One of the world’s largest gold miners Newcrest Mining (ASX: NCM) will earn up to 75% of the southern portion of Antipa Minerals’ (ASX: AZY) landholding in Western Australia’s Paterson Province via a farm-in agreement worth $60 million.
The agreement covers 2,180 square kilometres of Antipa’s tenements in the region, with the tenure under the earn-in to be referred to as the Wilki project.
Under the deal, Newcrest will spend $6 million on exploration within the first two years, with Antipa to manage these activities.
Within five years of the deal, Newcrest can spend a further $10 million on exploration, which will give it a 51% stake in the Wilki tenements.
Newcrest can then up its interest in the asset to 75% by contributing an additional $44 million towards advancing the project within eight years.
As well as the farm-in agreement, Newcrest will also scoop up a 9.9% holding in Antipa by subscribing for $3.9 million in shares at $0.017 each.
The substantial holding in Antipa also gives Newcrest the right to appoint a representative to the company’s board.
Antipa executive chairman Stephen Power said he was “delighted” to welcome Newcrest as a shareholder of the company and joint venture partner.
“This transaction demonstrates Newcrest’s commitment to the region and its strong belief in the prospectivity of the Wilki project, which is strategically located surrounding [Newcrest’s] long-running Telfer gold-copper operation and ore processing facility,” he added.
Newcrest plans to begin preliminary exploration at Wilki within the next six weeks, with activities to include field reconnaissance such as mapping and geochemical sampling.
Other on-ground exploration will involve aerial electromagnetics over the tenements that haven’t been surveyed, as well as induced polarisation to target mineralisation beneath cover.
Following these programs will be reverse circulation and diamond core drilling to test priority targets that have been identified.
“The agreement with Newcrest is designed to ensure a robust exploration program will be undertaken across the Wilki project over the coming years, including drill testing a number of highly prospective targets,” Mr Power said.
Antipa’s Paterson Province holdings
Newcrest’s earn-in follows one from another major Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO), with Rio now owning 51% of Antipa’s Citadel tenements which encompass 1,300sq km of ground in the region.
Rio is currently spending $14 million over five years to up its stake in Citadel to 65%.
The Citadel tenements are 5km east of Rio’s Winu copper-gold-silver discovery in the region.
With a substantial portion of its landholding in the Paterson Province subject to joint ventures with major miners, Antipa has retained 100% ownership of 1,700sq km in the region.
Mr Power said funds from the placement to Newcrest would be used to advance exploration at Antipa’s own wholly-owned tenements.