Newly listed explorer Raiden Resources has inked an US$31.5 million (~A$40 million) earn-in and joint venture agreement with mining goliath Rio Tinto covering its copper-gold exploration licences in Serbia.
The deal covers its Zapadni Majdanpek, Majdanpek Pojas and Donje Nevlje exploration licences which lie within the Western Tethyan Metallogenic Belt in Eastern Europe, which hosts numerous tier-one copper-gold porphyry and associated mineral deposits, including recent discoveries.
The joint venture provides Rio Tinto with the option, but not the obligation, to spend up to US$31.5 million (~AUD$40m) to earn up to a 75% project-level interest over three stages.
“We welcome Rio Tinto as a partner through this Earn-in and Joint Venture agreement on our selected licences,” Raiden executive director Dusko Ljubojevic said.
Rio Tinto will be appointed as the manager of the Joint Venture and will sole fund the project until the earlier of the date Rio Tinto elects not to continue with an earn-in stage; the end of the earn-in period and termination of the Agreement.
The Joint Venture provides Raiden with a significant source of funding for exploration of the JV Licences and will allow it to devote further resources to exploration and development of its other assets, as well as evaluation of new opportunities in line with its growth strategy.
“Rio Tinto delivers a tremendous depth of experience in these styles of mineralisation and a commitment to the Western Tethyan belt, together with funding capacity to unlock the potential of world class projects.”
In our opinion, this validates the prospectivity of our licences and we look forward to working closely with the Rio team and realising the potential of the JV properties. It also enables us to focus on exploration in our retained licences to rapidly deploy our planned exploration program.”
Raiden originally flagged it was in advanced talks with a major international mining company regarding a proposed joint venture in its prospectus.
The licences lie within the prolific Western Tethyan metallogenic belt and the exploration targets are for copper-gold porphyry and related mineralisation.
The Majdanpek West and Majdanpek Pojas licenses lie within the northern section of the Timok Magmatic Complex, in the Serbian section of the East European Carpathian-Balkan Arc. The Timok Magmatic Complex is one of the most copper endowed districts in the entire belt.
The permit includes copper mineralisation and hydrothermal rock alteration that could be related to a porphyry copper system. Previous explorers have defined geochemical and geophysical anomalies which to date remain untested.
Raiden will reallocate its existing funds to its other licences on a pro-rata basis while Rio Tinto undertakes its sole funding period on the JV licences. Exploration on these licences is expected to commence in the first half 2018.
Shares in Raiden were 0.8c higher at 3.7c in afternoon trade.