Joint venture opportunities attract big names

Dormant projects held by several local explorers and producers began proving their worth this week, with announcements of joint venture deals with significant international miners.

While most of the deals were for Australian projects, explorer AKD has signed a deal with Newmont Mining Corporation subsidiary Newmont Peru, to advance a northern Peru gold project AKD’s subsidiary Terrace Gold has been holding for some time.

Newmont Peru, holding a neighbouring project and excited by geological interpretations, ap-proached Terrace regarding its Chinguela project.

"We didn’t have the funds and they had money to spend," AKD director Rowan Caren explained.

Already drilling its adjoining Laumache gold project, Newmont Peru, has agreed to spend A$8 million over six years on Chinguela, and can ultimately gain up to 80 per cent of the project.

Newmont is predicting a bull market for gold, but the deal enables AKD to focus on bringing its Brazilian diamond project into production.

In the meantime Rio Tinto, AKD’s joint venture partner in a Northern Territory phosphate project, remains on the WA company’s top-10 shareholder list.

Local gold producer Gindalbie Gold - included in the new AGC-Macquarie Australian Gold Index - has also negotiated a joint venture arrangement with an international player to advance a gold project that has generated ongoing interest over a number of years.

Teck Cominco subsidiary Teck Cominco Australia, which will spend $3.5 million over four years on Gindalbie’s Anketell project, could ultimately earn a 70 per cent interest.

Gindalbie acquired the Anketell tenements from BHP Minerals five years ago, and after a joint exploration program with Croesus Mining on one of the targets, gained Croesus’ 51 per cent interest earlier this year with a royalty.

Meanwhile a number of local companies have heralded joint ventures with Victorian-based Grenfell Resources this past week, to advance exploration using airborne gravity technology developed by BHP Billiton.

Grenfell Resources subsidiary Gravity Capital gained the Australian rights to the survey technology last year, and has now set up deals to earn significant interests in projects held by Exco Resources, Kimberley Diamond Company, Striker Resources and Thundelarra Exploration.

Gravity Capital can earn stakes in the copper-gold and diamond projects with almost $1.5 million worth of target identification programmes, but the company’s farm-in agreements are all dependent on a successful A$10 million capital raising to implement its survey technology agreement with BHP Billiton.

World mining force BHP Billiton retains the right to displace Gravity Capital from the farm-ins, but has to pay Gravity Capital five times the expenditure plus a production royalty.

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