Stratex International Plc / Index: AIM / Epic: STI / Sector: Mining
24 May 2011
Stratex International Signs Strategic Alliance Agreement with Antofagasta Minerals S.A. to Explore for Copper in Turkey
Stratex International Plc ('Stratex' or 'the Company')has signed a Strategic Alliance Agreement ('the Agreement') with Antofagasta Minerals S.A. ('Antofagasta'), a subsidiary of a leading global copper producer Antofagasta plc, to undertake exploration for copper and copper-gold deposits in Turkey outside of the Company's existing licence areas.
· Antofagasta committed to fund US$1 million in first 16 months
· Antofagasta has an option to continue funding reconnaissance exploration leading to project acquisition and drilling for subsequent years at minimum expenditure of US$250,000 per annum
· Identification of exploration targets will be undertaken by Stratex and once achieved will be categorised as Designated Properties ('DP') up to 120 sq km
· Each DP will, upon commitment by Antofagasta to further expenditure, be constituted as to 51% Antofagasta and 49% Stratex - thereafter Antofagasta has option to vest at 70% of a DP by expenditure of additional US$3 million within further two years
· Stratex to manage initial target-generation and exploration programme for copper and copper-gold deposits
Stratex CEO Dr. Bob Foster said, "This is an exciting new development in our exploration focus, which builds upon our considerable expertise gained through working in Turkey over the past six years. Although the intention is to search for a range of major copper deposit-types, the key objective will be the discovery of world-class porphyry copper deposits. We have been very successful in identifying previously unknown high-sulphidation gold systems in Turkey and these commonly form the upper or lateral extensions ('lithocaps') of porphyry systems that can host porphyry-style gold and copper-gold mineralisation. Accordingly we believe we are well-placed to move this porphyry copper/ gold target programme forward rapidly.
"Antofagasta plc is one of the world's largest copper producers with a proven record in exploration and project development and therefore its technical input to the exploration programme will be hugely important. Senior key exploration geologists and consultants will be seconded from Antofagasta from time to time and will undoubtedly bring considerable expertise to our current team working in Turkey.
"Both Antofagasta and Stratex share the belief that there is a high potential for the discovery of porphyry copper and copper-gold deposits in Turkey given the country's position astride the metal-endowed Tethyan Metallogenic Belt, which hosts giant porphyry copper deposits such as Sar Cheshmeh and Sungun in Iran and Reko Diq in Pakistan. The exploration programme will commence immediately and our objective is to identify at least two drill targets within the first 16 months."
Stratex has signed a Strategic Alliance Agreement with Antofagasta, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Antofagasta plc, a FTSE 100 company (ticker - ANTO) with a market capitalisation of approximately £12 billion
Under the terms of the Agreement, Antofagasta will fund an initial target-generation and exploration programme over a 16-month period expending US$1 million. During this period it is anticipated that a number of priority areas will be identified for detailed follow-up exploration and possibly drilling. These areas, up to 120 sq km in extent, will be acquired under licence and defined as Designated Properties. Any such DP will then be vested 51% Antofagasta and 49% Stratex. Thereafter Antofagasta has the option to earn a further 19% of any DP by expending an additional US$3 million on that DP, for an aggregate interest of 70%.
Antofagasta also has the option to continue the target-generation programme after completion of the initial 16-month programme by funding both desk-based and follow-up reconnaissance exploration work to the amount of at least US$250,000 for each subsequent year that the Alliance is extended.
Stratex will manage the Alliance exploration programme until further notice.
Antofagasta plc is a Chilean-based copper mining company listed on the London Stock Exchange and a constituent of the FTSE-100 Index, with interests also in transport and water distribution. Its mining activities are managed through its mining division based in Santiago, Antofagasta Minerals S.A. Currently, Antofagasta plc's activities are primarily concentrated in Chile where it owns and operates three copper mines: Los Pelambres, El Tesoro and Michilla. Total production in 2010 included 521,100 tonnes of copper in cathode and concentrate, 8,800 tonnes of molybdenum in concentrate and 35,100 ounces of gold. With a fourth mine, Esperanza, now being commissioned, the Group is expected to increase total production in 2011 to nearly 700,000 tonnes of copper, over 9,000 tonnes of molybdenum and nearly 300,000 ounces of gold. Antofagasta plc also has exploration and evaluation or feasibility programmes in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
In Turkey, Stratex's prime objective is to move into gold production through its partnership with its Turkish partner NTF, with initial production targeted at its Inlice project by H1 2012 and at Altintepe by 2013, subject to outcome of scoping and feasibility studies. The Company also remains focussed on discovering and developing new projects through low-cost exploration, adding maximum value prior to optioning/joint venturing or selling on to a dedicated mining company.
· Total resources stand at 1.31 million oz of gold (combined oxide and sulphide gold) and approximately 3.2 million oz of silver, on a JV-inclusive basis
· Partnership with NTF, a technically capable and well-financed Turkish company, to rapidly develop the 542,318 oz oxide gold resources present at the Inlice and Altintepe projects
· An option/joint venture agreement with Centerra Exploration B.V., a wholly owned subsidiary of Centerra Gold Inc., to explore and develop the Öksüt project, a high-sulphidation gold discovery located in Central Anatolia
· An option/joint venture agreement over the Hasancelebi project, a high-sulphidation gold project in central Turkey with Teck Madencilik Sanayi Ticaret A.S., a Turkish subsidiary of Teck Resources Limited of Canada, a major shareholder in Stratex
· An option/joint venture agreement with private Turkish company Aydeniz Group to explore and develop the Muratdere porphyry copper-gold-molybdenum deposit in western Turkey
Stratex East Africa Ltd ('SEA') - Ethiopia and Djibouti Portfolio
· 4.93% shareholding in PLUS-quoted exploration company Sheba Exploration (UK) plc ('Sheba')
· A joint venture with Sheba to (i) earn-in to an initial 60% of the prospective 37 sq km Shehagne gold project in Ethiopia, and (ii) explore targets in northern Ethiopia on a 70:30 joint venture basis
· Berahale and Gademsa EELs cover a combined area of 1,225 sq km in northern and central Ethiopia respectively and are prospective for gold and base metals
· Multiple low-sulphidation vein systems recently discovered in the Blackrock EEL with bonanza gold values up to 34.6 g/t Au and 60.4 g/t in outcrop.
· 3,853 sq km land position over new epithermal gold discovery and multiple related gold targets in the Afar Depression of eastern Ethiopia and Djibouti
· Stratex International has signed a binding Heads of Agreement with Thani Ashanti, an AngloGold Ashanti Limited joint venture company, to fast-track development of first 11 prospects identified within the Afar Depression (collectively the 'Afar Project'). Thani Ashanti can earn 51% of the Afar Project by spending US$3 million on exploration and development over two years.
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