Diversified major Rio Tinto has started its initial 2021 exploration campaign on Midnight Sun Mining’s Solwezi licences, in Zambia, the TSX-V-listed junior reported this week.
Rio Tinto is in Stage 1 of a $51-million earn-in and joint venture agreement in terms of which Rio Tinto can earn up to a 75% interest in the Solwezi licences, near First Quantum’s Kansanshi mine.
The initial 2021 work programme budget is $3.2-million and is expected to be completed in late June.
“After a lengthy rainy season and dealing with the difficulties of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are excited for Rio Tinto to begin the 2021 work programme. With the bulk of this initial budget committed to drilling, this has the potential to be a very pivotal season for Midnight Sun and the Solwezi licences,” said Midnight Sun president and CEO Al Fabbro.
Rio Tinto’s planned initial work includes 4 000 m of diamond and 1 900 m of air core drilling on the Mitu trend, 1 200 m of diamond drilling to test high-grade copper anomalies identified in the fourth-quarter air core drill programme on the north side of the Solwezi dome, and 1 600 m of reverse circulation and 1 000 m of air core drilling, as well as further mapping at Dumbwa to test a 10 km copper soil anomaly.
The Solwezi licences comprise two individual exploration licences totalling 506 km2, situated in the North-Western province of Zambia on the prolific Zambia-Congo copperbelt.