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Coppermoly and Barrick Gold form joint venture over New Britain Island projects

Coppermoly (ASX: COY) will form a joint venture with Barrick Gold Corporation (NYSE: ABX, TSE: ABX) for its three tenements in Papua New Guinea’s New Britain Island.

Barrick Gold has earned a 72% stake in the Simuku, Nakru and Talelumas tenements after meeting the $20 million expenditure commitment required under the farm-in agreement with Coppermoly.

Coppermoly managing director Peter Swiridiuk told Proactive Investors today that the joint venture would now be finalised.

“We will formalise a joint venture agreement over the next three months with Barrick, to look at ways of progressing these projects.

Importantly, Coppermoly will retain a 28% interest in the tenements, which Swiridiuk said was a great advantage for shareholders.

Coppermoly’s cash contribution up to the completion of a feasibility study will be delayed until the commencement of production, and will be repaid from the company’s share of any future production revenue.

“From Coppermoly’s perspective we can now continue to watch the projects being advanced without needing to contribute any cash until the completion of a feasibility study,” Swiridiuk told Proactive Investors.

The Simuku Project, which includes the Simuku and Talelumas exploration licences, hosts an Inferred JORC Resource of 200 million tonnes grading 0.47% copper equivalent, with a cut-off grade of 0.3% copper equivalent.

This includes a higher grade Inferred Resource of 80 million tonnes at 0.6% copper equivalent based on a 0.5% cut-off grade.

Simuku is located within one hour drive from the provincial capital of Kimbe on New Britain Island.

Meanwhile, at the Nakru project, an exploration target of 50 to 60 million tonnes grading 0.7-0.9% copper has been set for the Nakru-1 copper-gold system.

This system is the most advanced prospect within the tenement.

The Nakru project is located within a four hour drive from Kimbe.

In addition to the joint venture tenements, Coppermoly has applied for a further three tenements in the region, which Swiridiuk said are significantly larger than the existing tenements.

“We’ve got three other applications that are ten times larger than those under the agreement with Barrick, we’re going through the process of getting them granted.”
In the meantime, the company plans to start drilling at its Queensland projects in the hopes of identifying another potential joint venture opportunity.

“Similar to the projects we have in Papua New Guinea, they’re gold-copper projects close to infrastructure, so they’re only a four hour drive from Brisbane.

“What we want to do is a 3,000 metre drilling program to determine if there’s any size potential to these copper gold systems, and then if  there is we can take them into a joint venture as well.”


Relative to other ASX listed explorers with projects not dissimilar to the New Britain projects, Coppermoly comes with a modest market valuation.

Market Capitalisation

Coppermoly: $8m

Robust Resources: $118m

Marengo Mining: $195m

With a direct link to existing infrastructure and road access to ports, there is significant upside potential from Coppermoly's curent market valuation.