Rio Rinto will be funding the entire 2020 Citadel program in West Australia. The decision was taken after completion of a review on the potential of the Calibre gold-copper deposits amid the fall in copper output as an impact of COVID-19. The programme includes $9.2mn exploration activities.
Citadel 2020 is a joint venture between Antipa Mineral and Rio Tinto and it involves 13,000 meters of combined reverse circulation and diamond resource drilling. The Calibre deposit refers to a large-scale mineral system with mineralisation located below 80 metres of sedimentary cover. This project is located at 45km east of Rio Tinto’s Winu copper-gold development project, both are in the Paterson province.
In January, Rio Tinto decided to proceed into the next stage of exploration of Citadel. As per the agreement, on spending an additional $14mn Rio Tinto’s stake in the joint venture increases to 65pc from earlier 51pc.
The project will begin in this quarter and extensive gradient array induced polarisation survey will be conducted across the structural corridors of the deposits of prospective copper and gold reserves. The two companies will consider the data collected of airborne gravity gradiometer survey carried out last year in addition to the reviews of Calibre drilling results and broader Magnum Dome modelling. All these majors will help these two companies to ascertain the priority areas, media reports said.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions issued by the government, both the companies have postponed their timeline for the completion of surveys and drilling activities until 2021.