Rio Tinto’s Kennecott discontinues Madison earn-in

6th February 2024 By: Creamer Media Reporter

Rio Tinto’s Kennecott discontinues Madison earn-in

American Pacific CEO Warwick Smith

Kennecott Exploration, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, has discontinued its 11-year Madison earn-in agreement to acquire a 70% interest in American Pacific’s Madison mine project, in Montana.

American Pacific CEO Warwick Smith says that while the company would have liked to see the partnership continue with Rio Tinto, regaining 100% control of the project is a positive development.

“It provides American Pacific with an excellent opportunity to advance the project more rapidly with shareholders now having 100% exposure to new drill results and project success,” said Smith.

“We recently collaborated to define a series of shallow priority targets and have a permitted drill programme targeting high-grade copper and gold that American Pacific plans to commence as soon as weather permits."

The Madison project was host to small-scale production, which concluded in 2012, with 2.7-million pounds of copper produced at grades ranging from 20% to 35% copper. Subsequent drilling at Madison in 2017 included 30.18 m of 24.50 g/t gold and 0.39% copper and 10.97 m of 41.65 g/t gold and 0.38% copper.

Drilling in 2017 also included a drill hole completed to 377 m depth, which intersected altered latite porphyry material at 301 m and has yet to be followed up on. The final drill hole from the last drill campaign completed by Rio intersected 6.53 m of 14.44 g/t gold and 0.11% copper in an area that remains open about 100 m down plunge from the known skarn mineralisation.

American Pacific intends to proceed with the 2024 drill programme as planned in collaboration with Kennecott.  The programme has been designed to include drill holes within the skarn that will aim to confirm and extend mineralization encountered in historical drilling.