Exploration junior White Rock Minerals (ASX: WRM) has partnered with mid-tier producer Sandfire Resources (ASX: SFR) to progress its 100%-owned, high-grade, polymetallic volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) Red Mountain project in central Alaska.
The strategic agreement will see Sandfire become a strategic partner and cornerstone investor in White Rock, and allow the junior explorer to benefit from the mid-tier’s technical expertise in developing Red Mountain, which comprises 230 mining claims over 143 square kilometres in Alaska’s Bonnifield mining district.
Sandfire currently operates the high-grade DeGrussa copper-gold mine, 900km north of Perth, and has a growing portfolio of domestic and international exploration interests.
Having moved DeGrussa from discovery through resource drill-out, feasibility, financing, development and construction to first copper production within three-years, Sandfire is well-positioned to lend White Rock a technical hand.
Under the terms of the strategic agreement, both companies will establish a technical committee to collaborate on the best options for advancing the Red Mountain project, which hosts zinc, silver, lead, gold and copper mineralisation.
Additionally, Sandfire will acquire approximately 14.2% of White Rock following completion of a A$2.5 million equity placement – the proceeds, of which, will be used primarily to advance exploration activities at Red Mountain.
Sandfire will also have the option to enter into an earn-in joint venture arrangement at Red Mountain, whereby it will fund up to A$30m in pre-development activities and reserve the right to lock-in up to 70% by delivering a pre-feasibility study on Red Mountain. Sandfire can then earn up to 90% by sole funding a definitive feasibility study and advancing the project to cash flow.
White Rock managing director Matt Gill welcomed Sandfire’s expertise and assistance in advancing Red Mountain.
“Securing a high-quality partner with world-leading expertise in the exploration and development of base metals projects is a strong endorsement to the quality and potential of our project,” he said.
Maiden drilling brings positive results
Last week, White Rock announced positive assay results for massive sulphide mineralisation intersected in the first two holes of Red Mountain’s maiden drilling campaign, which targeted the down plunge extension of mineralisation at the Dry Creek deposit.
Drilling at the Discovery and Fosters lenses returned “exceptional’ zinc, lead, silver and gold grades, with best results of 4.7m at 19.5% zinc, 7.8% lead, 466 grams per tonne silver, 6.9g/t gold and 1.5% copper for 49.7% zinc equivalent, including 1.6m at 18.5g/t gold coming from the DC18-79 hole at Discovery.
The company said DC18-79 is the best result of all the historic holes drilled into the Discovery lens and highlights Red Mountain’s growth potential as the mineralisation remains open.
At midday, shares in White Rock were up 30% to A$0.013.
Shares in Sandfire had lifted 0.49% to A$9.20.