calibre gold-copper-silver deposit within Citadel, including possible drilling.

It will also include a remodelling of the project’s broader Magnum Dome deposit and additional drilling targeting high-grade gold-copper mineralisation.

Antipa executive chairman Stephen Power welcomed Rio’s decision to proceed to the next stage.

“We are very pleased and we look forward to extending what has been a very rewarding partnership [with Rio] to date,” he said.

“The Calibre and Magnum resources within Citadel have significant potential for further growth which, together with our regional exploration targets, establishes excellent growth prospects for Antipa.”

Two deposits

The Citadel project sits 80km north of Newcrest Mining’s (ASX: NCM) Telfer gold‐copper‐silver mine and 5km east of Rio Tinto’s recently-discovered Winu copper‐gold‐silver deposit in northern WA.

The project hosts a global mineral resource of 63.8 million tonnes at 0.8 grams per tonne gold and 0.2% copper for 1.6 million ounces gold and 127,000t copper.

The resource is split over two deposits – Calibre with 47.7Mt at 0.9g/t gold and 0.15% copper for 1.3Moz gold and 69,500t copper; and Magnum with 16.1Mt at 0.7g/t gold and 0.37% copper for 339,000oz gold and 57,800t copper.

Both deposits are within 45km of Winu which Rio has formally moved from an “advanced project” to study stage.

Subject to Rio earning a 65% interest in Citadel and Antipa then electing not to contribute to expenditure to maintain its 35% interest, Rio has the ability to increase its interest to 75% by sole funding a further $35 million within three years.

At morning trade, shares in Antipa were steady at $0.014, while Rio was up 0.82% to $100.30.