Gold explorer Antipa Minerals has entered a joint venture agreement with Newcrest Mining, which could invest up to $60 million to explore the company’s tenements in the Paterson province.
In addition, Newcrest plans to invest $3.9 million in a placement of Antipa shares, giving it nearly a 10 per cent interest in the junior explorer.
Under the earn-in agreement, Newcrest will explore a 2,180 square kilometre southern portion of Antipa’s wholly owned Paterson project, now known as the Wilki project.
Newcrest has committed to spend an initial $6 million within two years, of which $4.5 million would be directed towards in-ground activities.
During this time, Antipa will manage the operations.
Newcrest will have the option to invest a further $10 million in exploration costs within five years to earn a 51 per cent stake in the project, after which a joint venture with Antipa would be formed.
Under the next stage of the earn-in, Newcrest would spend a further $44 million within eight years to earn a 75 per cent interest in the joint venture, whereby it would also assume full operatorship.
Antipa chairman Stephen Power said the agreement ensured a robust exploration program would be undertaken across the Wilki project over the coming years.
"Furthermore, the share placement positions Antipa in a strong financial position enabling the company to progress exploration activities on its remaining 100 per cent owned tenure," he said.
Newcrest has agreed to acquire approximately 228.5 million shares in Antipa, priced at 1.7 cents per share, to gain a 9.9 per cent interest in the company.
Hartleys is acting as lead manager to both the earn-in agreement and the placement, expected to occur early next month.
Shares in Antipa Minerals closed up 18 per cent today at 1.3 cents.
The company recently entered into a joint venture with Rio Tinto for the Citadel copper-gold project, also in the Paterson province.
Antipa said Rio continued to fully fund exploration activities on the 1,300sq kilometre project.