With the copper price continuing to strengthen, drilling results will be eagerly awaited.
Under the JV, a US$3.9 million exploration spend in the first year will earn Antofagasta a 25% interest in the project.
Then, Antofagasta can earn 70% of the Lumwana West project by spending another US$15 million on exploration plus the amount required to complete a feasibility study.
The current drilling is investigating geophysical and geochemical targets previously defined by Argonaut.
Antofagasta is a copper specialist and has also become a cornerstone shareholder in Argonaut via a US$1.1 million placement, giving it a 13.78% stake.
The Lumwana West licence has an exploration target of between 1,090 million and 1,560 million tonnes at 0.45% to 0.65% copper.
The Domes Region which holds Lumwana is located, has an international scale copper endowment with a new generation of copper mines in the Central African Copperbelt, where neighbouring production is approaching 1 million tonnes copper per annum.
Global majors in the immediate vicinity include First Quantum (LON:FQM) and Barrick Gold Corp (NYSE:ABX) - Barrick's 537 million tonne at 0.50% copper adjoins Argonaut's Lumwana West project
Antofagasta's direct investment and willingness to spend $19 million on exploration indicates the quality of Argonaut's 90% owned Lumwana project.
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