PERTH (miningweekly.com) – ASX-listed junior Sipa Resources on Thursday reported that its earn-in and joint venture (JV) agreement with the exploration arm of diversified miner Rio Tinto, has now started.
The two companies in May struck an agreement that would see Rio earn up to a 75% interest in Sipa’s Kitgum-Pader base metals project, in Uganda, by spending $57-million on staged exploration.
The first $12-million exploration spend was due in the first five years of the agreement, with a minimum commitment of $2-million, to earn Rio an initial 51% stake.
The miner could then spend an additional $15-million within a further three year period, to increase its stake to 65%.
An additional $30-million of exploration expenditure, or the declaration of a Joint Ore Reserves Committee Compliant resource containing at least 250 000 t of contained nickel or nickel equivalents over the next three year period, could earn the miner a total interest of 75%.
Sipa has told shareholders that the JV would allow the company to accelerate nickel/copper exploration activities within the broader Kitgum Pader project area, while also continuing to evaluate the Akelikongo discovery, which is emerging as one of the more significant magmatic nickel/copper discoveries to be made globally in the last few years.
Exploration at the project area has now started, with multi-element laboratory assaying of over 1 000 soil samples over some 14 identified nickel-bearing mafic to ultramafic intrusions followed by detailed ground gravity surveying scheduled to start this month.