Aluminum and Copper

Rio boosts Citadel copper JV exploration budget

Rio boosts Citadel copper JV exploration budget
Mining News Pro - The exploration arm of mining major Rio Tinto will spend A$9.2-million on exploration at the Citadel copper/gold joint venture (JV), in Western Australia, during 2020.

According to Mining News Pro - JV partner Antipa Minerals on Friday said that the approved exploration budget for 2020 was well above the previous estimated spend of A$2-million put forth in January this year.

The new exploration programme would now encompass up to 13 000 m of combined diamond and reverse circulation resource drilling to test potential extensions and further define and improve orebody knowledge at the Caibre gold/copper deposit, some 45 km from the Winu copper/gold development project.

Antipa said on Friday that the final exploration budget for the Citadel JV has been designed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all project stakeholders, including local indigenous groups, employees and contractors, and to comply with government restrictions aimed at stopping the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

These restrictions have deferred the likely timing of being able to complete heritage surveys and access some proposed drilling areas. The previously planned reverse circulation programme for the greenfield targets has been postponed, likely until 2020/21.

Rio already holds a 51% interest in the project under an earn-in and JV agreement with project owner Antipa Minerals, through sole funding an initial A$11-million on exploration since October 2015.

The major in January this year elected to proceed with the next stage of its earn-in into the JV, spending an additional A$14-million over the next five years, to increases its interest in the project to 65%.

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