There looks to be some serious gold in Antipa Minerals’ (ASX: AZY) hills with joint venture partner Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) electing to increase its share in Antipa’s Citadel Project in Western Australia.
Rio Tinto had initially committed $11m to the gold project in exchange for a 51% interest and will now commit a further $14m to sole-fund the next stage of exploration which will increase their stake in the project to 65%.
The significant commitment for just a further 14% stake in the Project highlights the prospectivity of Citadel which hosts a shallow Mineral Resource of 63.8Mt at 0.8 g/t gold and 0.2% copper for 1.6Moz gold and 127kt copper across its Calibre and Magnum deposits.
“We are very pleased that Rio Tinto has decided to continue to sole fund exploration on the Citadel tenements and we look forward to extending what has been a very rewarding partnership to date,” said Antipa Chairman, Stephen Power.
“The Calibre and Magnum resources within Citadel have significant potential for further growth which, together with the regional exploration targets, establishes excellent growth prospects for the Company.”
Field activities at Citadel are planned to commence in April, with drilling expected to commence at Calibre following interpretation of the recently completed airborne gravity survey.
With Rio committing to this next stage of exploration, if Antipa elects not to contribute their 35% of expenditure, Rio has an option to increase their stake in the Citadel Project to 75% by sole funding a further $35 million within three years.
Both Calibre and Magnum deposits are located within 45km of Rio’s Winu gold-copper-silver deposit where they have drilled more than 110km worth of holes and spent more than $80 million on the project which is expected to be a world-class mine, highlighting their interest in the region.
Gold is currently trading at around USD $1570 per ounce, a significant rise of 21% over the past 12 months.