Rox Resources' (ASX: RXL) joint venture partner Teck Australia has demonstrated its commitment to the success of the Myrtle zinc-lead project by outlining a $2.1 million exploration spend for 2012 alone.
Teck Australia is the subsidiary of Canadian mining giant Teck Resources (NYSE: TCK).
Importantly, the exploration expenditure is more than double the amount required to be spent by Teck on Myrtle in its first year of the partnership as a first step to earning its 51% interest in the project.
To earn an initial 51% interest in Myrtle, Teck is required to spend $5 million at the project within four years, including a minimum of $1 million and 2,000 metres of drilling by July 21, 2012.
Rox Resources managing director Ian Mulholland said the 2012 exploration program proposed by Teck is exactly the reason Rox chose them to be its joint venture partner on Myrtle.
"Not only will they drill in and around the Myrtle deposit, but they will also give the highly prospective regional exploration the attention it deserves and this should generate a number of priority targets for further exploration," he said.
Included in the substantial exploration program will be an airborne gravity survey, completion of the 2011 drilling campaign, regional target compilation and mapping, surface geochemistry, 3D modelling, HeliSAM and reconnaissance induced polarisation.
Teck recently completed a 1,200 line kilometre airborne gravity survey flown at 400 metre line spacing.
The survey covered 422 square kilometres of the 669 square kilometre Myrtle tenements. Data processing is now underway.
Rox has established a JORC Resource of 43.6 million tonnes at 4.09% zinc and 0.95% lead, making Myrtle one of Australia's 10 largest zinc projects.
Importantly, it is the only such zinc project not already in the hands of major mining companies.
Rox has defined an exploration target of 100-200 million tonnes at between 10-12% zinc and lead for Myrtle, which lies adjacent to the world class McArthur River zinc-lead deposit.
The company entered into an earn-in and joint venture agreement with Teck in May 2011. After earning its initial 51% interest, Teck can increase to 70% by spending an additional $10 million over an additional four years.
Teck will recommence the drilling campaign it began in 2011 as soon as weather conditions permit.